You may remember a couple of weeks ago I started a series of posts on strategies I have been using for mobile learning (#mlearning) and teaching in one of my graduate instructional technology courses.  In the first post, I described the use of and how I had used it with my students as both a messaging service for reminders, as well as a method to send “activities” to students where I wanted them to think and capture ideas during the course of their day.

Google Voice

Image representing Google Voice as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

Another technology and strategy that I used in my course was Google Voice.  Google Voice is a free telephone service and also includes voice recording and messaging. Google reports that it will continue be free through 2012.

I used Mr. Lobdell’s VoCall Youtube video as a model integrating Google Voice for mobile learning.  You can see his video commercial below.  (I use this video as a great example in many of my workshops with mobile learning and teaching.)


Because my course’s topic was mobile learning, I asked to students to call into my Google Voice number and define “mobile learning” in their own words for me.  Because we had been working on this topic over the course of the entire unit, I wanted to capture their ideas and explanations about mobile learning, and I believed Google Voice was a great — and extremely easy — way to accomplish this.  In the examples below, you can see Google Voice’s transcriptions of the students’ audio files.

(I find that iPadio does a much better job at the transcription than Google Voice, but I find Google Voice very easy to use without a passcode for students to enter. Don’t get me wrong. I really, really like the utility of iPadio, and it is a great, easy option for capturing podcasts and vodcasts.  See this post for using iPadio.)

One of the features in Google Voice that I find extremely useful is the option to embed the Google Voice recording.  Under the more menu at the bottom of each Google Voice recording, you can choose to Embed (or download if you wish) the audio file.

I used the embed code I received here in Google Voice to repost the audio files into our course management system’s discussion board, so other students could listen to the definitions of their classmates. Google Voice provides a nice, little audio player for students to click on and listen.

While I don’t think I used this technique was used to its fullest potential, I like the notion here of the sharing and allowing students to hear other students’ ideas.  This was the first time I had done this, and next time I think I will do a much better job of coordinating this and leveraging it for learning.  Because this entire unit was new, I was trying not to make activities as complex as possible.  So, I took on the burden of posting the audio files.  Next time I may ask students to use iPadio and embed the files themselves into the discussion board.

And You?

Have you been using Google Voice either for your professional productivity or in your classes?  I would definitely like to hear how you’re using it with students if you have those examples.  I would really like to share these in my classes and with other teachers and faculty members when they ask for examples.

4 Strategies for Mobile Learning & Teaching Series

  1. Part 1:
  2. Part 2: Google Voice
  3. Part 3: Posterous (coming up)
  4. Part 4: eBook (coming up)

About Michael M Grant

Dr. Michael M. Grant is a passionate professor, researcher, and consultant. He works with faculty members, schools and universities, and districts to integrate technology meaningfully and improve teaching and learning. When 140 characters just won't work, then he blogs here at He has a beautiful wife and three equally beautiful daughters, who will change the world.

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