Friday, May 24, 2013

A Teachers Guide to Placing and Receiving Free Calls with Gmail and Google Voice





Verbal communication with parents or guardians is an essential component to any successful school year.  Many administrators make this form of communication mandatory for their teachers, but are financially unable to provide them with the necessary tools to accomplish the task.  Most schools have 3-5 phone lines (if you're lucky), but they are ALWAYS in use.  It is almost a game we play, finger ready, waiting for an open line.  

Cell phones have made this task simpler for many teachers, but at some schools cellular reception is spotty at best, and who wants to give out their personal phone number?  Google had part of the solution with Google Voice and I have written about it before here, but for phone calls, Voice is only good for receiving voice calls (text messages is another story).  Like most other technology, Voice's usefulness is magnify when combined with another tool.  In this case, Google Chat.  This is not a "new" partnership,  but is one that is not well documented in the education community.  

I have created a very short video tutorial on how to facilitate this partnership for yourself.  If done as shown in the video, it will be like creating your own classroom number, compete with voicemail.  I can not recommend enough the use of Google Voice for classroom teachers.  I hope you enjoy the tutorial.  Please feel free to ask questions or leave your own success stories in the comments section below.  

*The video will be updated as the kinks related to Google Hangout are resolved. If you are interested and missed the the I/O keynote, you can check it out here.  One hour and thirty minutes in, you can view an amazing education specific announcement that has the potential to change the face 1 to 1. 













photo credit: apalapala via photopin cc

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Didn't Know Google Could Do That: Advanced Search Tips and Tricks




I am a Fan Boy, I openly admit it.  Google can do nothing wrong in my eyes (Minus their decision to discontinue Reader).  This is not the case with all educators.  Some teachers and parents blame Google for the dumbing down of a generation, and they may be partly correct.  I on the other hand, I tend to be more of a pragmatist.  Surrender has its benefits, below are a few tips and tricks that could make your personal and professional life a little easier.  


*Update May 13, 2013:  Atari just celebrated Breakouts 37th birthday.   To celebrate, do a Google Image search for  “atari breakout” (no quotes) and experience a nastalgic little surprise   I am not sure how long the fun will last, so enjoy the easter egg while you can.




















photo credit: Simon via pixabay

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