By Jeff Veal, Connected Educator
Connections That Count
Leveraging the power of group capital is a fundamental belief of mine. We can achieve more together than alone. This is what occurs when you take a group of educators and galvanize them around one purpose. Many educators have been expanding their PLN’s (Professional Learning Networks) beyond their campus and districts. How do they do this?
Social media has created a global explosion of possibilities for educators for professional learning opportunities. As an administrator in the field I sensed a need to empower everyday leaders to lead up whatever their role and position. Along with fellow educator, Nathan Lang (@nalang1) we envisioned an ed movement where leaders could connect on a deep, rich, and meaningful level. This would then impact r their teams and students. Thus, #Leadupchat came to be in March of 2015 on Twitter.
Leaders long to be connected with other leaders. We quickly realized that the #Leadupchat tribe needed other ways to communicate. 140 characters isn’t enough to explore deeper conversations and ask questions. This is where Voxer became a game changer. Voxer allows us to continue and amplify the conversation from the weekly Saturday morning #Leadupchat.
How has Voxer been so transformational for many of us? The Voxer platform uses the power of the human voice. It emboldens leaders to share fears, failure, and triumphs. For some, Voxer may be only social or only professional, but it has the power to be both. Imagine that you have a question around a school leadership focus, which is followed up by spirited conversation, and a random photo of a chat member’s child’s soccer game. We are not only a professional tribe, but a family. People who are thousands of miles away suddenly feel like they are down the street.
Sometimes Twitter chats are viewed as an echo chamber; a difficult place to dive deeper into questions. On Voxer we pose questions, bring book resources, make learning visible to each other through pictures and stories of what is happening in our schools. We all need places to hold each other accountable for ideas, to ask, “How are you implementing this in your school?” My Voxer network spans from coast to coast, and is so broad in diversity and opportunity to uncover new learning is the BEST professional development I get. Think about this…why pay thousands of dollars when I can be connected to superintendents, district leaders, campus leaders, and master teachers who are in the trenches daily and sharing their expertise and encouragement with each other?
I am most interested in utilizing Voxer to drive the potential of others and leave a footprint on education. Every day I am finding a positive way to do just that! So, thank you Voxer for being a catalyst of deep collaboration and a platform for ideas to converge daily for #Leadupchat.
Jeff is a lifelong learner, speaker, professional learning facilitator, and connected leader. Additionally, Jeff has been an elementary and middle school teacher. He currently serves as assistant principal at a middle school in Frisco, Texas. Jeff is active on social media and is known for being a co-founder of #LeadUpChat, an educational professional learning network (PLN) on Twitter. Jeff presents at conferences on topics such as effective digital communication, connectedness, and leadership. Jeff’s passions include leadership development, student directed learning, and cultivating meaningful school cultures. You can find his website at jhveal.com and connect with him on twitter at @heffrey and on Voxer at jeffveal.