As we move toward using more online learning environments and Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, forums, course management systems (Moodle, Elgg, etc) the need for student email accounts becomes obvious. Many of these applications require an active email account just to allow a user to register. Most offer teachers the ability to send email to students, either individually or as a group, enhancing communications functionality. There are, of course, many other arguments in favor.

Do any of your districts provide email accounts for students?

* Beginning in what grade?
* Does your IT dept manage them?
* Do you use a subscription service? Which one?
* How do you monitor use?
* What are there legal implications?
* Does your AUP address email?

Thanks for the feedback.

Tags: blogs, email, forums

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We have student email for grades 7-12, which is approx. 150 students. We got their accounts set up through gmail. The domain name has been changed however. There is no managment as far as our district is concerned. We monitor student computers with vision client software and through the schools filter. We have 1:1 laptops so we also have a moble web filter to protect the computers when they are off of our network.
Thanks Nate. Can your filter read the body of the emails? That is one of the issues that we have to address before we can give our kids accounts.
We can't look at the body of their messages since we don't host the mail server. Just talked to our Tech Coordinator and she said to check out Total Web Control.
Tom - My school gives students, grades 8 - 12, an email account. It's housed within our learning management system (Ucompass Educator, but Blackboard/WebCT and I think Moodle have similar features).

Our IT department doesn't have to manage it. It's just a matter of creating the account in the management system, which we delegated to several of the more tech-savvy teachers (which came along with a stipend).

Monitoring use is simple, as it is integrated into the learning management system.

I am not fully aware of the legal implications. Our AUP does cover use of the internal email system.

With all of this said, my school is taking a serious look at ecollege/ecampus which does not have an internal email system. As we are beginning to explore that option we are also looking at Google Apps for Education and creating an API which will allow students to login to ecollege automatically be logged-in the email features of Google Apps. As Nate mentioned there is a lot less management there, but there is also a lot less oversight. We're still in the thinkings stage for this.
Glenn, we use Moodle beginning in middle school for online book studies, and blended online courses in which high school teachers supplement face to face classroom with online materials. It hadn't occurred to me to use Moodles internal email/messaging system but that does make a great deal of sense. Thanks.
Our schools provide email access to all students. It can be requested at any grade level, but normally it is used for middle grades and up. Students are provided and email account (off our server) and it is managed locally by a teacher in the school. each school that uses email accounts for students has a local person to manage (maintain passwords, monitor usage, etc.). All students and parents must sign an AUP policy prior to receiving the account. We have few issues to date..
Techmentor, there is a lot to be said for having the teachers so intimately involved. Good to hear that it is going well. Thanks.
I have been reading with interest the information on the AUP. There seems to be some difficulty coming up with an appropriate one. We have not had this problem. Our form was based on the IT policy and allows some flexibility, but is otherwise very well written. However, we do have IT staff who monitor use as well. Our equipment is "locked" down tight as a rule and it is nearly impossible to get around it. Our AUP policy is clear on what is expected and allowed. Email is never deleted on our server. Students may delete, but that just transfers it to another server in case there is an issue later on. Our district took the position that in order to make sure there were no problems, no 3rd party email sites (gmail, etc) would be allowed. They are all blocked and we issue only email accounts we can manage. Maybe that makes our AUP easier to write. I am not sure...but it is only 1/2 page long...On another note....our district has a committee of teachers (one from each school) that form a technology committe to be the "leaders" in technology innovation in their schools. We are now in year three...Plus we have two technology mentors (like me) who travel our district working with teachers to integrate technology. I am amazed at how far we have come in the last few years. I am sure that we will keep's a journey!
That is wonderful that the teachers are collaborating so well within the school district. Technology is a hard subject to keep current on, or get caught up with in my case! Thanks for all the information regarding email in your schools.
We've had email available for middle school students on up. Parents had to give permission for accounts to be turned on by our network administrator. School email accounts generally have not been used that much in the middle school part of my institution, but high schooler are required to check their email accounts.

I think email is becoming more and more necessary and is such a great communication tool for teachers and students. I haven't particularly cared for our "opt in" policy for middle school, so next year we are moving to an "opt out" policy in which all middle school students will have accounts unless their parents request that we do not issue them. We are going to do a year trial of using Gaggle with our fifth and sixth graders as sort of training wheels practice before kids get their real school accounts. I will be in charge of overseeing the Gaggle accounts, not our IT dept. Otherwise, they are in charge of everything else!
Lucy, thanks for your reply. I like the opt-out idea. I am pushing for middle school and up to have accounts since we are using tools like Moodle and blogs, wikis more and more. I am building a case to persuade our administration.
I know a friend who has used Gaggle to great effect this year, as she wanted to use Google Docs for creating collaborative poems. She said the system worked great for her needs.
We don't have any email for kids, so I don't have much to add.
But I am interested in learning what other folks are doing about this issue, which often looms on the horizon as more tools require some sort of email registration



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