When I blog I like to use the world as my muse. This year I have become one of those “vaunted” connected educators. Twitter has been mastered. Chats are easily navigated and I can tell who is on the stay connected bandwagon or the down with testing breed. There is no argument that both those groups are right; however, I have heard it all before. Sure Twitter is great for getting links to articles, giving out props to people that are doing great things, and discussing the past, current, and future trends of education. I want more! The time for just talking in 140 characters is over for me. I have found the next greatest social media. That social media is Voxer. Voxer is a San Francisco based mobile app that allows users to leave voice or text messages and pictures for individuals or groups with the push of a button. (read Tammy’s blog if you want to learn more: Tammy Neil’s blog )
Voxer is like Twitter’s younger brother that watched it play sports and take on life. It studied everything its brother did and decided that he was going to learn from his older sibling. #SatchatVoxer is the first example of this. #Satchat is one of the most respected Twitter chats out there. It is run by Brad Currie (@bradmcurrie), Billy Krakower (@wkrakower), and Scott Rocco (@scottrocco). It occurs every Saturday morning at 7:30 EST. They do the best job of getting educational leaders to come and discuss relevant topics in education. This is evidenced by the fact that they have to moderate #satchat using Twubs to slow the chat down! There are so many people that it’s impossible to read the responses before they disappear from the screen!!
They started #satchatvoxer which was a direct offshoot from #satchat. It took those same #satchat questions and spread them out one a day during the week. Suddenly there was a whole day to discuss the question. There were no limits as to how many letters or characters you could type. Educators were able to have in depth conversations about the question. A dialogue or debate could be started. The light went off in my head. Voxer had just found itself a special place in my heart. This group of people love education and are always pushing themselves and others to really analyze their roles as well as others in education.
This would be enough for me if the story ended there. A great social networking app that appeals to lots of educators where they can hear themselves talk. Yay! But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The second metamorphosis of Voxer occurred for me when I was put in VoxerEduMatch. Here I was surrounded by tech coaches, teachers, and administrators who love education. More importantly they have a thirst for life. Subjects are brought up and dismissed with the most expediency and randomness one could imagine. People ask for help and there are always others there to jump in and assist. This group has become my sounding board where I don’t have to worry about censoring myself. Thoughts come out are discussed, taken in different directions, or argued against. It is almost like sitting around a campfire talking education with friends and family.
This would be enough for me if the story ended there. However, I want more from my PLN. Talking is great but that is still not doing. This is where my Osama Abujafar (@osama13) helped create #physedME Voxer group. Physical educators from Asia, Europe, North America, and I don’t know where else, come together to discuss physical education. They talk about best practices, great lessons, how to utilize technology and a whole lot more. They meet once a month for Google hangouts and teach each other and the world the newest technology to use in physical education. I found a group whose whole goal was action. They weren’t talking they were doing! My passion for education was being ignited higher than it has ever been before!
This would be enough for me if the story ended there. The final suture that stitched Voxer to my heart was when I met Nick Endlich (@NicholasEndlich) and Adam Llevo @MrAdamPE. These gentleman were ready to synthesize! They were ready to create new and better ways to teach Physical Education to the masses. Talking was great undertaking is better. We created our first project entitled #soyouthinkyoucanbalance. This project was created solely by collaborating on Voxer. It used Twitter to push out pictures, results, and brought it to the masses. Voxer was the catalyst though. Voxer allowed voice messages to be instantly transported across state lines, and continents so that we could work together seamlessly to create something new and original. The sheer amazement of that still leaves me in awe right now. The push of a button can instantly leave my voice, pic, or text to anyone in the world for free!
This is the first of hopefully many projects that will come from use of Voxer. I still love Twitter and think it holds immense value for educators; however, it has its limitations when it comes to communication. Voxer fosters such a personal touch that can only be achieved by hearing someone’s voice.
Q1: Why are you, or aren’t you, on voxer?
Q2: What makes Voxer different than Twitter for you? (good or bad)
Q3: How have you used social media to better your role in education?
Q4: How do you see social media changing in the next 5-10 years?
Q5: How can we get our ss to embrace educational social media?