KathiSue Summers and the Case for Robust Online Communities

It has been a long time since I sat down to write a blog post. I could give a million excuses, but frankly, I just haven’t felt like writing one. The death of a friend has prompted me to write a new post. KathiSue Summers passed away from COVID on Saturday, August 28. It was heartbreaking news for everyone who knew and loved her. I never had the chance to meet her IRL (in real life). Wait… you never met her? How could her death have an impact on you? The answer is in the relationship we had built as members of an online PLN community through Voxer. Voxer is a platform that allows for voice and text communication. This community has been together for roughly four years, and we connect daily about topics ranging from education, our kids, favorite foods, etc. I know many of these people better than I know some teachers I have worked with for 30 years. We have had some great times and some rough times. We don’t always agree. Sometimes I get angry at them, and I am sure the reverse is true. Ok…I know the reverse is true. But, in the end, we are a community that cares for each other. 

Some colleagues I work with “make fun” (in a joking sort of way) of these connections, but they are real friendships. My charge to you is to find your group and start connecting. How do you get started? Make your Twitter connections more than just a Twitter relationship. Take the leap and invite followers to join an app that allows you to share your thoughts using your voice. Voice brings so much more to the table than texts. You can hear passion, excitement, and sadness through voice. While Voxer is the app that #4OCFpln uses, others like Synth and Skilled Space allow for the same types of interactions. I have recently become friends with Sara Candela. We use both of these apps to stay in touch. Sara lives 2,000 miles from me; we have never met IRL, but I consider her a friend. 

Even though I never met KathiSue Summers IRL, I am thankful for the online community that allowed me to get to know KathiSue and feel the loss over her death. 

Don Sturm

Let’s Connect!

Voxer- @dsturm823

GoSynth

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