Extending the Book Experience?

By now you’ve probably heard about ShadowCon, the mini-conference hosted by Zak Champagne, Mike Flynn, and Dan Meyer. One of the governing principles of ShadowCon is that the organizers want to “extend the conference experience.” To this end, talks are videoed and put on a website where people can watch them and have conversations with other people, including the person who gave the talk. The session doesn’t live and die in a convention center in another city, but goes back home with attendees and connects to their work in schools.

I was thinking about ShadowCon the other day, and then about books. Which got me wondering, what would it mean to extend the book experience? In the interests of disclosure, I’ll tell you I’m asking that question as both an author and a publisher. I want to experiment with ways to increase interaction and discussion around books so 1) it’s a better reading experience for readers, and 2) authors would get smarter because they’d listen to people’s reactions and stories and perspective about what they wrote.

I’m starting to mull over ways to use my own book as a test case. I already have lots of online additional content to share. 13 blog posts–one for each chapter–are sitting in my drafts folder, waiting for me to press publish when we get close to book publication date. These blogs are full of videos and articles and resources and related blogs and all kinds of good stuff. But what I’m wondering about is how to turn those blogs into two-way spaces, where I share content, yes, but I also hear from readers. If someone reads something in the book and tries it in a classroom, I’d love to know about it. I’d love to hear what worked and didn’t. I’d love to give feedback, if desired, and get feedback (always desired).

So I’m hoping you can help me think about how to do that? When we read books, we usually don’t have access to the author. What I’m wondering is how could access to the author enrich the experience of reading a book? If I open up a forum (here or elsewhere) and make it so readers can talk to each other and to me, and I’d both moderate and be an active participant in the conversation, how would that deepen and extend the experience for all of us?

This internet thing is pretty marvelous, and I have come to treasure the ethos we have in the Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere (#MTBoS). At the same time, books are marvelous. I love them. I love the thoughtfulness, the depth, the level of argumentation, the pace, the quality.

I wonder how to bring what I love about books to the MTBoS? And what I love about the MTBoS to books?

If you feel like sharing ideas, I’d be much obliged. If you could talk to an author during and after reading a book, what would that do for you? How would you like to do that? Comments sections, webinars, uploading video and discussing it, book clubs? Other ideas?



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0 thoughts on “Extending the Book Experience?

  1. Obviously, a book club comes to mind. Something could be learned from the #NCTMp2a book chats that took place around NCTM’s Principles to Actions. I feel like something where a period of time after the book comes out, you could have a new blog post corresponding to each chapter come out and focus on conversations around that.

    Perhaps each chapter or grouping could also have a call to action. This blog post is what inspired me to structure all of my calls to actions these days: http://gregmckeown.com/blog/read-one-platitude-filled-mission-statement-ill-scream/. Maybe this will be something that works for you too?

    Looking forward to seeing how this evolves.

    1. Nice. CtAs are so important. When I first thought in terms of ShadowCon and books, that was my first thought. But it was at 1AM, and I didn’t write it down! I’m so glad you suggested it, Robert! In the study guide and here I could suggest one thing to try and report back on. Hmm…

      Thank you!

      1. I love this idea – of using Call to Actions. I have been using the ones from Shadowcon as action steps for myself. They help me slow down and focus on one thing that I can integrate into my coaching practice tomorrow. As someone who is anxiously awaiting the publishing of your book, I would greatly appreciate a call to action that was systematically placed for me to respond to. I am new to blogging and I like the way I am using my blog to hold myself accountable to implementing and reflecting on a CtA. I would use this!!!

  2. Hi Tracy,
    I LOVE this idea! And I love that you, as an author, are interested in hearing from the people that read your material. There are so many digital platforms for communication that I can imagine it’s overwhelming to choose one that would work best for you and your readers while trying to reach as many people as possible. Here are my thoughts:
    1. People are going to tweet about it…so I think there will be some organic conversations going on, anyway.
    2. I think your blog posts will definitely encourage 2 way communication.
    3. Lyndsey Blass started a Voxer book club with the amazing Classroom Chef authors that has been incredible. We readers are able to talk about our experiences, John and Matt can hear what we have to say and they can chime in and ask questions as well. I’m loving the experience and hope to continue that format of book clubs.

  3. Ok, you know me and my leeriness of putting things out there… My first thought is HOW WONDERFUL! My second thought is I worry about T’s wanting the author to solve all the problems rather than working it out and trying to “use what you know to figure out what you don’t know.” Sometimes it is in the struggle that the most learning happens…even for teachers.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Have a look into the online forums & communities around George Couros’s new book; Innovator’s mindset. Seems to be getting a lot of online interaction that he actively participates in.

  5. There are lots of Facebook and Twitter book clubs out there. I participated in 4 this summer, all about literacy focused professional books. #CyberPD is in its 5th summer online meetings. The author often joins in, or even organizes the book group. There are typically many participants.

  6. I recently joined a Facebook group an author set up. The community of learners reading the book is asking each other questions and sharing our thoughts and ideas. Every so often the author chimes in, but there is a lot of learning going on.

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