A note to Jane D. “Google ROCKS!”

Dear Jane (and anyone else interested,)

My school email is wonky, not allowing me to “send” from it tonight, so I wanted to use my gmail account to reply. You say you read my blog, so hopefully you’ll read why I cannot respond with a personalized message tonight. But hello, and I miss very much working with you. I am still working in Horry County, but living at the beach during tourism season is, well, crowded. When I can eventualy use my email to send the private note, I will. But for now, this will have to do

Why can I not send you an email using my gmail account? Because your district does NOT seem to like gmail. Claims I am spam or something even more evil, and quite frankly, I am insulted. I want to ask your district what is so awful about gmail?


Gmail has the best spam filter I’ve ever seen–seems to catch everything spam wise. I’ve been using it for 2 years, and I have never had a message come to my inbox that was spam. Anything even remotely questionable (attachments included) go straight to the spam filter. I used to worry that something good would go and would daily check that spam folder. Now I rarely check it but usually empty it biweekly. I have really come to trust it.

Why discriminate against Google?

What about parents who use gmail? After all, it is a FREE account, and not every parent is fortunate enough to have an expensive email program like Microsoft Outlook or whatever the taxpayers are allowing the school district to purchase. This is the 21st Century people. It is higly unusual NOT to have an email account. Not only that, but employers are really cracking down on the use of email intended for use at work being used for any other purpose (i.e. bank accounts, paying bills online, ordering online, contacting friends, etc.) This I why I use a gmail account–to keep school business separate from friends, relatives, and other professional or personal purposes. I primarily use my gmail for anything that is not directly related to my job. I even use that gmail account for things like my professional organizations (i.e. ALA, AASL, SCASL, ISTE, SCAET, NCTE, etc, etc, etc, and these are all organizations I am a member of because I am an educator, more or less related to my profession–BUT not directly involved with my employment. Are gmail parents who try to email their children’s teachers also blocked? This to me is borderline discrimination of taxpayers.

Let’s Collaborate–how about it?

Did you know that having a Google account affords you many perks besides using gmail? I have had many opportunities to use Google Docs, which is Google’s open source word processing platform. It really helps me out in a bind, I use it to open attachments, and best, it has a collaborative feature so you can work together on a document with others. With the share feature a whole group can work on a single document–all they need is one in the group to use a Google account, and the others to have an email address that the gmail user can use to “invite” them–oh and also be online. I’m sure I’m not doing justice to the capabilities or possibilities of Google applications or even touching the possibilities. But I am extremely bothered by a decision on this district (and others) to block it. I even want to say in this day and age of 21st century learning using collaborative tools, it is pedagogical malpractice to block something like Google and gmail. (Thank you again Bud Hunt for giving me a new term to throw around.) Well maybe claiming pedagogical malpractice is strong. But, if nothing else, by blocking these tools, we are not doing our professional duty teaching students about collaborative tools it is safe to say many will be expected to comfortably use in the jobs they will take (most of which do not even exist today.)

Watch this video:

Sorry that this turned into a rant.

Attribution from FlickrCC:

Image: ‘Just Expressing Her Opinion
Image: Picture 4 is from my own Flickr photostream.

5 Responses to “A note to Jane D. “Google ROCKS!””

  1.   Sarah Stewart Says:

    I agree, I love Google and do most of my emailing with gmail. BUT…I have had gmail emails disappear including a job application and another was a research grant application. This had serious repercussions for me and I do wonder if gmail gets sucked onto people’s junk accounts. It is some thing to be mindful of and I always make sure now that I ask for a receipt so I know my gmail has been received.

  2.   Doug Johnson Says:

    Hi Cathy,

    Just last week I had my first experience of sending a message using gmail and having it rejected by a Barracuda spam filter. Of course, it also rejected a mail sent my by school account as well.

    I actually called the school district and found out that their state (South Dakota) is filtering for all districts.

    So I am being rejected, I guess, by ALL South Dakota.

    You fellow gmail user and fan,


  3.   Jude Says:

    I have 8 email accounts–two in Mozilla Thunderbird (my personal favorite), two in Yahoo, one at job #1, one at job #2 (which I read through Yahoo, having given up on Outlook and being unable to read it through Gmail), and a GMail account. I would never use Gmail as my primary account, because I find it annoying (no folders, for example), but it’s okay. I use it to subscribe to a few lists, email other Gmail users, and get a few Google alerts. I work at one district and have kids in another, so I can tell you that emails from all of my accounts have been considered spam by the different filters at both districts.

  4.   Cathy Nelson Says:

    As users in a district, we should be able to submit email addresses to IT that we want “white listed.” Of course this does not resolve the problem of sending email to other districts. It just seems blocking has gone too far… Where is the happy medium?

    @Doug–their loss, huh?I don’t suppose you will be doing any workshops in SD. Glad you were not blocked email wise in SC!!

    @Sarah Sorry u have not had as good an experience with gmail as I have.

    @Jude I just don’t think I could manage 8 accounts, but I do have 3, and all 3 are used for different reasons –lists, accounts, school, personal, professional, etc. So far I’m managing this. I just dont think I could manage 8. You are amazing.

  5.   Doug Johnson Says:

    Hi Cathy,

    Unfortunately it was a single participant who has asked for a link to a resource I had mentioned during a talk in SD. I wound up having to call her school since I couldn’t get through via email.

    SCASL has been easy to work with via e-mail. Which IS my preferred method of communication for these sorts of things.

    Thanks for asking,


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