Education leader Fred Ende has used the Voxer tool- a free download available from Apple, Google and Windows- for a year and claims the app has strengthened him as an educator as it forces him to reflect on what he says and how he says it while teaching.
According to its Google Play description, Voxer is a "free app that combines the best of voice, text and photo messages with walkie talkies for a powerful, modern personal and group messaging tool."
At first, Ende said he started using Voxer because it was free and "easy to use," according to the article on Smartblogs.com.
But once he started using the option of participating in groups on Voxer, he called using the app going forward as "life-altering."
Ende says that the group function has allowed him to engage in a reflection that has without a doubt strengthened his work as an educator. He said:
Since Voxer allows for the creation of closed groups (up to 15 people in the free version), you immediately know that your thoughts are safe. You can have difficult conversations and explore challenging ideas with others whose thoughts help to shape you as a learner, a leader and a person. You can delve deeply into exploring an idea, with conversations that last for days, without having the conversations seem to last for days (if that makes sense).
Another thing Ende likes about Voxer as a tool is its timer. As soon as you begin speaking, the timer starts running. Being able to consider his talking time made him make an effort to better develop what he was saying as opposed to going on tangents.
"I’ve begun to use five minutes as my marker, thinking ahead to what I want to say so I can get it across in the clearest and most concise manner possible," he said, according to the article.
Further, the option to step back and think before responding allows Ende and others to "best process the information we're buffeted with daily," he said. "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."
"What I want from any tool (new technology or old) is an ability to put it down or turn it off feeling like I’ve built my own capacity to become a better learner and leader in using it," he said.
For Ende and his colleagues, Voxer is that tool.
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Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor