As of early October the FA email system went through a major transformation: Gmail is now the universal email system. Mr. Ken Ambach, the head of the tech department, was able to provide valuable information about the switch. According to Mr. Ambach, FirstClass was an “aging email platform” with many technical problems, such as space limitations and the lack of a calendaring tool. The lack of space caused emails to be automatically deleted after thirty-five days. The issue of space was a major problem for both teachers and students, so the search for a new email system began last year.
Gmail, or more specifically, Google Apps for Education, provided the answer. Mr. Ambach says that “Gmail is a modern email platform with solid spam and virus filtering built in. Google has provided each of our users with an almost ridiculous 25 gigabytes of email storage. The Calendaring and Contacts features of Gmail are very powerful and easy to use no matter what platform users use to access it. Most importantly, Google Apps for Education gives all of us access to a very powerful set of collaborative tools in Google Drive and Docs.”
After interviewing some students, the reaction to the transformation has been largely positive. Kara McNelis (’14) says, “Gmail is great for easy access. I like that you can share documents and I can easily see my email on my phone.” Some students would like a bit more assistance with the new switch. Emily Mara (’14), Julian Christian(’15) and Jordan Christian(’15) have all agreed that they don’t mind the switch, but they are not so sure how to navigate through the system. So far, there are good ratings of the new Gmail system within the FA community, but a little more assistance is is wanted by many students.
Mrs. James, Head of Library Services, echoed, “I was comfortable with First Class, but I am also happy with Gmail. Gmail is easy to access and I like the new calendar tools that it offers. However, Gmail does take a while to get used to.”
With the transition firmly in place and students and faculty alike beginning to adjust and embrace the new platform, Gmail and Google Apps for Education looks like a keeper.