On Thursday I ran my first “Brekky Bytes” PD for staff, the topic was “Learn to love the intranet”. The invitation went out to all offering a half hour session, with coffee and raisin toast available prior as an incentive.
Eight people attended plus our Teaching & Learning Coach who came to offer moral support and supply/cook the toast. An interesting array, rather top heavy with the college principal, a campus principal, four leading teachers and two others who I am sure will not mind being described as experienced.
We went through how to add announcements to the staff home page, how to access and upload documents (including a longer than expected diversion into the difference between the school memory and staff documents) and a look at the intranet calendar and how it can be accessed as a shared calendar in Outlook.
I showed everyone how to set up an alert so that once a day (or week, or instantly) one can be sent an email with the content of new announcements, reducing the need to actually scan the staff home page. In the process I discovered that while ‘my’ alerts are automatically sent to my edumail address when others in attendance tried the same thing either the default email was not visible or it showed xxx@ourschoolname etc instead of their edumail address. I spoke later to our network manager and discovered that this address is an internal one and part of the student email system that has been set up for students to communicate with their teachers. The teachers have been given another email account so that they don’t have to give out their edumail address to students.
But why wouldn’t a teacher want to give their students their edumail address? Surely as teachers our business is education and our “business” email address is our edumail one. If students use this address to send inappropriate material then if they are identifiable as the sender they can be dealt with within the school’s discipline structure. If inappropriate emails pop up from unknown senders then they can easily be blocked. Our edumail address should be seen as no more personal than the school’s street address or phone number. I can see that this issue will need to be resolved, the last thing that technophobe teachers need is added complications when they are barely grappling with checking one email account as it is.
So, as always, things never quite work out just as I imagine. Just when you think you know how something works, you show someone else and it doesn’t work the same for them. Some would find that frustrating and a reason not to try new things but for me it just strengthens my resolve to keep on trying, keep on exploring, continue to learn.