Why Gmail? ~AO

Updated July 26, 2020

For years we have heard complaints about having two email addresses at our school. Our main email account had been setup for years, and was used for all school email, including messages from district administration, other teachers, and parents. But like many schools, we adopted GSuite for education and have a school Gmail account associated with our Google domain. It is where we receive notifications from Google Classroom and Drive for shared items and when a student tries to contact us, they are sending it to this account, because it is built into their Gmail contacts. So, for the fall of 2020, we are officially migrating to Gmail because the need for efficient communication more important now than ever. So why Gmai? Below are some of the features I think you will grow to love, and at the bottom you will find some Frequently Asked Questions.

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. Learn more about Google Calendar here.

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: 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.

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.

Reason #1: improved collaboration and communication

With the need for efficient communication more important now than ever, we want this transition completed in time for the start of this school year. This will put all of your email communication in one place and when all is said and done, will simplify your work communication life!

We will be moving to an all Google Gmail system using your @cftigers.org email address. This will eliminate our Outlook webmail system and keep everyone, district-wide, in the same email and calendar system. This will make collaboration and communication so much easier and seamless! Our calendars and emails will exist in the same location for all users, students and staff alike!

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen to all of my emails and calendars for my @cfalls.org address?

We will be moving all of your email messages and calendars so they will stay with you. If you have saved messages in @cfalls.org, they will begin to appear in your @cftigers.org address so you will not lose any saved messages.

What happens to my @cfalls.org email address?

When we finish the migration, all emails that are sent to your @cfalls.org address will automatically be forwarded to your @cftigers.org address. You will still receive any email sent to your @cfalls.org address, so anyone who has been using that address to contact you will still be able to. You won’t be able to send email from @cfalls.org after the migration, but you will always be able to receive those emails in gmail. Your response will come from your @cftigers.org email address.

Where will I go to get my email?

You will begin to use mail.google.com as your portal for email and calendar.google.com for your calendars. Once the migration is complete (see timeline below) you will no longer use mail.neonet.org or Microsoft Outlook for your email or calendars.

When can I learn more?

You can start now by practicing using Gmail. You already have an account (and many of you have been using it for years). You can go to mail.google.com and start today! We will be making videos to help those of you who are a little less familiar and want some extra help. Here is a quick start video tutorial if you are brand new to Gmail or just need a refresher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1f406LvJ7o

What is the timeline for this?

Week of July 28th - Test migrations for select users

Week of August 3rd - Pilot migrations for our pilot group

Friday, August 7th - full migration begins for all users

Monday, August 10th - migration complete and evaluation of any issues for resolution