Why Switch to Gmail?

February 22, 2019

We have two email addresses at our school. Our main email account has been setup for years, and is used for all school email, including messages from district administration, other teachers, and parents. But like many schools, ours adopted GSuite for education and now have a school Gmail account associated with our Google domain. Is mainly used to receive notifications from Google Classroom and Drive for shared items, so it is rarely check. But, when a student tries to contact their teachers, they are sending it to this account, because it is built into their Gmail contacts.

Reason #14: Inbox Categories

Inboxes constantly get flooded with emails, and it's sometimes difficult to comb through and locate the important ones. But, Gmail has an option for inbox categories. These filter messages based on who they're sent to and what they may contain. Now, all of the emails send directly to me show up in my 'Primary' tab, and my other, less important emails are categories into Social (for social media notifications), Promotions, Updates (usually from Google Classroom and Drive), and Forums.

See below:

Reason #13: App Integration with Add-ons

Make what Gmail has even better and more productive with Add-ons. If you use Google Calendar, Google Keep notes, or Google Tasks, you can look at them without leaving your email. When you click on one of these app icons, you are able to see all of the detail within it and still look at your email. Then, browse the many useful add-ons that can be added to customize Gmail.

Reason #12: Insert Files from Drive

A lot of the time I send emails, I have to hyperlink a file I am referring to, and almost always, those files are already in my Google Drive. So instead of copying and pasting the hyperlink, I can just click on the Google Drive icon and choose the file in My Drive that I want to insert.

Reason #11: Download Files to Drive

Frequently, I receive an attachment that I need to put into Google Drive. With Gmail, I can easily choose to save it directly to Google Drive.

Reason #10: Suggested Recipients

If you tend to send emails to the same people, or group of people, Gmail will recognize patterns and suggest recipients to add. Obviously, you could also create email groups in Contacts, but this is a nice feature to fall back on.

Reason #9: Canned Responses

There are a lot of times we respond the same way to emails. Canned Responses allows you to make "template" emails, so when you are composing, you can save an email as a template, and then easily use it when needed. In order to utilize canned responses, you need to enable it in your Advanced Settings:

Reason #8: Smart Reply

In your settings, you can turn smart reply on, allowing Gmail to show suggested replies at the bottom of the email. If you click one of them, you can easily edit it, add to it, or simply sent it.

Reason #7: Smart Compose

In your settings, you can turn writing suggestions on, allowing Gmail to make predictive writing suggestions appear as you compose an email.

Reason #6: Boomerang

Looking for a way to schedule emails to be sent later, or want an easy way to manage email reminders, get Boomerang for Gmail. It is a free, Chrome Extension with paid upgrades.

With Boomerang, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Just write the messages as you normally would, then click the Send Later button.

There are times you need to make sure you follow up within a specific time frame after sending a message. You can select to only be reminded if nobody replies, or regardless. This way you won't let messages slip through the crack and will never forget to follow up with people.

Want a cleaner inbox, but don't want to lose track of important messages? Use Boomerang to take messages out of your inbox until you actually need them. Just click the Boomerang button when you have an email open, and choose when you need it again. Boomerang will archive your message. At the time you choose, we'll bring it back to your inbox, marked unread, starred or even at the top of your message list.

Reason #5: Permission Reminders

If you attach a Google Drive item (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Video, etc.) and it does not have the proper permissions, it will remind you that "some people need access to files."

Reason #4: Calendar Integration

Let Google Calendar send emails to invite people to meetings. When you add an event to your Google Calendar, you can invite guests to attend. Once you've selected your guests and save your event, Google Calendar will ask if you would like to send an invitation email to your guests.

Reason #3: Storage Space

I am a firm believer in documentation, and Email is a very easy way to keep documentation... unless, you have a storage limit. With Gmail, and Drive and Google Photos for that matter, you have an unlimited amount of storage with your @cftigers.org account.

Reason #2: Be Ahead of the Curve

In a recent poll, only 13% of districts in our area are using two email addresses, the other 87% are only using Gmail. The writing is on the wall, and it is only a matter of time before the change is made. When exactly, we are not sure, but it will happen.

Reason #1: Our Students are Using it

If no other reason has persuaded you, maybe this one will. As I mentioned earlier, if a students tries to email their teachers, they log into their school Gmail account, type their teacher's name, write their grammatically incorrect email, and send. What they fail to realize is that they just sent (in their eyes an urgent message) to our @cftigers.org email address, that may not be checked as frequently as our main @cfalls.org email address.

Additionally, if our role as educators is to model and instruct, it is my hope that we are teaching our students life skills needed, such as proper communication and collaboration, to be successful in their future. That most certainly includes email.

Potential Drawbacks of Being Ahead of the Curve...

1) You would want to set to have all of your incoming @cfalls.org emails automatically redirected to your @cftigers.org email. Below, you will find a short tutorial on how.

*Instead of choosing the condition of being sent to you, it might be easier to select the condition of [Apply to all messages].

2) Unless you migrate all of your saved emails over to Gmail, you'll have to go back into your old email to see them.

3) You would need to update your contact list, using Google Contacts. When you are on the same domain (@cfalls.org or @cftigers.org) as other users, it is very easily to look them up by name to send them an email. But when you are on different domains, you'll have to enter their email address manually (at least the first time) to have it in your database. Rest assured though, since Gmail will help. As you start to type in someone's email within your domain, Gmail will give you suggestions.

So if you want to send it to that person's @cfalls.org account, just type through the suggestion and end their username with @cfalls.org.

4) Many of our logins are registered through @cfalls.org, like AIR, NWEA Map, and CF LPCD. Even though setting up email redirects would help us to only have one email account to login to, you might still have to use @cfalls.org to log into certain sites.