5 ways to use Google Voice in your classroom

I recently spent the afternoon with some enthusiastic teachers at the Mercer Island School District who are prepping for the start to the school year. One of the sessions I presented was an introduction to Google Apps for Edu with a focus on classroom application.

One of the tools I referenced was Google Voice – a free yet powerful web interface for an  phone number that can forward to your personal phone numbers, record voicemail, and make smart routing decisions based on rules that you manage.

I love the ability to give families & students a way to contact me without revealing my personal contact information. The other killer feature for me is that any voicemail can be downloaded or embedded as an mp3 with a couple of clicks:

As I tend to do when in a room full of talented educators, I introduced the tool then opened the floor for a conversation of potential applications. As usual, their ideas were much more interesting than mine:

  1. Students on a field trip phone in their responses to leading questions rather than sit on the floor in a museum scribbling a reflection on a worksheet.
  2. Use their cell phone to interview someone and then collect the file from Google Voice to embed on a website.
  3. Students call in to record their pronunciation of a vocabulary list. The teacher can check the work at their convenience rather than try to listen and offer feedback to each student within a single class period.
  4. Students call in to offer status updates on group projects.
  5. Students call in, each reading aloud a single chapter from a book or an original poem. The results are then downloaded and dragged into Audacity or Garageband, where they can be stitched together to create an collaborative audiobook.

As with so many Google tools, Voice lowers the barrier of entry and encourages students to create. These readily available tools, combined with the creativity of student and teacher minds, can evolve into something memorable.

5 thoughts on “5 ways to use Google Voice in your classroom

  1. Pingback: A teacher’s complete guide to using Google Voice to collect classwork and homework

  2. I understand the benefit of google voice, but is it possible to set it up so that the students call your google number instead of your personal number. I would prefer that my students don´t use my personal number at all. If this is possible, please let me know how.

    1. Absolutely – Google Voice is a phone number (that isn’t your personal number) plus an option to store voicemail with Google or on you existing personal number’s voicemail.

  3. This is amazing. This is one of those technologies that I’m sure has existed for years and I am certain that I have scrolled right past it dozens of times. However after reading about it and watching the video I can truly start to see the benefits of utilizing the technology in my classroom. I love the anonymity of being able to allow parents to contact me via a line that does not share my personal information with them.

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