Yes, I’m one of those Palm Pre lovers. Since school began, I’m noticing that my phone is making me a better teacher, especially with communication. Here’s why.
1. Automatic contact syncing
If you’re a teacher, you know that parents’ and students’ contact information changes all the time. Young people especially are notorious for changing their numbers, whether it’s because they can’t pay their bill or they’re feeling stalked. Of course, when students do get a new number, they never bother to update their teachers.
It feels like I’ve had to become a detective just to keep up with current numbers. This means that whenever I learn about a changed number, I immediately input it, no matter if I’m on my phone or my computer. Palm Pre’s Synergy system makes sure that everything is updated so that I don’t have to worry about having an old number.
2. Perfect with Google Voice
My school doesn’t have voicemail, and I don’t have a landline, so my cellphone is my only number. I want to be accessible to my students and parents, but giving out my personal number seems, well, a bit personal.
So this year, I gave out my Google Voice number. There are so many advantages. I choose whether incoming calls ring or go straight to voicemail. Google transcribes messages into visual voicemail. And when I call from my Palm Pre’s gDial app, it uses my Google Voice number. The Pre has made it much more fun to communicate with students and families without interrupting my personal life.
3. Affordable Unlimited Plan
All this texting and talking to students and parents made me worried that I would surpass my monthly minutes and have to buy a more expensive calling plan.
That was before Sprint announced its new Any Mobile plan, which allows unlimited calling to any cellphone for just $69. The plan includes 450 anytime landline minutes, far more than I’ll need, plus unlimited texting, MMS, and Internet.
4. Fast Unfiltered Internet
I get frustrated by our school’s content filter, which blocks YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook. It even blocks Google Images! Yes, it’s time to mount an offensive against this censorship, but until then, I have my phone.
I like to use media in my lessons, but I hate having to wait until getting home to do my planning. Sometimes I have a good idea that gets forgotten just because I can’t access a website. Sure, there are other ways around this problem, but using my phone to get to content has worked well so far.
5. The Coolness Factor
“Ooooh! You got the Pre?” my students call out. I’m suddenly cool. For someone who has taught 13 years, I know that coolness gets you only so far, and really the quality of my teaching is what engages students. But as I age, I notice that being “old cool” is not a bad reputation to have.
My Palm Pre is different enough and cool enough to impress even my iPhoned students. They like the keyboard for texting (why do they text so fast and type so slow?), and of course they enjoy multitasking. I have a hunch that the Pre’s the reason they’re texting me more often with questions about tonight’s homework.