4 Reasons You Should Use Google Voice Now!

Recently my company decided to do away with company owned cell phones and provide a stipend instead.  For some of my colleagues this meant that they could quit carrying two cell phones and this was great news.

However, some of my colleagues saw a new dilemma:

1) “Do I continue to carry two cell phones?”  One for personal use and one for business.

-OR-

2) “Do I carry one cell phone and give out my cell number for both personal and business calls?”

Fortunately, Google Voice gives us a much better third option:

3) Carry one phone with two numbers; one number for personal use and one for business.

Here are five reasons you should be using Google Voice now:

  1. You only need to carry one cell phone!  You can use you cell phone’s number for personal calls and your Goggle Voice number for business calls or vice versa.  Both numbers can be easily set up to ring on the same phone, but you will always know which number the caller is attempting to reach.
  2. You can’t beat the price!  Google Voice is a FREE service if you have a Google account for calls and text messages inside the United States.
  3. Set up is quick and easy!  There are many how-to articles and videos on how to get started.    The video below gives you a great overview of Google Voice:

    Here are a few other good articles and videos to get started: How to Use Google Voice on Your iPhone or Android SmartphoneGoogle Voice: The ultimate how-to guide, and Google Voice Tutorial.

  4. Visual Voicemail!  I hate listening to and playing back audio voice messages, it’s time consuming, I often miss something (like when some one says their number way too fast and it’s not the number they are calling from) and I have to re-play the message multiple times.  Google Voice uses Google’s speech-to-text technology to transcribe your voicemail, converting the voice message into a readable text. If Google Voice messes up the transcription (and it does sometimes make mistakes) or you prefer to hear the original message, you can also listen to the audio recording just like a traditional voicemail.google-voice-voicemail

Try it today!  It’s easy!
https://www.google.com/voice

THE BEST PIECE OF SOFTWARE I’VE DOWNLOADED IN YEARS: ADBLOCK PLUS

adblock

I received the following software suggestion from Daniel Pink:

“Ads on the web are kinda creepy, right?

Say you visit a sports goods site looking for swim goggles, but don’t buy anything. For the next week, that jilted vendor will follow you to every other place you visit — your bank, your local newspaper, that dermatology site you checked when you had that weird rash — beckoning you with ads for goggles you’ve already decided you don’t want. If this happened in meatspace, you’d call the cops.

A few weeks ago, perhaps later than some of you, I found a solution. It’s called  Adblock Plus – a browser extension that blocks ads. It’s free, open-source, and it works like a dream. Now I’m no longer assaulted by ads (though I can whitelist certain sites from which I do want ads). And pages load much faster.

Of course, some argue that  ad-blocking technology will kill certain web sites by denying them revenue. But my view is that these innovations will force publishers to create better, more useful, less annoying ads or figure out less creepy methods for paying their bills.”

5+ Ways to Refresh your IGP Conferences

Please note: This post first appeared on March 9, 2014; I updated some of the resource links and resource names on November 13, 2014.

I have been talking a lot recently with School Counselors and Career Specialists around South Carolina about their Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) Conferences.  It is clear to me that there are many very talented and passionate educators who are flirting with both burnout and boredom due to the “sameness” and repetition of these conferences.

I believe that burnout and boredom could threaten one of the most powerful tools School Counselors and Career Specialists have to make a difference in the lives of their students. After doing some brainstorming recently with School Counselors and Career Specialists in Lexington School District #1 and Spartanburg School District #1, I came away with the following strategies to help prevent burnout and boredom while providing the best possible IGP experience possible for the students, their families, and educators:

1) Eliminate as many of the redundant conversation items as possible.  Items such as attendance policies, graduation requirements, and where to find certain resources are items that could be provided in a video format prior to the IGP Conference.  Here is a great example from Gilbert High School: 10th IGP Presentation.

2) Personalize the IGP Process with Data.  Conduct a “pre-IGP” Survey with the student (and possibly family) to determine the top 3-5 items/issues that the student/family want to discuss during the IGP Conference.  Google Forms would be a quick and easy way to collect this data: How to Create a Google form.

3) Infuse Technology and/or Social Media. Consider creating an app (Yapp is an easy to use FREE app builder) and sending reminders to your students and families via Text (check out Remind), Twitter and Facebook.  The best IGP conferences involve the student’s family.

4) Eliminate Non-Counselor Duties. If you cannot delegate IGP Conference to a clerical staff member (and even if you can do a hand off to a clerical staff member) you might want to consider a move to online scheduling and email reminders to improve efficiency and family involvement.  To offer online IGP Conference scheduling, check out: Doodle.com and Sign Up Genuis.

5) Go Virtual.  If your students and/or parents, can’t come to you; go to them virtually! Taking time off of work, finding parking at the school, and getting back to work can be difficult for many parents.  Perhaps you have a student that is homebound?  WebEx and GoToMeeting offer great, easy to use virtual meeting solutions that are desktop computer and mobile-friendly (Smart Phones and Tablet Devices).  Take one of these tools for a test-drive by conducting a virtual team meeting or a virtual-PLC (Professional Learning Community) meeting!

SC_Pathways_Logo

Your IGP Conferences are too important to let them get stale (for yourself, your students, and your families)!

What are you waiting for?  Try something new!  You will be glad you did!

If you have other IGP improvement ideas that are working for you, please share them here by leaving a comment.

%d bloggers like this: