For many years now students have been creating, collaboration, and communication using Google Drive. They’ve been making documents and slide shows, sharing files with each other, leaving comments with feedback and notes. The one thing they haven’t been doing, is communicating officially. What that means is all of the communicating has been done using workarounds; students create a document and share it with each other so they can discuss a project, students have ongoing discussions around a project using the Comments tool, students and teachers create documents to paste links they want to share. Comments and shared Documents have been the defacto communication tool.
Since 2nd grade students have been working together without an official means of direct communication. This will change on Monday February 11, 2019.
On 2/11/19 5th graders will have their GMail inbox turned on. All students have a Scarsdale GMail account (its the @scarsdaleschools.org account they use to access Drive). Up until this point the GMail portion of their account has been inactive and inaccessible. On 2/11/19 5th graders will have their GMail inboxes activated. This is not a Heathcote decision but rather a district-wide technology policy update.
A few things to note:
- GMail will be on only for 5th grade
- Can be monitored via Hapara Teacher Dashboard, the same system being used to monitor Drive
- Will only be able to send and receive mail within the @scarsdaleschools.org domain
- they can’t communicate with email addresses that don’t end in @scarsdaleschools.org
- For Capstone, we will be able to whitelist (centrally approve) email addresses outside Scarsdale Schools so students can connect and communicate with experts
Why we are doing this:
- GMail has always been open at Scarsdale Middle School and we want to prepare our 5th graders before they leave elementary school
- Using GMail will make it easier to do things like share links and Comment notifications from Docs, Slides, etc
- We can begin to better integrate student use of Google Calendar now that we can use Invitations, Reminders, etc
- Email is an important part of the digital footprint, digital citizenship lesson/experience dynamic
The official notification from went home with 5th graders on Friday. This notification letter was from Jerry Crisci, the Scarsdale Schools Director or Instructional Technology. In addition, every 5th grade class had a lesson reminding them of the Responsible Use Policy and what the expectations are once GMail is active. There will be follow-up lessons in the coming weeks to discuss the technology of GMail as well as proper use and etiquette.
This is an exciting evolution in the technology program. This will help to further support the student’s appropriate use of technology and communication skills while also working to make the transition to 6th grade more seamless and effortless..