March 28, 2012

Google Voice

I have been using Google Voice for quite some time but never as an educator...and I'm not sure why.  If you feel overwhelmed by all of the parent e-mails and phone contacts then this is a great way to get your head above water.  Google Voice is free and essentially gives you a personal secretary for handling all of your school related calls.  After signing up for your account you will be given a Google voice number.  This is the number you will give out to students and parents to use to contact you.  When parents or students call, you have the option to screen the call in order to decide whether or not to pick up.  If they leave a voicemail, it will be transcribed and saved in your account where you can read it, listen to it or save it.  Another great feature for teachers is the ability to record your conversations with parents and save them to your library so there are no longer any questions about what was said on the phone.  Another great feature of Google Voice is the ability to text from your computer using your Google number.  This means that noone will ever see your real number and you can text for FREE to parents and students (they can text your Google number and it will show up in your Google Voice library).  Check out the introductory video below to learn more about Google Voice.

Now What?

Google Voice is a great tool to use for teachers.  Simply drop your Google Voice number on your course syllabus and allow students to contact you directly without ever seeing your phone number.  You can even put a customized widget on your website which will allow visitors to call you right from your class website.  If you want to keep up with your  Google Voice account on the go...check out the apps available in the Google Play market or App Store.