A few years ago I started this blog with the intent of reflecting on my teaching and writing practices. When I started, I had no idea what learning and friendship would grow out of it. Blogging, along with Twitter and more recently Voxer, has created a network of colleagues all over the country that develop my teaching life daily. Without a doubt, I am a better teacher because of these connections, because of my growing digital literacy.
Every Sunday, Margaret Simon hosts a Digital Literacy link up. I always read, but I don’t always contribute. This weekend, I’m pushing myself to reflect on my practice with a digital literacy lens. I encourage you to do the same and link your post here.
This week, I connected with two teachers. We sat in three different cities, in three different time zones and planned for students to work together. Our students connected a bit last year, but this year we wanted more.
We started with a few tweets. That lead to a Voxer discussion as to time. Finally, we met up on a Google Hangout and hashed through a bunch of ideas. At the end of our talk, we had the beginnings of a plan and a Google doc to continue our thinking and planning on.
As each of us get our kids ready to connect, ideas will spring up, and the lines of communication are open. But how to best communicate? Twitter is great for a quick message. We could share on the Google Doc. There’s email. Google Hang Outs are great but with time zone differences it doesn’t allow for spontaneity.
You know when you get an idea or a question or a “what if…” When your thoughts are just starting, or you have a sudden aha, and you’d like to get some feedback. That’s where Voxer comes in.
For those of you who are not familiar/afraid of the Voxer app, let me say I was there. I thought, I have plenty of connections and ways to communicate, why should I get another thing going in my life. I thought Voxer was just more of the same. But it’s not. It provides for a different kind of communication.
If you’re a literacy teacher, you know about the power of talk. Talk helps get those morsels of possibility going. Things students aren’t ready to commit to paper. Things that live in their heads and could be developed, if they just talked about it. The same goes for adults. Talking about something is a powerful way to grow your thinking. Voxer can give you that power.
The Voxer app lives on your smartphone for free. When you use it, you can connect with anyone who has the app and send them a text, picture or URL link. That’s great. But the power of Voxer lies in the “walkie-talkie” feature. You press the button and talk. Your voice message is recorded and saved on the Voxer app. Just like an email, text or tweet, your recipient(s) can look/listen and respond when they have the time.
You can join a group or create a chat (a group of colleagues) on the Voxer. In a chat, your messages will go to the entire group for feedback and conversation. Margaret mentioned her experience with the Writing About Reading Voxer chat group in her post today.
Have a question, just sent it our to your group, and get back some thoughtful comments. It’s like walking down the hall, knocking on a colleague’s door, and having a conversation.
I strongly encourage you to download the Voxer app. Find a friend on it and sent them a Vox. See what happens. If you want to take it to the next level, ask a few friends to download it and set up a chat group of your own. Then if you want to reach out to talk about writing about reading in the classroom, consider finding me on Voxer and join in our Chat. We are a great group and would love your thoughts on writing about reading.
When you start on Voxer you might find yourself rambling a bit. Saying “I don’t know” or “I was just thinking” or “umm.” When that happens, know you’ve tapped into the power of talk.
Try Voxer and get in touch with the power of umm.