Social Media Series: Voxer

Teachers across the country are using a walkie-talkie app to communicate with their PLNs.

Walkie-talkies?! You might be recalling nostalgic childhood memories of hiding in the neighborhood, communicating with your friends over a crackling two-way radio. Voxer brings you the same closeness of a walkie-talkie, with the added ability to communicate via text and pictures. It's live-messaging capabilities make it an ideal app for communicating in real-time with your community. Buzz in to ask for advice on behavior management, or share a success story from your classroom. Like Twitter, Voxer is a great place to pose a question and get answers from your PLN, wherever they may be. With the addition of photos and text, Voxer is a complete multimedia platform for communicating. Check it out at http://voxer.com/.

Expand your PLN on Voxer

Opportunities for growing your PLN are endless. Whether you're attending conferences, getting involved in #edchats or taking part in an educational blogging community, the number of options can sometimes be overwhelming. So, what sets Voxer apart from the myriad of other ways you connect with fellow educators? For Voxer user Stacia, the difference is clear. "We loved Voxer so much because we could hear each other. We heard passion, excitement, disappointment, frustration, a variety of feelings that are hard to translate through written word. Immediately, the dynamics of how we communicated and what we communicated evolved," said the educator.

Streamline teacher communications

In addition to free, individual user accounts, Voxer offers a paid PRO Plan for business and groups. A school or district could introduce the app to make communcations with and among teachers easier and faster. At Northern Parkway Elementary School, teachers and administrators are using Voxer for day-to-day communications and relationship building. The app has even taken the place of some face-to-face meetings, as Voxer has allowed the school to share urgent information more quickly and efficiently than they might be able to in person. "Previously, if we needed to share information or seek an answer, our recourse was limited to an email (one of dozens and dozens that we all receive daily) or phone call (that would almost always go to voicemail). Now we send a vox, and our director has an archived message that is readily available at the push of a button," said assistant principals Sheilah Jefferson-Isaac and Bilal Polson. Jefferson-Isaac and Polson say that the turnaround time for getting a response to a "vox" is typically less than fifteen minutes--take that, e-mail!

Use Voxer for professional development

Aside from connecting educators with a wider audience and diverse ideas, Voxer's interface can inherently help users expand their capacity for reflection and effective communication. Because of it's voice messaging capabilities and five-minute message maximum, educators have to find a way to be concise and direct in sharing their ideas. Conversely, the feature allows teachers time to reflect on a question. Unlike on a conference call, you don't have to respond immediately. In his article, "Leading inside the Vox," teacher Fred Ende describes how the platform has altered not only his teaching practice, but his life. "This extended wait time is exactly what we all need if we are going to best process the information we’re buffeted with daily. I can clearly state that I’ve become a more consistent reflector of my own thinking, and the thinking of others, because of Voxer’s design," said Ende.

...Or for your other interests

The great thing about Voxer is that you can use it for much more than your professional development or education interests. Are you an avid reader? Join a Voxer book club. Want to connect with your running bodies and start a training program? Add them on Voxer to share your idea, and see if anyone is interested. If you're part of a niche group online, expand your communications by suggesting a Voxer chat group.

Try it out

Signing up for Voxer is easy--and free. Simply download the app and set up your profile to get started. If you're looking for some tips on how to use it, check out Voxer Ettiquette 101.

Image attribution
Site: voxer.com [Image 1]