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Try a Voxer Book Group for Summer PD

Summer is a time to recharge and get excited for the upcoming school year.

If you're anything like me, you don't do complete relaxation really well and are always looking for ways to keep yourself active and learning.

Along with doing some writing this summer and attending some free events or speaking at conferences, I'm trying out my first Voxer book group.

(Now, full disclosure here, I was invited to the group because they're using my book, Hacking Assessment, and offered me a chance to be a part of the conversation. Even more disclosure is that my second edition will launch this summer with even more resources and stories from the field to help educators make a smooth transition away from traditional grading practices.)

I really enjoyed the way Ted Huff moderated the group. At first, he floated the idea out there in the Twittersphere and saw who was interested. He set a date and then started adding folks to the Voxer group.

Usually, congested Voxer groups are overwhelming for me, but this one is going at a nice pace and has a good focus.

Once everyone was added to the group, we were asked to introduce ourselves and share what we hoped to get out of the group. Each person is coming to the experience in a different place and with differing expectations. As the author of the book, listening to what they said was interesting for me as it is valuable feedback, but also allowed me to engage with them about questions they had and potentially help them solve problems if they planned to give up grades

The plan was to read through the whole book over five weeks, taking two chapters a week. Two questions were dropped in the chat on the first day, first about our existing grading policies within our schools and then one specific to the book.

Each person in the group listened and participated at their own pace and then the moderator synthesized what is being said, responded where appropriate, and asked clarifying questions where needed. The participants were only expected to read two chapters a week, which is a comfortable/digestible pace.

So if you're looking for a great way to push your learning and collaborate with folks who may not be close by, Voxer is a great technology solution to bridge the gap and time. Folks can contribute from all over the world and the stories and sharing can really add depth to the learning from the text. Plus there is something actionable about being accountable to a group that makes the reading happen.

What's on your must-read list this summer? Would you consider doing a Voxer book study? If you've done one before, share your experience.

*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in June 2016 and updated now.


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