There Has To Be An Easier Way

As I try to integrate more technology into my courses, I find that students need to have an email account for the class.  Granted, most have their own account, but this usually is a hotmail account. These tend to not work that well with some applications.

I would usually have students go to a gmail account, but that has a chat feature which tends to be frowned upon in schools.   Can you trust your students to mot use it when you asked them not to or is it that big of a deal?  I tought of using Gaggle, but does it filter too much?  Google Apps is an option and one could get their own domain, but I start to get out of my league with the set-up (it ventures into IT territory).

The division has not set up email accounts for students because they have been worried about viruses, etc.  I also found out that they are worried about privacy and the legalities around the monitoring of accounts.

So what is a person to do?   Something so simple, yet problematic.  Accountability is stressed to such a high level.  However, I would like to improve the structure of my classes and the learning experiences offered.

I welcome your input.

  1. I realize it’s a longer term solution, but school districts need to either allow the use of external mail accounts or provide one internally for students. Messaging is a key part of educational technology!

  2. Very important for teachers to understand security and privacy issues as a critical element of child protection requirements.
    This is a very big issue with many facets to explore and understand.

    • Dave Bircher
    • September 16th, 2008

    I agree that students should have an account with the school division. They are allowed to hotmail now. So in some ways, why do I need to worry about gmail?

  3. Interesting dilemma Dave and one I think many teachers need to consider. During my internship here in Moose Jaw, my grade 6’s were the first in the division to get division email addresses. I was lucky the IT folks pulled through for me. In the end it was just a conversation that broke the ground.

    Regarding the chat issue, I disagree with it being frowned upon. Trusting the students to use it properly is one thing, but we also have to teach them how to use it. We recognize the power of the back channel in our learning and perhaps there is times when the students will utilize the tools for good rather than idle chatter. They use it at home while they’re doing homework any way. I would encourage you to really consider the google package as a solution. Haven’t used google Docs in a classroom setting but the potential for collaborative efforts is there. A chat feature shouldn’t be a deterrent. Professionals around the world are hooked into chats 24/7. It is a communication skill & tool that we need to leverage.

    I look forward to hearing about your solution.

    • Dave Bircher
    • September 17th, 2008

    Thx. for your input Kyle. I would like to move in the direction you noted. Part of the solution is advising/educating parents and community as well.

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