Want to send your students a special holiday greeting from Father Christmas over the upcoming Christmas Break? Google has launched a very cool, and FREE, website to promote their Voice product. Send a Call From Santa allows you to send a personalized phone call to any phone number, voicemail box, or text-enabled mobile phone. There’s even a toll free number to call Santa directly if you want to leave a message for him.
It’s actually pretty fun, and the pre-recorded voicework that “Google’s Santa” provides is top notch. There are a few gaps in between the standard greeting and your personalized selections, but it was good enough to create smiles and lough out loud chuckles from everyone in my building this morning. Simply visit the site (http://www.sendacallfromsanta.com/), put in your name, the recipient’s name, and then a few fun personlized choices like their favorite food, what they want for Christmas, and finally the number you want the message sent to. You can even enter the number that the call comes from so it looks like you’re making the call, and thus making the “jolly” call less prone to being ignored by someone who doesn’t recognize the mystery number. When you’re done setting up the message, you get to hear in your web browser what the special Santa call will sound like before you send it on it’s “merry” way.
A few limitations; when I entered “Mr. Rimes” for who was making the call, the voice message skipped over it, so I’m guessing Santa didn’t pre-record the standard formal greeting for Mr, Mrs, and many surnames. However, just entering my first name, “Ben”, Santa turned me into “Benjamin”, which was pretty neat. If you’re going to send the message to your students you should feel comfortable putting in just your first name. You can put in the word “Teacher” for your name, but on the next step there’s a choice of how you’re related to the person. You can choose “friend”, and the message from Santa will say he just heard “from your friend”. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to let your student’s parents know that you’ll be sending them, so no one questions where the mystery Santa message came from 🙂
Useful in the classroom? I suppose it would be fitting to use it while working on parts of speech, in a mad libs sort of way. It’s also a pretty basic form of digital storytelling, and would serve really well as an example of planning out a story before just creating your voice or video version of it. At the very least, it would be a hoot to have your classroom send a message from Santa to the building Principal, the Superintendent (we sent one to our this morning that he chuckled over), or perhaps to parents at work or home!