Contacting entire classes of students with gmail is quick and easy when you create a contact group for each of your classes. This action was a request from a group of teachers that I work with, and I’m sure other teachers are wanting to email classes, too. One way to do this is to set up email groups for each class within Gmail so you can quickly send a mass email.
How to Create A Group
Sign into your Google Apps for Education account at http://gmail.com. On the left, you will see where it says Mail in large letters. Click on the down arrow to get a menu. Click on Contacts.
As I often tell teachers, there are multiple ways to do anything within Google. Some methods are easier than others, but it’s all about personal preference. I’ll give you a couple of options for creating your groups.
The fastest option is to check and see if your domain has kept access to the Directory. You will find this in the menu on the left. If you do have access to the directory, clicking on it will bring up every email address in your domain. You can go through and click the checkbox next to each of your students’ or colleagues’ names. When you are finished with the checkboxes, choose “Add to My Contacts.”
Next, go through your contacts and check the names of the people you are adding to a particular group. Then click the down arrow next to the icon of three people, and check the box next to the name of the group you are adding them to.
If you haven’t created the group yet, click Create New. Name your group. Any email address that is checked when you create the new group will be added to the group.
You can also set up the new group before you go through the directory. Just choose “Create New Group” from the menu on the left and give the group a name before you go through the directory.
If you are in a Google Apps for Education Domain, you may have everyone in your domain as part of your contacts list. In the menu across the top, there is an icon of a person with a + sign. If you choose the down arrow next to the icon, a field will appear and you will be able to type a contact’s full email address into the field. Those contacts that are in your domain should populate and you’ll be able to arrow down to highlight the name and hit tab so you can type in the next contact. A comma is automatically entered between each email address. When you are all finished, click Add and your new contacts will appear in your contacts.Go through the same procedure as above to add these new contacts to a specific group. Make sure to click Apply if it is an option.
If you make a mistake typing in an email address or name, click on that person’s name in your contacts list. The contact information will come up on the next screen. Hover your mouse over any field, including the current email address, in order to edit any part of the information. No need to hit a save button- just click outside of the field and the updated information will be saved automatically.
Group Contacts on the iPad
Creating a group in Gmail makes it easy to contact students if you are emailing them from a computer or from the desktop version of Gmail on the iPad. As you can see, typing in the first part of the group name brings up the group you created.The group doesn’t become one of your contacts, however, which makes it a little more difficult to email from the iPad. In order to quickly email all students from the iPad, send a blank group email and cc yourself. Any time you need to contact your students, do so with a “reply all” from that original message.
What Do You Think?
Have you found an easier way to email students quickly and easily? If so, share it here!