Say Hello with Your New Summer Collaboration Tool

Each spring, campus leaders live in two worlds.  They are dually focused on all the annual testing amid the quickly approaching end of the semester and also building out the plans for the coming school year.  It’s terribly hectic while amazingly exciting.  And as schools head toward summer, I want to share a tool that I believe can help your team manage the next few months while avoiding the loss of momentum.

The most common questions from non-educators as June approaches are either (a) Do you have to work in the summer and/or (b) What do you do in the summer, just hang out? My polite reply is that summer is the off-season and that, similar to professional athletes, summer is spent both recovering from and preparing for the upcoming school year. Hiring of course is critical, yet planning is also paramount. Toss in the well-earned need for team members to simply vacation, and you can begin to see what can happen.  Finding time to gather and plan is tough. Yet I think there is a tool for you to consider.

Voxer has been described as a sort of walkie-talkie for teams of almost any size. While that is fair, I think it holds even more power in the hands of a user. Unlike most walkie-talkie experiences, the users aren’t tied to be next to each other or close to a receiver/repeater. You can be anywhere with access to data.

Now I understand that you may be thinking that it’s unnecessary since your people on campus are – well – they’re down the hall.  You can already text them, and, you know where to find them, right?

Group Planning

However, I recommend trying to use Voxer this summer so that, as you begin to scatter, you can still actively plan together. Yes, shared docs on a Google Drive can be products of this work, yet I think some of the best learning and ideas come from hearing each other’s voices and having time to process. You can add pictures, videos, comments, and more within the Voxer group. So as one person is on the beach, another cycling across Vancouver, and another hanging in their office, you can all stay connected.  Below is an image I found that offers some basic Voxer101 information.

Voxer 101

Full transparency, I have tried this before with mixed results.  The people that jumped in and tried to leverage the tool found some success.  With others, it was a mixed bag.  And that’s alright.  I know that if I didn’t make use of this then we would have hoped we were individually working on plans, and we would have spent time reading texts or emails or even sharing Google Docs.  All of that is in isolation, right?  My point is that there was no synthesis, no energy, and no excitement as an idea began to crystallize. How would we genuinely know we were sharing the best ideas and making them better? It would be a static experience right as we were seeking something dynamic.

I hope you’ll consider giving it a go.  The added touch of voice matters.

What kind of tools are you using to ensure your off-season is highly productive?  What other resources have you tried for collaboration?

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