At the expense of sounding like a walking advertisement for Google, I must say it's been a dear friend of mine as a teacher. I wrote about the Google Voice service and text messaging earlier. Funny thing with that is, I never raved about the ability to make IP calls. I'm not going to lie, I just started doing it. When I sign-in to GV, I can't use the call option for one reason or another. Odd. However, I can use the phone when I'm in the GMail window! So I just go to my GMail page when I want to make phone calls. Sure it would be convenient if I didn't have to switch pages.
The reasons I rave about making IP calls on GV is:
1. It's free.
2. The phones in my classroom don't call out outside of the school.
3. I don't have to use my personal phone number to make phone calls.
Yes. When I set up the account, I had to link the account to an actual phone so it's technically linked to my cell phone. The good news is that you can control when you want it to forward an incoming call. Personally, I have it set so it won't ring my cell phone at all. I tell parents to leave me a voicemail and I'll call them at a more convenient time.
Aside from GV, Google Docs is quite amazing as well. I post links to living (Google) documents on my school web page so students can see what assignments they might be missing, what belongs in their binders, or what's been done in class in general. It's great for make-up work. It's great for putting responsibility on the students because they need to be held accountable. It's just great, period. One thing that students like, it the Google forms. I created a survey where they can grade me as a teacher and include comments that they wanted tell me but might have been afraid to. I made it anonymous so they would be more inclined to post.
WARNING: Be aware that students might not have nice things to say. It happens.
Fortunately for me, I'm fairly well liked among students so the negative comments were minimal. It's important to know what students think about you as a teacher and how you might be a better teacher. Not to mention, students tell me they like that I do that and they wish other teachers would follow suit.
No. I'm not getting paid to post this even though I think I should. Perhaps, I just need a following.
'til next time!