You may be here for "How?" or you may be here for "When?" or you may be here for "Why?". The answers to all these questions are below.

Please start by following the instructions on the 101 - Students or 101 - Teachers page to activate your PinckneyPirates.org account. Once you have completed this first step you will be able to begin using the great tools available here.

Please plan to activate your PinckneyPirates.org account and begin forwarding your email before June 30, 2015.
 Our Zimbra service contract will run out at that point and many of the services we offer via Zimbra Webmail will no longer be available. Your username@pcs.k12.mi.us account will not be deleted - mail sent to that address will continue to forward to your new address. However, please note that Zimbra Webmail will no longer be supported and all district email will be sent to the new address after June 30, 2015.

Please plan to activate your Students.PinckneyPirates.org account and (OPTIONALLY) begin forwarding your email before OCTOBER 10, 2014.
 Your username@students.pcs.k12.mi.us account will not be deleted - mail sent to that address will continue to forward to your new address. However, please note that sending from the account will no longer be available after December 19, 2014.

1. Cost. It's free.
2. Privacy. You have the opportunity to "reset" your school email as a "work only" email address. 
3. Access to Google Classroom.

About #1...
It's hard to argue with a free solution - especially when it is an improvement of the existing solution. This move will help us save the cost of the annual service contract, as well as free up some of the time of our technology staff. This means a better service experience for our technology users in the district.
About #2...
Additionally, many users have been using their email address for both personal and professional communication for many years. While we don't prevent this, it is not a good way to maintain your email. If there is a request for information about an email account (Freedom of Information Act) any emails in the school email account are included in that request. That means they see everything from a note about a student's progress to the planning you did with your brother for last summer's vacation to the nude beach. Separating your email into two accounts will help you stay safe from sharing your confidential emails.
About #3...
Finally, Google has introduced a wonderful new tool called Google Classroom. This web based application will allow you to very easily create an online location to set classroom calendars, share information about assignments, and share documents. It's surprising how simple this tool makes it to have an online presence for your classes. To make the best use of this (and some of our other tools) we need to have all the teachers and students in one domain (pinckneypirates.org).

Why did we choose Google Apps?
Google apps is a free service provided by google that allows you to do much of what you use your computer for to be done on the cloud.  This means that anything that you do with google apps is available to you from any internet connected computer anywhere you may be.
  • Lower infrastructure costs — All your email will be stored securely on Google's servers, so we'll no longer have to maintain email servers on-site
  • Ability to consolidate our platforms — We can eliminate redundancy by moving all of our email and calendar platforms to Google Apps
  • Lower support costs — Because Google hosts the email and calendar services, there's no more email client software to maintain on your computer
  • Innovative solutions — We can leverage the ongoing creative and technical solutions of the Google Apps platform to provide employees with powerful, easy-to-use tools for getting their work done
  • Highly scalable environment — With Google Apps, our email capacity will grow automatically as our organization grows, and we'll avoid the complexity of internal systems
  • Access to services from anywhere, at anytime — A key benefit of the Google-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, from anywhere in the world
  • More collaboration features — With Google's next-generation applications, we can collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners more easily and efficiently than ever before
  • Instant messaging — Because Google Apps includes Google Talk, we can now implement an instant messaging system for our organization

What does Google Apps include?
Your new Google Apps account will include the following services:
  • Blogger
  • Gmail 
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Talk
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sites
  • Google Video

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What are the key benefits?
  • Lots of storage — You get a full 30 GB+ of online storage for your email, so you can archive all of your email online. You'll no longer need to worry about deleting messages or saving them in offline folders.
  • Enhanced message organization and retrieval — With Gmail, you'll spend less time managing folders and searching for messages. For example, you can add one or more tags, or "labels," to your messages to organize and store them more efficiently. And with the Google-powered search feature, you can find any message quickly and easily, whether it's in your Inbox or stored in your message archive.
  • Easier calendar sharing — Google Calendar lets you and your team quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way to keep each other informed about your schedules. Now it's easier than ever to find out if someone is in a meeting, on a business trip, or on vacation.
  • Integrated chat — With the Google Talk instant messaging application, you can communicate instantly with other people in our organization right from the Gmail interface. In addition, all your chats are automatically saved, so you can always retrieve important information later.
  • Real-time collaboration — Using Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and more, that you and your team can view and edit at the same time. You can still use yourMicrosoft Office products as needed, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents. 
  • Easy-to-build team web sites — With Google Sites, your team has the ability to quickly publish a robust internal web site on which to gather all sorts of shared information, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, files, and videos. You can even embed Google calendars, discussion forums, and other gadgets on your site!