Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

To Vox, or Not to Vox?

Voxer has been on my mind every day for two weeks now...

Spoiler alert: You need to choose what works for YOU. You do not need to try / do everything.

Here is the audio version of this post, in case that is how you learn best:

I got the app on my "old" iPad2 when Brian Sztabnik asked me to as part of our Best Lessons group to help talk about what's happening with the book. I checked it every other day, and there were maybe two messages on there each time. The last time anyone's posted on there was over a week ago.

I then requested to join a Makerspace / Genius Hour group that Kristina Holzweiss began a long time ago.


I became addicted to Voxer, but not for the reasons you might think. It was NOT because the ideas were stellar (which they WERE). It was because I have issues of neatness or perfection or cleanliness, or SOMEthing... This one issue makes me want to delete - all those numbers. Numbers in my email inbox, numbers of "mentions" not yet read on Twitter, numbers of messages or postings in Facebook... Now there were new numbers - of Voxer messages not heard. "I HAVE to get rid of them," is what my paranoid self thought, while my teaching thoughts raced, "I HAVE to listen to them to see what I can use." If you have a makerspace or are thinking of a makerspace, consider asking Kristina to join this group to learn about myriad resources!

My days changed.

I went from listening to music (or occasionally a book on CD) in the car on the way to work to listening to teachers talk. I thought I was aggravated because I don't have a makerspace, and I, personally, won't be using these ideas (yet? ever?) in our 7th grade ELA classes. But that wasn't it. Talking about it with my husband, he asked, "Is it a bunch of teachers just yacking away?" No. That's not it, either. They were all sharing valuable information if you have or want to have a makerspace in your classroom or school library (or precious space for ONLY a makerspace). Was it the fact that my microphone on the iPad2 doesn't work anymore, and I needed to plug in the external mic if I wanted to add to the conversation? No - I really didn't have anything to add. Was it the fact that phone use by the driver (unless it's hands-off) is not allowed in IL? Kind of - I had the iPad next to me in the seat, and teachers talked to me from the passenger side. It really wasn't an issue after I got Voxer started and found where I'd left off (which I did while driving - not safe).

Voxer has changed people's lives!! What was my issue this time??

It was simply a time issue for me. I want (and need) ME time. The only time that worked for me to listen to these messages was my short commute. My 15-20 minute drive of 11 miles back and forth to school is my time to get ready for the school day ahead, or reflect on the day just ended. To sit silently with my thoughts. To look around at this world. Or... to sing my heart out.

I left the big group on Voxer yesterday.

Today - There are no numbers popping up on the app. That calms me. I close it for another day and move on.

I can NOT be connected in every single way. I have to choose what I can and cannot do. I am by no means one of those teachers who can do it all. I've even stepped away from Twitter a lot more this past week, as I really wanted to push ALL social media aside when I started to feel overwhelmed about the new messages. I wasn't able to join in the monthly #geniushour chat, as my body was rebelling against me staying up past 8pm that night! That orange dot next to all those messages I missed was too much for me to handle, even if all the other teachers on the group were able to keep up.

I felt guilty about thinking of getting out of the group before I actually did it. (Guilt is another one of my issues.) As soon as I did, however, I put down the iPad and smiled. Breathed. I could breathe easy again. Kind of crazy? Maybe. Today, with no new numbers to catch up with, I'm okay with that.

How do you prefer to get your information you use to help you at school?
What have you learned about yourself when it comes to time management?
How much is "too much?"
Was this post even worth it for others to read?

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about your Voxer experiences. I joined a while ago but never actually got into it. I recently saw online EdCamp Voxer and convinced a colleague to join me in offering a session. I did spend some time today poking around and found myself somewhat paralyzed to participate. Something about speaking off the cuff and having it be permanent was not comfortable. But I did it. So it will be interesting to see how this plays out and how I feel about Voxer in a forum with many others. Will it be "too much"? Stay tuned...and thanks for writing.