Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Using GMail Filters

Recently an old email issue resurfaced. Some time ago, a student who wanted to share something of personal importance chose to send a mass email around our District. The building principal dealt with the issue appropriately at the time, but occasionally the message resurfaces. ...And as teachers' inboxes blow up, the questions also start rolling into my inbox...

Can't you do something to stop this?

No, I'm afraid not. If I had that much control over GMail, I wouldn't be driving a Honda Civic. Once it's out there, it's out there.

Well, what can be done about this? 

It's a teachable moment. Teach students that using "Reply All" is inappropriate in this situation. Teach them to simply delete the email and go on with their lives. Teaching kids - it's your Superpower!

What else can students and I do?  

You - and your students - can create a filter for this message. Here's a quick overview, from BetterCloud Monitor:
In our local case, 
  1. Copy the subject of the email in question and paste it in the Subject field when you create the filter. 
  2. When you define the action, simply have GMail "Skip the Inbox (Archive It)"
  3. Last, check the box to apply that filter to all the existing messages with that have the same Subject. 
You and your students will never see that annoying email again.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Filters can be wonderful time-savers, but use them with care. For example might be tempting to filter all messages from your Principal or your favorite local Tech Coordinator :-D However, if you don't read those emails when appropriate and miss out on something important, that's going to be on you. Likewise, if you teach kids to do this, they might be tempted to filter out messages from their teachers in the same way, too. Teach them when it's appropriate to filter and when it's not. 

Think it all the way through before you filter out work-related or school-related messages!  


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