by Miguel Guhlin
“May I audio record you reading your story?” I asked a 6th grader at a San Antonio middle school. “We will post the audio recording with your story on the web.” Earlier that month, I had spent some time working with students on their writing. The title of his story is, How the Skunk Got His Bad Smell. In the past, I would have reached for an audio recorder--there are many available for iOS and Android devices--but this time, I decided to try a versatile app--Voxer. In this piece, we explore several uses of Voxer.
Some quick info about Voxer:
Voxer styles itself as a walkie-talkie app with push to talk feature that makes it possible to have just-in-time asynchronous conversations. Connect to someone--who also has the Voxer app on their device, or is accessing it via the Web--by pushing a button on the screen, then speaking. Your audio/text/video is added to a “chat” where others can listen/view and then offer their own thoughts. It is drop-dead simple, and quite easy to get started with. Get it at www.voxer.com. You can also listen to this audio recording explaining what Voxer is and how educators use it.
While you can customize your username, organize chats with people with the free version, you will definitely want to get the Pro version. The Pro version allows you to recall audio/video/text messages that you have sent, as well as manage group chats better. And, you can save chat contributions indefinitely. View chart outlining differences Free and Pro version.
Some approaches to using Voxer:
Approach #1 - Enhancing Student Publishing
"The minute kids think their work will be published, they take greater pride in the result," says editor Susan Meyer (Read source). Apps like Voxer allow a teacher to quickly collect photos AND audio collections of student(s) reading their pieces. By going to the web version of Voxer (web.voxer.com), you can save pictures, video, and/or audio to Dropbox or to your computer.
Approach #2 - Tapping into Students’ Collaborative Potential
“Greater access to technology and computer-assisted learning can be effective in engaging English Language Learners’ (ELL)motivation, developing writing and editing skills,” said Dr. Roland Rios (Ft. Sam Houston ISD) at TCEA 2016 State Conference (are you a member yet?), “and tapping into the collaborative potential [technology].” At our presentation, Dr. Roland Rios and I had the opportunity to introduce a roomful of TCEA members to Voxer. Participants learned Voxer, then recorded ideas for how to use Voxer in their teaching and learning situation.
Approach #3 - Participate in Peer Learning Chats
“When we view ‘sharing’ as something that both supports and pushes us to be better,” writes George Couros in Innovators’ Mindset, “the big winner will always be our students.” The quote came from a picture capture on a mobile device, then shared via the InnovatorsMindset Voxer Chat.
Ready to give Voxer a try? Join the TCEA Voxer Sandbox!