I'm doing my best to figure out Google Voice, but it looks amazing! You can have ONE phone number, provided by Google, that will ring as many different phones as you like. You can screen calls based on the caller's phone number, and set customized greetings, or send them directly to voicemail.
Even better-- you can get a text transcription of your voicemails, and forward them to SMS or your email. You can even download voicemails as mp3 files, or, as shown here, embed recordings on your blog!
There's so much to learn, but it looks very promising. Some folks I know on Twitter have had Google Voice since it was known as Grand Central, and they can't imagine being without it.
I'm trying to wrap my brain around the possible applications for the classroom. In addition to not having to give out your personal phone number to students and parents, you can record custom announcements, similar to a homework hotline, for students to listen to. Students could also record themselves and have Google Voice provide a text transcript for them automatically. Similar to many of the other services that are out there, Google Voice can be used to record a podcast that can be embedded on a classroom website.
Please share your ideas for using Google Voice in the comments section of my blog. Thanks for your input.