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 Clubhouse? It’s a live-audio app that allows users to chat or just listen to discussions. These discussions are called “rooms.” When the conversation is over, the room ends, and that conversion is over just 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 whomever you choose to follow. You can search for 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. When you follow someone, you can see which rooms they’re in at any given moment.
Currently, 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 that you joined and can send you an invite. I have read that the app plans to expand to the general public soon but is holding off to allow for gradual growth and the development of features to handle a large number of users.
Twitter’s focus is on words and sharing quotes or articles. Instagram’s base is connecting through photos, and Facebook is about, well, anything, I guess, but sometimes too much “Look what I had for dinner.” Clubhouse has none of that.
A Spot for Learning and Socializing
Educators are craving connection and conversations without all the GIFs, noise, or visuals, and you get that with Clubhouse, which allows you to enter a room and start listening and/or participating in real-time conversations. 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 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, Abby French, and Kellie Bahri, open a room to ask the question, “What essential skills do you want to build with your students?” and I jumped in to listen and share.
Normally, I like to listen to podcasts on my commute to and from work or on a walk. However, recently I have been jumping into Clubhouse and listening to experienced educators speak about various topics in the field. You can search for topics, people, or ideas. This tool can also be a space to crowdsource content or an idea you have and get real-time feedback. You’ll get participants’ instant reactions. I have shared a few ideas about my new project and gotten quick feedback and ideas as well as contacts to follow up with to learn more. Additionally, I have shared district questions and gotten ideas from other district leaders that I’m going to implement to support my students and educators.
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 process to filtering through hashtags on Twitter.
If you have a topic you want to discuss, you can start a room in Clubhouse by selecting “Add a topic,” and 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.
With any new app or tool (and so many are popping up each day), you may be saying, “Why one more?” or worse, “I am overwhelmed,” and don’t want to try one more thing. Let me share a few reasons why I think you should give Clubhouse a try:
In this time of physical distance, Clubhouse offers educators a space to share ideas and have conversations. It’s a communal experience to participate as a group of educators in the moment during live discussions.
- You can start your own room around a specific education-related topic and gather ideas to support your class or your growth.
- If you discover a topic of interest, just listen to conversations other educators have as if you’re listening to a podcast to embrace the ideas that resonate with you and your classroom.
- It provides a space in which to be authentic with like-minded professionals without judgment.
The truth is that technology has provided us so many different ways to connect, learn, and grow as educators. It’s up to you to find the ways you learn best and what’s the best fit for your lifestyle.