Thursday, March 19, 2015

Get Connected... for FREE!

No, this isn't an advertisement for Education Connection's website or program, but I can't write this post without singing their original jingle. So ... you too must hear and sing along with me! "Get CONNECTED! For FREE! Education connection! Get CONNECTED! For FREE! Education connection!" (You can thank me hours from now when this jingle is still stuck in your brain!) 

Now, on to the REAL reason I'm writing this post: to share one simple tool to help educators get connected to other like-minded educators. 
Today's tool: Voxer. It is a walkie-talkie like FREE app for your smartphone (get it on iTunesGoogle Play or Windows Phone), allowing you to send live voice messages, text messages and even pictures. When "voxing" with others, you can talk in real-time like the walkie talkies we used as kids (in other words you can listen instantly as the person is voxing) or you can send/listen to a vox at your convenience. There is also a Pro Voxer web-version that costs money but offers additional features. (See the comparisons.) 

Educational uses for Voxer:
  • Leaders: create a Leadership Team Voxer Group with other leaders in your school, district, region, state, etc. Use the private Voxer group to share struggles, celebrations, reflections, etc. as well as collaborate on solutions to challenges or completely new programs to improve your own skill set or the learning environment on your campus. 
  • Principals: start a Voxer group with your staff to share out a thought or question of the week. Encourage teachers to share their thoughts or responses with the Voxer group before the end of the week and listen as the conversation evolves. You could randomly draw a name throughout the year from those who participate and give out a free jeans day or even some simple recognition at a staff meeting to someone who shares a great response. Principals could also use a campus Voxer group to plan upcoming school-wide events. 
  • Teachers: use Voxer to brainstorm, collaborate and plan lessons, assessments, fieldtrips, etc. with your teammates. Participate in Voxer groups with other grade level or subject area teachers from all over to discuss, share and collaborate on lessons, activities or ideas that you can apply in your classroom. 
  • Educators: participate in Voxer groups to learn and grow at your convenience and in areas that you feel are most applicable to you. This is lifelong learning at its best and gives you a "choice and voice" in what you learn!
  • Other Voxer ideas: participate in book studies via Voxer. (I'm currently participating in a Voxer group with nearly 100 educators across the country to read and discuss Eric Sheninger's Digital Leadership book and I am learning a TON!) You could also use Voxer in your personal life to plan baby showers, birthday parties, or just simply use it as a walkie talkie to chat with friends and family near and far. 
Connect with me on Voxer at aprilrileytx!

Read more about Voxer at any of these exceptional resources:

Happy Voxing! 

"Voxer makes it simple for friends, family and colleagues to talk from anywhere in the world, whenever it’s convenient."

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