ePals SchoolMail is free for K12 students, teachers and parents. You can read more about the company at the corporate website: http://corp.epals.com.
As you see, this looks a lot like other email systems. But notice the tabs on the top of the page. This is the teacher view of SchoolMail. You see one tab says My Mail and the other one says Monitored Mail . The teacher can get email from other teachers and from parents, and this teacher is also monitoring student email accounts. The ability to monitor student email accounts is NOT available in general mass market email systems such as gmail or Yahoomail.
Do you already have experience with email? The ePals SchoolMail tool operates like most email tools with a few exciting exceptions. The next set of slides will highlight the unique features of SchoolMail. ePals was the first email system in the world to have instant language translation, written up in the New York Times in April 2000 for this radical new idea. (It was the idea of a teacher who asked ePals to build it into the system so that her students could communicate with students who didn’t speak English.) SchoolM@il users also have access to the ePals Global Community™, the largest network of connected K-12 classrooms in 200 countries and territories. Students can safely communicate via email with peers from around the world, increasing global awareness and improving reading, writing and communication skills Websites that are dedicated to student privacy and safety can apply for TRUSTe certification. It’s not easy to get and to keep, and sites have to keep demonstrating their observance of child privacy and safety practices. Any site with TRUSTe certification will display the green logo on the bottom of the page. If you want to use a site, check to see that it has TRUSTe certification, or else you may need to worry about safety of your students.
ePals has several layers of technology that lead to safety for students, and in addition it has several levels of human monitoring. These all combine for a complete safety solution. ePals don’t just use a filter for prohibited sites or a list of “dirty words.” ePals is far more sophisticated than that! ePals has Role-Based Policy Management. This is a technical strategy used by large online groups with high security needs (think banks!). Each user has a role, and different roles have different abilities. Teachers can adjust student roles for more or less responsibility and monitoring. We’ll get into that in detail in some of the other tutorials. If you really want to know about Policy Management, see the Tutorial on Policy Management.
Presuming that a district sets up SchoolMail accounts, the district administrator would be able to preset certain items by grade level or school across the district. In having a district-wide deployment, it’s easy to move students from one school to another (and need to change their schoolname and monitor name). It’s easy to add students when they come into the school from another district too. And the district administrator can decide who can be the sub-administrators to help out. In some districts, the district staff members are assigned to particular schools or feeder patterns but know how to help in other schools, if someone needs help. Only the district administrator can add schools to the account. The sub-administrators might have powers for certain schools only or across the district. Usually there is a sub-administrator in each building who is able to add or delete students, help teachers with issues such as changing student passwords, and other items. Teachers are broadly defined, because the counselor or coach or media specialist may need to send emails to students, as well as the principal and assistant principal.
Monitors are typically the teacher of the class for a student. This is a human-level intervention as a last check that students have not revealed personal information that should be kept private. Student accounts have several different levels, and those can be adjusted by the teacher for individual students or assignments. Parent accounts are provided in some districts, particularly in those where communication has been a problem because of language barriers. The automatic language translation can help non-English speaking parents communicate better with their child’s teachers.
We’ll tell you more about the ePals home page and what’s there, and about how SchoolMail works, in future tutorials. Spend a few minutes going through them to be more confident and knowledgeable about how to use these powerful, engaging tools with your students!
For most folks, we recommend reading through all the ePals tutorials, which take about 10 minutes each. If you want to read just one more tutorial , we recommend: The Least You Need to Know to use ePals , which quickly summarizes all the tutorials. If you are particularly interested in technical issues , be sure to look at the tutorial titled ePals Policy Management .
What is ePals SchoolMail? In this tutorial, we will inform you about ePals SchoolMail. This email system was designed for K12 use with safety features beyond mass market email systems. Tutorial # 2
Goals of this Tutorial This tutorial will explain the basics of SchoolMail:
Give a quick overview
Learn the different account types
Show where you log into your SchoolMail
For more technical detail, see ePals Policy Management tutorial
Learning Objective: Understand what SchoolMail offers
Like regular email with the addition of “policy management” and monitoring
Teachers can monitor mail written by their students, a feature not available in general market email systems
Features different types of accounts, with different roles and abilities for each
What is ePals SchoolMail? Learning Objective: How it offers more than General mass market email systems
Three Account Types: Adults SchoolMail Account Types
District Administrator : manages the overall SchoolMail license. May create all accounts (sub-administrator, teacher, monitor, student and parent), add schools, define grades and set policies for users. Grants privileges to sub-administrator.
Sub-Administrator : can perform same functions as district admin but cannot add schools. Can make changes for users only in schools where access has been granted.
Teacher : any adult member of your school community, including educators, media specialists, counselors, principal, etc.
Learning Objective: Understand the different account types
Three More Account Types SchoolMail Account Types
Monitors : Monitors oversee communication to and from students, and one is assigned to each student account. This role augments technology filtering to ensure that the communication is appropriate and on task.
Student : Only for students in your school/district. Filters and access parameters are set for all student communication and define who and how the student may communicate.
Parent : For parents wishing (and allowed) to participate in the school communication system.
Learning Objective: Understand the different account types