Tech Tip #4 : Google Voice

The way that people communicate with one another – both personally and professionally– has changed dramatically in the last few years. The way that teachers are communicating with parents and families is also changing very quickly. Many teachers give out their cell phone number to remain in a more direct line of communication with parents and families. Some feel it is great, and others feel it is overwhelming or too much! Do you ever wish that there were a way you could communicate with parents in a very direct way without giving out your personal cell phone number? What about if you could turn off messages and calls from parents on the weekend? Do you ever think to yourself after hanging up with a parent, “I really wish I had a transcript of that conversation…”?

Good news!

Google Voice is a fantastic tool for teachers. This tool gives you a brand new phone number to give out to parents and students so your existing phone number remains personal and private. However, when families call the Google Voice phone number your cell phone rings! The perk of this is that you can manage this phone number in many ways: you can turn it off, cancel it or change it at any time, you can even set the Google Voice phone number to match the area code you teach in! Teachers can create custom voicemail greetings, and can even set their Google Voice number to go directly to voicemail during designated hours or on specific days! One of the biggest advantages of Google Voice is that after you hang up, Google Voice can provide you a transcript of your conversation if you so choose.

Here are the steps to get your brand new Google Voice phone number!

1) Go to google.com/voice and accept Google Voice’s Terms and Privacy Policy.

2) Click “I want a new number”

3) Type in your current phone number as the forwarding number. Google Voice needs this so they know where to forward all the calls/texts. Then, press “continue.”

4) Press “Call me now.” Your cell phone will ring; follow the steps and type in the code Google Voice gave you on your computer.

5) Choose your phone number. Press “continue,” then “finish.”

Google Voice will email you with many tutorials for reading transcriptions, setting up voicemail, setting up text messaging and much more! Feel free to also play around with the setting.

You now have a Google Voice phone number to share with your students’ families!

TIP: If you decide to use Google Voice, you should let families know all conversations are automatically transcribed for data keeping!

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