July 23, 2008
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: