books + teachers + tech + teens = awesome

step one: books

BAMBOO PEOPLE is assigned as required summer reading for all entering freshmen and sophomores—over 200 students at the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas.

step two: teachers

Educators in World Geography, Biology, English, Technology, and Math develop an interdisciplinary unit to teach the book.

step three: tech

Google alerts me about their plan and I contact the tech teacher, Mitzi Moore, to offer a free skype visit. The teachers and students prepare thoroughly and we have two virtual Q and A sessions.

Photo courtesy of sophomore Jon Ontiveros
step four: teens

Some of the students find me on twitter and we exchange tweets about the experience. Others follow up on Facebook.


A few years ago, we couldn't have dreamed of this kind of virtual village gathering around fiction. What's next, I wonder? Live chats with an author as we read a digital book? An online fan community co-creating gaming experiences or films to extend a novel? Your guess is as good as mine, but one thing's for sure — it still starts with story, and that's never going to change.

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