Heather Joins The Team

Heather Joins The Team

Hello Voki users!

My name is Heather Brown and I am the new Community Manager at Voki. One of the reasons why I joined the Voki Team is because—as a teacher– I see such potential in Voki. It truly is a groundbreaking tool for students and teachers. I believe that if Voki and educators work together, we will be able to revolutionize the way students engage with curriculum and the way teachers engage with students.

So, let me backtrack for a second and tell you a little bit about me. I am a New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan. My mother is a teacher, my father is a teacher, and my sister is a teacher.

One might say teaching is my family’s “family business.”

I’ve taught in schools all over NYC for seven years. During my travels, I noticed a few harrowing things:

  1. Many students weren’t engaged
  1. Many teachers were overwhelmed
  1. New curricula and common core standards were making numbers 1. and 2. even worse.

It’s clear that we can’t possibly solve these issues overnight.

But, it is my belief that a good first step is helping teachers feel more comfortable with what technology can offer them in their classrooms.

It can be scary to try something new. It can be hard to see the benefits of utilizing the digital space as an academic tool.  It can feel like just another new task to add to the pile of duties you already have. All of these feelings are very real and understandable.

But, I’ll share something I learned my first year as a teacher.  A phrase I still whisper to myself seven years later– “You have to lean into discomfort.” Besides, this is something that we ask our students to do every single day! Shouldn’t we lead by example and show them that even as an adult it is okay to be fearful of failing as long as you push through that fear?   Well, you know what my answer is. Of course, we must show our students that we, too, are learners who fail and fail again, until we succeed.

And you won’t be alone. There are so many teachers out there who are learning just like you, how to integrate technology into the classroom. Let us help. Voki and your fellow teachers are prepared to be your guides through the educational digital landscape.

Now, to those of you who are already taking advantage of the benefits that being a technologically savvy teacher can bring, BRAVO!  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Your students thank you for engaging them and bringing learning to life. But, remember, you have a responsibility to share your digital experiences with other educators who may need some guidance. Take them under your wing, share with them, and support them.

As for me, I am here to make teaching just a little bit easier for you.

  • I will post meaningful content across all of the Voki platforms—including this one.
  • I will listen to your needs, wants, frustrations, and feedback.
  • I will keep you abreast of the changes occurring at Voki Headquarters.
  • I will motivate you during your most challenging times.
  • I will facilitate the sharing of innovative ideas within our community.

At Voki, we believe that a close-knit community of teachers sharing their knowledge, technological expertise, and creativity, is a MUST in the movement to educate and engage.

So, are you with us?

BioHeather: Heather is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team  at Oddcast.  Before she joined the Voki team, she was a teacher for 7 years!  She has taught  in charter, private, and public schools all across NYC. She is excited to partner with you to  engage and educate your students! 

Ed-Tech Checklist for the New School Year

Ed-Tech Checklist for the New School Year

checklist2The new school year will be here before you know it. Do you have all the items you need for your classroom? Don’t panic if you don’t! We put together a quick ed-tech checklist for you so you can be fully prepared for the upcoming school year! So let’s get started with the list:

  1. Ed-tech budget. Set up a quick meeting with the school administrators to confirm the budget for classroom technologies. Then order all the tech/equipment you need so you can have it all set up and ready to go for the new school year!
  2. Update devices. If you use computers, laptops, and tablets in class, you should double check to see if the devices need to be updated. Double check and see if any program needs to be updated or re-installed. Make sure that all the equipment you are planning to use is fully functional. Now, we don’t want to have a broken SMART board in the classroom, right?
  3. Update class website. For the upcoming school year, you should update your class website with new content (new announcement, new page color/theme, etc.). Create a new welcome message for your students and a short announcement to parents about your plan for using ed-tech in class this school year.
  4. Plan your ed-tech lessons. It is never too early to plan your lessons. Be prepared and plan your ed-tech lessons ahead. Plan your first three (or more) ed-tech lessons with your new students. It’s better to be prepared than sorry!
  5. Useful ed-tech blogs. Find a great blog that will help you with your ed-tech adventures. A good ed-tech blog should include new tools, tips, and techniques that you can use in class. For a list of top ed-tech blogs, check it out on EdTech Magazine.

Hopefully that this is a good list for teachers to follow! But there are other items that can be added to the checklist. If you have any other suggests for teachers to prepare for the new school year, let us know!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Technology: It exists. Make it come alive!

Technology: It exists. Make it come alive!

At its most basic level, technology is the advancement of knowledge through the use of new tools, trades, and methods. This in mind, we can say that technology is not, and has never been, a new concept to society, or to school districts. Here’s a short video to illustrate the point:

Before we had ball point pens, we had fountain pens and before we had wood based paper, we had the costly and elusive rag-based paper made from textiles and linens. Today, we have paper, pens, desktops, laptops, smart phones, touch pads and much more. It is now time we maximize each item’s potential as our predecessors did when paper was no longer an item of the elite, but could be used by everyone.

The speed at which new educational tools are introduced is staggering, and it can be overwhelming for educators to think about maintaining an up-to-date classroom on top of everything else. For this reason, we have created Voki Classroom. Serving as a platform for teachers to manage all of their students’ Voki assignments, Voki Classroom makes integrating technology and education a breeze. To make things even easier, we have also been adding lesson plans created with Voki Classroom in mind. We’ll continue adding new lessons, for both Voki and Voki Classroom, throughout the year.

Keeping up with the technological Joneses may seem daunting but Voki Classroom, along with other online tools, exists to make the transition very smooth. If you are interested in Voki Classroom, you can get all the info – such as features, pricing, and so on – at www.voki.com.

Also, check out these links below for technology tips for teachers:

Ten Tips by Jose Picardo

Ronn Waters, Technology Proponent

Until next time!

The Voki Team

Interviews with Educators | Mrs. Menezez

Interviews with Educators | Mrs. Menezez

Ana Maria Menezez is an English teacher in Brazil and uses Voki to inspire her students to speak up and learn a foreign language in an engaging atmosphere. Ana was kind enough to share with us some examples of how she uses Voki in the classroom along with some of her own tips and tricks.

Ana uses Voki to motivate students to practice speaking in a personalized way and also creates her own Voki to improve interaction between teacher and student. One of the most important things about Voki for Ana is its ability to help the quieter students speak up and have a voice in class.

For more of Ana’s tips, tricks, and Voki experiences, check out the interview below!

Check out Ana’s blog: Life Feast

Follow Ana on Twitter: @anamariacult

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog?
Send us an email at submit@voki.com and we’ll get in touch!