Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shake it Up: #BFC530 and Voxer

Sometimes in the past, I would check twitter right after I woke up. Gradually, I noticed an increase in the hashtag #BFC530; eventually I figured out it's the "Breakfast Club 5:30 am" (There's actually a MT group too, which is 7:30 am ET) How many times have you googled a hashtag?  Joining this chat and then Voxer have changed my whole daily routine! I set my alarm for 5:25 am and only occasionally hit 'Snooze'; I don't want to miss the chat.

Courtesy of @ScottCapro, #BFC530 Co-Founder

Now, I've participated in lots of twitter chats, but some don't seem to accomplish much. Plus, this one is a mere 15 minutes, a "spark chat'. Another thing that distinguishes #BFC530 is that it is very organized, has high quality topics, and encourages participants to lead the chat and suggest themes. I can honestly say that starting off the day with #BFC530 has given me a more positive outlook. Frequently during the day I will remember something said in the chat and draw some inspiration from it.

I moved slowly at first, but the group convinced me to try Voxer. What a revelation! Voxer is a sort of walkie-talkie phone app, with messages that can be shared with individuals or anyone in a particular group.  First I joined the #BFC Voxer group, then #INeLearn, and then started a group for AISLE (Association of Indiana Library Educators).  Yes, the tweets are still valuable, but Voxer gives you an opportunity to extend the learning and interaction beyond 140 characters.  Frequently I listen to Voxer on my way home from school, although then I have to scramble to remember some of the ideas or resources I learn about while driving.

Courtesy of @ScottCapro

Some reflections from chat/Voxer members:
1) You can use this to support a Critical Friends Group (CFG). You can easily share ideas, reflections... now or later
2) One member is using Voxer for a book club (Love that idea)
3) This extends your PD time without necessarily taking up extra time.
4) It takes even less time if you play the voxes at 2x or even 3x the normal talking speed.

Sometimes I think it's almost better than most of us do not know each other. We have been amazingly open and honest, with several individuals sharing successes, failures, get betters and requests for assistance. By trying these new technologies and interactions, we're modeling in a way what we would like our students to experience.

When I was working with some students one day after school this week, the Voxer signal on my phone went off; they asked me what it was, and I explained that it was my "Voxer friends". They were intrigued with the premise that these friends were from around the world-- and that we concentrated on education.  Hopefully, they too will come to see learning as something it's easy to do 24/7 in a meaningful way.

Please check out the #BFC530 chat and the website if you haven't already. (You can also get the Voxer details from the site.) Many have gone from lurkdom to total participation almost instantly.  Thanks to @ScottCapro and Jessica Raleigh for a fabulous idea!