By Paul McGuire, DEN STAR and Principal in Ottawa, Canada
One of the things I really like about Discovery Education is the efforts that are always underway to connect educators across Canada and the United States. I started teaching 30 years ago when teaching was an isolated profession broken only by your conversations in the staffroom or the occasional conference.
This of course, has changed drastically with social media. Now there are so many great ways to connect with other people in education. For me, Twitter is so important and I make great connections there all the time. While I love Twitter, your interactions are still limited to 140 characters and the personal connection is not the same as actually talking to someone.
Discovery certainly bridges this gap with the DEN Network and the annual conference. I took part in my first DENSI last summer and loved connecting to administrators from across the States and Canada. There was a great energy there and it was a great boost after a long school year to spend several days learning with other educators.
How can we create a version of DENSI throughout the year? Twitter is an idea, but it lacks the personal connection of actually talking to a person. Voxer is another idea that combines the interactive quality of Twitter but adds a personal connection by linking people together by voice. Voxer is like a great collective conversation where people sign on to a group and participate by actually talking to each other – like a really big party line!
I have created a few Voxer networks and participate in others. One Voxer group that is really great is Joe Mazza’s BACKCHANNELedu
BACKCHANNELedu comes out with a real life scenario every week during its season and participants comment and debate about various courses of action over Voxer. The conversations are fast paced and very dynamic. It’s like having a group of educators instantaneously in a room with you debating an educational issue – it’s great and I love it.
What we are proposing is a DEN Voxer group – not as great as actually being there, but much more connected that Twitter. To make a group effective, there needs to a group who can pose interesting questions that people want to talk about and someone to moderate the group so people can join up.
It helps to have a large group of people involved to keep the conversation, so opening it to DEN members pretty much guarantees that we could have a dynamic channel open to educators throughout the year where we can stay connected and share ideas and resources.
We have set up a Voxer group for the DEN – called Discovery LC Blogging Group. It would be great to open this up to all members of the DEN and start sharing. If you are interested here is a link for you all:
I left you a message on Voxer! Join my group chat to hear it now.
Featured Image: by David Hayward