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Google Voice Simplifies Student/Parent Contact

 


I started using Google Voice in 2015 and it’s even more useful today in the teach-from-home era.  I know there are many apps out there like Remind or ClassDojo but I recommend Google Voice. It’s simple, free, and gives you a separate phone number to give to parents and students.

It’s simple for parents as it functions like a regular phone number; there are no join codes for parents/students to sign up.  Also, when students transfer in or out they don't have to be added to the class or deleted.  This saves time and frustration of constantly updating it if you work with a transient population.  

If you have Gmail (Google Email), a Google Voice number is free. Don't have Gmail? That's free, too. You can look for a number in your area code or you can get a random number.  You can search for available text strings as well. My number contains my last name.

I have it send me an email to my primary account when I get a new text message.  Google Voice can be run all from your computer or you can install an app for your cell phone but still use the new phone number. Calls made from the app show up on Caller ID as the Google Voice number, not your personal one.

I have found many benefits to Google Voice. It works wherever my cell phone works so I don't have to find a phone at school or bring my laptop to that phone. Second, parents have been more willing to pick up the phone when I call from this number instead of the school number that is usually a mass robocall. Students and parents are more willing to send a text expressing they need help with homework, checking grades, or want a conference, which has opened the line of communication.  

Just this week, Google Voice was a huge help.  Our computer platform went down for some people and I was one of the unfortunate ones so my students were waiting for class to begin.  The students started to text or call me, I was able to let them know what was going on and to spread the word to their classmates.  

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