Monday, July 29, 2019

Declutter your district Gmail

Having a district Google account has many benefits. From single sign-on to sharing documents with students and using Google classroom, it provides many opportunities for collaboration and communication, which makes it an invaluable tool. However, dealing with the e-mail attached to that account has always been a nightmare for me. That e-mail account is clogged with newsletters from different vendors and notifications of shared documents from students to the point of making it completely useless. In the past, this has not been a problem since my district was also using an LMS  which made it easy for me to bypass the use of that Gmail. However, it looks like it may no longer be the case, so I needed to find a way to make that Gmail account work more efficiently for me, and the answer was not as difficult as I thought it would be. It all relies on filtering your e-mails.

Filtering the vendors

1. Click on any e-mail you receive from a vendor to open it
2. Click on the three little dots at the top right of the message to open the "more" menu and select "filter messages like this"

3. On the screen that opens, select "Create Filter" and then choose what you want to do with those e-mails.

Filtering the invitations to edit

This was my biggest issue. No matter how many times I've asked my 240 stduents that when they share something with me (which I do want, of course) they should "skip sending a notification", they almost never do - that requires paying attention to details, which is not their forte. So on any given day, I would get hundreds of "____ has shared a document" e-mails. Filtering those was not as straightforward since the option to "filter messages like this" is not available. However, it can also be done.

1. Open your Gmail. Click on the Gear icon and then on Settings.

2. Select Filters and Blocked Addresses

3. Scroll down until you see Create a New Filter
4. In the box that appears, create the filter

5. Once you click continue, select what you want the filter to do and then click "create filter"

I selected "skip the inbox" for these types of e-mails just in case something gets filtered that I then need to go back to at some point. These e-mails will never make it to your inbox so if you ever need to see them, you will need to click on "more" on the left side of the screen, and then on "all e-mail".

It is important to note that all these filters you created do not necessarily apply retroactively. Anything received before you created the filter will still appear in your inbox unless you do something about it. However, anything new will be filtered according to the rules you just created.

So there it is. I hope you find this useful and if you have other tips I'd love to hear about them. On to teaching students about the wonder of BCC and never using "reply all".

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