This is a quick, enjoyable, and inspiring read for any educator. Alan November's writing is energetic and convincing. November starts by making his case for creating classroom experiences that put students in the driver's seat and take advantage of internet technology resources to facilitate authentic student learning. His case for shifting to such student-centered, student-driven learning is convincing. He illustrates his principles by describing four example techniques in some detail, using case studies. Each strategy/approach is illustrated by describing a specific teacher's approach in a real classroom at a real school. For teachers who are hesitant or skeptical about these techniques, this can be reassuring. Each example is accompanied by links to the teacher's resources, examples of student work, and/or other materials that supplement the book's fairly brief descriptions.
November wraps up the book describing a "Digital Learning Farm" that seeks to pull together all four strategies in one, grand, master approach. The final chapter describes another real-life example of two teachers partnering to forge, over a number of years, a new approach to their middle school history courses. This is probably the weakest part of the book. November's description, as a capstone example, is overly sketchy and does not really connect all the dots. I suspect that this is more reflective of the book than the work of the teachers. I found myself wanting more, and not in a good way. That said, November again provides links (via QR codes at urls) that allow the reader to explore these teachers' (and students') actual work in greater detail.
Each of the four strategies is accompanied by information to get a teacher started. For example, the section "The Student as Global Communicator and Collaborator" ends with a few pages on how to get started with Skype. While this might be helpful to some, the book might have been more helpful if it used this space instead to illustrate additional examples for different subjects or grade levels. There are lots of resources out there for getting started with Skype, and perhaps the book could have just steered the reader towards these. The examples seemed to emphasize middle-school-level teaching, and this might not translate for some - that would be a shame, because November's strategies can enrich the learning experience for a wide range of ages/grades.
Criticisms aside, the book is effective in outlining ways that teachers can bring more student ownership and engagement into their classrooms. As one other reviewer commented, the book is ultimately more about how we teach than it is about any specific strategy or project. November outlines practical, approachable ways to shift away from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side" teaching, incorporate technology as an authentic learning tool, and help students take ownership of their own learning.