Moving to Gmail

Moving to a new system can be a daunting task, especially when coupled with the challenges faced across an educational setting. We asked a number of our Digital Leaders from our Early adopters group for their thoughts on how Google Workspace has helped to improve their day to day routine, and any advice that they may have for first time users. 

At the heart of Google Workspace there are helpful tools that help you to maximize your time. You have the ability to set your applications out in a way that works for you and turn on notifications to help remind you of important events, or set reminders.  Kate, a Principal Teacher, said she “really likes the way I can organise everything, and it is all synced for me so I have reminders for meetings…”. 

Notifications can be managed from your settings menu by clicking on the cog in the top right hand corner of Google Calendar, from here you can also get a daily agenda notification sent to your email of your meetings for the day. Learn how to set this daily agenda up here.

“Be brave and experiment!” 

The settings cog is a feature right across your Calendar, Drive and Mail applications in Google. Laura, a Class Teacher P1, says “Be brave and experiment!”. In Mail you can adjust your settings to enable smart features, such as predictive writing suggestions, smart reply or nudges to help remind you of important emails that you may need to reply to. Colin, a Learning Technologist said that nudges are “very handy for reminding me to chase up emails that I have yet to get a response to.” 

With any application, layout can be one of the most important factors in making sure that it is right for you,  “If there’s something about it that you don’t like/want it to do, you can probably customise…” Jonathan a Class Teacher – Primary said. The settings in Google Mail let you change your inbox so that you can have the best possible experience. So whether you like to have a compact view with more emails on one page, or prefer to have them organised in a certain way, Google will let you do this. One of the key layouts our Early adopters liked was the Priority inbox view which lets you sort your emails by unread, important, starred, then everything else.

Jennifer, an acting DHT, has been making use of the snooze feature in Google Mail “Love the ability to snooze and email and then bring it back to the forefront of your mind!”. This allows you to set a reminder on an email that you receive to pop back up to the top of your inbox, a handy little tool if you’re always on the go.

“Don’t panic! It gets easier with use…” 

So why not try out some of the productivity tips from our Early Adopters group, have a play with your settings and get your inbox and your calendar working for you. In the words of Tracey, a Music Instructor, “Don’t panic! It gets easier with use, especially if you change a few settings”. For more information on these productivity tips and how to adjust them in your settings click here

Organise your inbox using the labels!”

One of Google Mail’s main features is the label function, this is a way of quickly identifying emails in your inbox.  Our Depute Head Teachers, Kerry, Zoe and Julie have been making full use of labels with this being one of their favourite features. Kerry has said that they  “…helped organise emails and save time”. When coupled with the filter function, labels can provide a powerful time saving process by using rules set by you to label an email correctly when they arrive in your inbox. Julie’s advice is to “Set up your label folders and archive as you go”. If you’d like more information on how to set up a label and sort these using filters click here.

It’s much simpler”

Google Mail and Calendar are just a couple of the products that are available in Google Workspace. When working in Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides can be utilised and shared. Jamie, a Computing Teacher, really likes the integration between applications “It’s simpler to access and integrates into the Gmail app easily“. With Google Workspace everything you need to be productive and collaborative is in one place, making access to emails, files, and Google Classroom that much easier. Teresa, a Class teacher, has been collaborating on files and likes how you can “easily add someone into documents/file shares”.

Be patient and to stick with learning how it works”

Just remember that moving to Google Workspace is just the beginning of your journey, Daniel, a Class Teacher and Digital Leader said “Be patient and stick with learning how it works” . There are many professional learning opportunities that are offered at Midlothian and on the “Google for Education” website which will help you on your Google journey. Laura said “Using Google makes my day brighter… Using Google workspace and Gmail has inspired me to sign up for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Training”. 
If you are a member of staff and want to make your day that little bit brighter, like Laura, then you can learn more about Educator level 1 training here. We have also pulled together some Google Workspace Professional Learning resources which you can make use of on our website.