Educators Connecting in Real-Time on Clubhouse

A few of my friends were on a group text, and someone texted, “Let’s just jump into a Clubhouse room.” Wait what? The text thread continued, “Have you heard about Clubhouse? “From there, invites went out, and I was on. 

So what is it? Clubhouse is a live audio app that allows users to chat or just listen to live discussions. These discussions are called “Rooms.” When the conversation is over, the room ends, and that conversion is over like an actual conversation. Once you have an account, you can follow friends or connections. Clubhouse will sync your phone’s address book and combine that with whoever you choose to follow. You can also go search individuals and click the follow” button next to their profile, similar to what you’re used to on Twitter. You also can see who your followers follow and build your list through mutual connections.

Twitter’s focus is on words and sharing quotes or articles, Instagram’s base is connecting thought photos, and Facebook is about, well, anything, I guess but sometimes too much “Look what I had for dinner.” Do I really need to know where or what you ate at lunch? Clubhouse has none of that. It is an audio-only app for connecting with individuals focused on conversations.

Educators are craving connection and conversations without all the gifs, noise, or visuals. With Clubhouse, you enter a room and start listening or participating. I set up notices on my phone to see when a room opens that my connections are in. 

After I set up the app, I received an alert that high-level educators Ann Ann Kozma, Jeni Long, and Sallee Clark were in a room talking about Flipgrid and other Microsoft tools. I joined the room, said Hi, and listened and learned. After that experience, I saw three of #TheEduSisters Bonnie Nieves, AbbyFrench, and Kellie Bahri open a room talking about “What essential skills do you want to build with your students?” and I jumped in and listened and shared. After our Chat, Bonnie set up the room for a weekly conversation, and the app even allows users to add the room to a calendar. This way, groups can continue to connect on a topic of interest. Then it was time to take the plunge into speaking on Clubhouse. Monica Burns was running a room about #EdTech and Creativity with some amazing educators. I jumped into the chat and was fully enjoying the conversation and ideas. When you enter a room, you hear ongoing conversations as an attendee. If you raise your hand, you might be called to the stage to join the discussion. The room becomes a naturally structured conversation, where the moderator(s) control the flow and airtime. The next thing I know, Monica invited me “on stage.” That means I am in the chat as a speaker, not just a listener in the audience. Monica cued me up, and I began to share. She is someone I respect and learn so much from, so it was a blast to contribute. I shared and then went back into the audience while others stepped up and shared. This was a wonderful way to connect, learn, and experience collaboration in a new way.

I like to listen to podcasts on the ride to and home from work or on a walk. However, recently I have been jumping into Clubhouse and listening to “experts” on a real topic. You can search for topics, people, or ideas. You can follow people like other social media platforms and see what room they are in. Yes, listening and learning are also valuable. However, this tool can also be a space to crowdsource content or an idea you have and get real-time feedback. You will get participants’ instant reactions. I have shared a few ideas about my new project and got quick feedback, and I have shared district questions and go ideas from other district leaders that I am going to implement. 

You also can search for a topic. Once in the app, you will see a selection of topics labeled “Find Conversations About…” Topics range from food to faith to sports to fashion and of course education. This is a similar possess to filtering through hashtags on Twitter.

If you have a topic you want to discuss, you can start a room in Clubhouse. When you select “Add A Topic,” you will be asked to decide between Open, Social, and Closed rooms. 

  • An open room will be available to anyone browsing the app. 
  • A social room will only be available to your followers.
  • A closed room is a private room for only you and the users you invite.

I have heard that what stops participation in a video call is being on camera. With Clubhouse, the avatar YOU select is all you need. You can engage in Clubhouse conversations anywhere, anytime. 

Right now, you still cannot join Clubhouse without an invite. However, If you use an iPhone, you can download the app and create an account. If your contacts are on Clubhouse they will see you joined and send you an invite. I have read the app plans to expand to the general public soon. I read it hasn’t done that yet to gradually build community and develop features to handle larger numbers of users. 

If you are looking for an invite? Chat with your circle to get an Invite. Thank Adam Phyall, for inviting me. As I continue to explore ways to connect and learn, Clubhouse is my latest avenue. Hope to see you in a room soon.

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