Email May Be Passe

Source: http://www.myeducation.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/k12-online.jpg
While email be out of style for K-12 students--someone asked me, "Do we even need to make email accounts for students?"--school districts are still issuing accounts and managing email, a task made easier by GoogleApps for Education! The reasons--in no particular order--given include at least the following:

  • Facilitate a district-controlled communications medium that avoids the drama of social media
  • Enables counselors to stay in contact with students
  • Makes it easy for school districts to "spam" student accounts
  • Provides the illusion of control for CIPA purposes rather than the free for all.
  • Gives students an identifiable school district domain name rather than the garden variety free web-based account.
  • Enables students to practice working using email tools in a safe environment
  • Broaches the subject of online communication with parents who for too long have found it easy to keep their head in the sand.
  • Helps introduce teachers to the idea of digital citizenship when using online communication tools.
I'm sure there are many more valid reasons, but that's a quick review. When reflecting on email roll-outs I've done in the past, I couldn't help but laugh at this email to students. I measured it's readability and found it to be college-level! However, the team of Master's degreed personnel who reviewed it thought it was right on target. 

What a laugh upon reflection I've had about this:

Have you wanted an easy way to communicate with your classroom teachers
and other school staff? You now have your own District email address!
Please remember that ALL email use can be monitored and filtered to
ensure a safe, academic learning environment. Just as you would not
write or share inappropriate content in class, you should definitely
avoid that via email. To help guide you, please find some expectations
of appropriate use of email below:

EXPECTATIONS
There are specific expectations for appropriate use which you, as a
student, are required to follow.
*If you forget your password, ask your classroom teacher for help
resetting your password.
*Use appropriate language when sending email messages to other students
as well as staff members such as teachers, coaches or the principal
*Be cautious when opening messages from unrecognized senders which could
result in a virus or unwanted spam
*Tell your teacher or other school staff members when any message they
receive is inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable
*Foster a positive online environment by not engaging in cyberbullying
practices. You can find out more online at
http://digitalcitizenshipresourcesforkids
*Use your own identity when sending messages and not the identity of
others
*Handle email passwords with care by not sharing it with others
*Follow the District's Responsible Use Agreement
*Understand that any and all email messages sent and/or received through
the District email system are public and monitored by District personnel
*Be aware of the consequences of engaging in inappropriate online
behavior to include- cyber bullying or harassment

Your signature--and that of your parent's (or guardian's) in the District's Parent/Student Handbook shows you accept these expectations.
Should you violate the expectations listed above, please be aware that
you will face the consequences set forth by the campus principal and the
District.
With that understanding, I encourage you to use your login and email to
further your learning in school!
Thank you for your cooperation!

Here's the second version I drafted, trying to "lower the readability" to my target audience of grade 8-12 students:
Welcome! You now have your own @studentdomainname email account!
Please remember that you should be polite online, and avoid uses of email that hurt or bully others. Remember that what you do online is public, not private, and can end up on the evening news. That would not be good.  
To help guide you, please find 5 "class rules" of how email should be used: 
5 CLASS RULES1) If you forget how to get into your email, ask your teacher.
2) Tell and show your teacher or principal right away if you receive words, pictures, video, audio that make you feel bad.
3) Be a model citizen, not a "cyberbully."
4) Be yourself when sending email (do not pretend to be someone else or use another's email account).
5) Your signature--and that of your parent's (or guardian's) in the District's Parent/Student Handbook shows you accept these rules and accept the consequences for your actions
Thank you for remembering these 5 rules! 
Glad you took a moment to read this,





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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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