Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Steps to Email Zen

Over the years I've had to deal with huge numbers of Emails, for example when I worked in ARM and went on holiday I ended up with literally 1,000 emails when I came back. On average I had to deal with 100 emails per day.  So when I became a teacher, I didn't feel so much stress because I had the tools to deal with the issues.

So after 12 months of promising, here are my tips to help sort, deal and manage email stress. Please share your strategies in the comments below.

Being Zen

1. The 3 minute rule - When I check my email. If the email is likely to take less than 3 minutes to deal with, then it'll get dealt with on the spot.

2. The Archive - These days you don't have to worry about email boxes exploding, GMAIL for EDU practically has unlimited storage, so at the end of each week I throw every email in the archived folder. It can still be searched for and found, but a 0 inbox is a beautiful thing!

3. Filter by person - I used to filter by subject, but actually filtering by people means that you can quickly track who sent what.  (Filters help)  Also in GMAIL you can actually have multiple tags. Certain emails can skip the inbox, but still be pulled back if you need to read them.  (Effectively just 1 step up from the bin). I also filter by event when needed so that when the event is finished its already archived.

4. Quiet hours - I have my email accounts on my phone and this can be very useful, but my phone also has quiet hours. Set it up:  ios & Android

5. FormMule - If you need to send out larger numbers of emails with results, school trip invites then its worth learning how to do an Email Merge. FormMule is very handy for this and will literally save you hours.

Sharing Zen

To be truly zen you need to be considerate of others when you send emails:

1. You should know when something is TO somebody or CCed (CC means the person does not need to take action)

2. Include a clear and relevant subject (Think of the Financial Times headlines)

3. only address 1 subject per email

4. Use bullets & ordered lists to improve on-screen readability.

5. When Forwarding if you need action, be sure to add a summary statement at the top to highlight what the person needs to do.

6. Mass emails can be funny, but if its got advice or a warning please check it's real. Otherwise you are effectively helping spammers. Two great sites for checking authenticity are: http://www.snopes.com/ and for more technical hoaxes https://www.sophos.com/threat-center/threat-analyses/hoaxes.aspx

7. Don't send links to links to links. Nobody wants to see the blog of the amazing picture of the video of... Send either a direct link, the article itself or picture itself.

8. Don't send emails that will cause emotional distress  (For emotional stuff at least phone or video conference, but best done in person.)

Friday, 10 June 2016

First Review of Minecraft Education

We go through our first test of Minecraft Education! You will need an Office365 educators account, which can be setup with a school email at: http://education.minecraft.net/  

Installation is much easier than the old version and the game engine is much better too, but the fact that ComputercraftEDU is no longer there and this version is unmoddable is disappointing. Watch the video to see it in action!  Let me know your thoughts below.