I joined Oprah’s online book club not just for the great book but to see how she does a book club online. I was intrigued by whom she had skype in, call in, or email in. I’m sure that she received thousands of online requests. I think that one criteria was location – she selected a person from China and another from Germany to show the world wide nature of the show. Each speaker was easy to understand, no heavy accents, only native English speaking people. She would wait to bring the outsider in until when they were at a particular point in the discussion. Each person amplified the topic that was being discussed at that moment. Since this online book club was live, I am sure that her staff was screening calls, synthesizing what book point each person was making, and deciding where that book point fit into where the discussion was in the show. Then someone made decisions as to which people best expanded or probed deeper into the book and forwarded that information to Oprah. She then waited to introduce the person at the appropriate moment. Did it work? Definitely. Powerfully.
How do we as teachers bring in appropriate resources at the “right” time to amplify what we are teaching? Do we have these electronic resources ready to bring into the classroom? Do the resources show a wide range of thinking to allow our students to explore the topic in-depth?