Now accepting applicants for CASTLE's Summer Book Club 2010 [due June 20]

Two years ago CASTLE hosted its first-ever online summer book club. We had over 105 individuals sign up to read and discuss Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. Last year we had our second online summer book club. Over 246 people signed up to read and discuss Why Don’t Students Like School? This year we’re going to have our third online summer book club, but it is going to be very different than what we’ve done before.


  1. We’re going to run two discussion groups. One for Iowa and one for the rest of the world. You must be an Iowa educator to be eligible for the Iowa group.
  2. We’re going to read two books instead of one: Education Unbound: The Promise and Practice of Greenfield Schooling and The Future of Management.
  3. Our discussions are going to be synchronous rather than asynchronous.
  4. Because of the discussion format, our groups are going to be smaller (no more than 9 individuals plus me) and thus are going to involve an application process.
  5. Why the changes in this year’s book club? Well, we had a very productive conversation when we talked live with each other in February 2009 here on campus about Seth Godin’s Tribes. More importantly, however, our first two book clubs were marked by widespread lack of participation (although we had great conversations with those who did participate!). In other words, people registered and bought (and even liked) the books, but rarely or never participated in the conversations. We ended up doing a LOT of logistical work for a relatively small number of actual participants. So this year we’re going to try something different…

    Are you interested in participating?

    Here are the guidelines for participation in this year’s book club:

    1. You must commit to reading BOTH books and participating in BOTH synchronous online conversations. Our conversations will occur on July 15 (Education Unbound) and August 12, 2010 (Future of Management). The World group will meet online from 5:30pm to 7:00pm Central. The Iowa group will meet online from 7:00pm to 8:30pm Central.
    2. You will need a webcam. You also will need a headset with a microphone OR regular computer / media player headphones plus the microphone that’s built into your computer. No matter what, you should have headphones (to avoid audio feedback). You should learn how to use these BEFORE the first online conversation. We don’t want to spend our time troubleshooting your equipment!
    3. After each online conversation, we will ask you to submit a 2– or 3–paragraph written reflection summarizing your thoughts at that point. That reflection will be due within a week of the conversation.
    4. If you participate, you are granting CASTLE permission to a) make a video recording of the online conversation, and b) publicly release on this blog both the video recording and your written reflection under our typical Creative Commons license.
    5. We reserve the right to give your slot to someone else if you have trouble with these guidelines.
    6. Are you sure you’re interested?

      If you’re still interested in participating, please complete the online application form. Applications are due by 6:00pm Central on Sunday, June 20. You will be notified about your application status by 9:00am Central on Wednesday, June 23.

      • CASTLE Summer Book Club 2010 application form
      • Please understand that we are going to have to make some difficult choices. We anticipate more applicants than we have eligible slots and extend our regrets in advance if you are not selected.

        If you have questions, please leave them as a comment to this post. We’ll answer them in the comments area so that everyone can see our replies.

        Happy reading! Looking forward to talking with you this summer!

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