Activities, games and strategies using electronic mail as a means of buiding connections within a group or class
Easily adaptable email game. Email players participate in a time-travel scenario where they are projected into the future via a wormhole to explore an issue relevant to their context
|Source||Designers as learners website|
|URL||This website has been recently taken offline — with permission, we have made have provided a mirrored copy of the original website|
|Use||Teachers and trainers|
|Delivery||Easily designed and delivered email game — teacher and learners will need access to email software|
|Customisation||Can be easily modified to a range of topic areas|
A series of tasks which learners submit via email
|Source||Library and Information Services Flexible Learning Toolbox|
|URL||http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/series3/309.htmwith the direct link at http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/demosites/ series3/309/content/bd/bd006.htm|
|Use||CUL40199 Certificate IV in Library and Information Services (all of the core competencies)|
|Delivery||Can be delivered using a CD or loaded into a subject delivery system|
|Customisation||The material in this Toolbox has been developed to allow for customisation|
|Availability||Details of how to purchase this Toolbox are available on the Flexible Learning Toolbox site|
Why include email?
Many teachers will be familiar with using email for administrative functions with their learners. Email can be useful for queries, requests for support, or for tutors to follow up on outstanding matters with individual learners. Email can also be used to conduct a range of learning activities. In general these activities are easy to construct and deliver and do not require you or the learners to have access to sophisticated software and hardware.
Email was one of the first internet applications to be developed and is still the most popular and widely used for communication and transfer information.
Some email applications (such as Outlook,Outlook Express, Thunderbird and Groupwise) require a desktop application to be installed and run on the client machine to send and receive email. Setting up email accounts for learners may be handled by a central administrator and turn around may be slow.
The use of free web-mail applications such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail and Hotmail is very popular with people on the move or without ongoing access to a computer. Web Mail can be accessed through any web browser on any computer that is online. These can be quickly and easily set up “on the fly” by learners. Many Webmail applications include instant messaging, online calendars and document sharing tools.
- used extensively around the world,
- is becoming the communication tool of choice by most businesses and organisations
- allows rapid development of online activities
- can include attachments for learners to use
- allows you, the trainer, to monitor and record interaction.
Voice Email software that enables users to send emails using voice rather than text is also available. Trainers have tended to use voice enabled instant messaging systems or Voice Over IP (VOIP) tools rather than voice email.
Email activities may include brainstorming, polling students, chain writing of stories, correction of work, problem solving, games and much more.
- Decide if your activity would be suitable to be conducted via email.
- Plan the steps of the email activity.
- Draft the initial email explaining exactly what learners should do.
- Manage and facilitate the email activity over the agreed period of time.
Most commonly teachers use email as a tool for learners to submit assessment tasks. While this is a possible use, it is by no means as secure as the assessment tools in Learning Management Systems which have built in mechanisms for recording and tracking submission.
Email activities themselves can be used as part of the assessment process. Learners need to know up front that the email task forms part of the assessment and the criteria by which it will be judged.
Effective use of email is an extremely important skill in today's world, both for business and social purposes. Within an educational setting learners can develop a number of generic skills as they use emails:
- effective communication (appropriate tone and style of written text)
- self management
- use of technology.
Management of email is becoming a basic skill for teachers. Generally the use of an email program is not difficult. You will need to have skills in writing and sending emails, attaching files, managing incoming emails into sub-folders.
One of the skills that you need is the ability to manage a large number of emails coming in from learners. Dealing with this volume of email can be incredibly time consuming as generally each email needs to be dealt with individually. You may need to develop strategies for limiting the number of emails that come into your inbox. This may involve online communications happening primarily via a discussion forum (one-to-many).
You will also need to use written communication appropriate to email so as to provide a model for learners.
Consider establishing guidelines for learners and email submission so that you are not inundated with messages.
Such guidelines might include:
- suggesting that learners contact a co learner or trainer before contacting you
- requiring email be composed that that the message can be read in a single screen;
- including an identifying tag (like the course number or key word) in the subject field to aid filtering like messages into a common folder on receipt
- informing learners when you read your mail and how often you will reply to shape their expectations about the immediacy of your response.
- Problem-based learning
- Instant messaging
- Project-based learning
- Roleplays (online)
- Teacher's voice
- VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
From the Framework
More resources from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework
- Resource Kit for Creative Communities
Information gathering tools – email.
- Email games - plug in and play
An email game is a reusable text-based template.
It provides a pre-structured process for guiding a group of participants through a series of tasks. These tasks are designed to progressively generate and process content around a salient issue.
A game is played in several rounds and participants engage in activities like brainstorming, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, predicting and persuading each other.
Tools and resources
This comprehensive site by Marie Jasinski covers the design and facilitation aspects of email activities.
This website has been recently taken offline. With permission, we have made have provided a mirrored copy of the original website
- 20 Ideas: Enabling students to contact you by email
- Email games
These games incorporate research-based prescriptions from instructional design, game design, and online learning and facilitate dialogue between participants.
Email is by far the most popular service on the internet. Resources to help learner communicate using email.
Depolariser is an email game that encourages dialogue on the internet. This website by Thiagi explains the steps in the process.
http://thiagi.com/email-depolarizer.html More email games are at http://thiagi.com/email.html
Also see his Zero Cost E-Learning at http://www.learningcircuits.org/2002/may2002/thiagi.htm
- Using email
This site has a number of links to assist you in managing emails within an educational context.
- Voice email
HandybitsTM provides voice email for home users – search in the products section at http://www.handybits.com/voicemail.htm