Numerous impediments are limiting the use of eMail by teachers to communicate with students, parents, and fellow educators. In order to improve online communication, school districts must remove the following roadblocks:
- Lack of student eMail accounts. Legal liability for student eMail, as well as the expense of maintaining a system large enough to give all students eMail accounts, has resulted in many districts not giving students permanent accounts. Thus, teachers can’t communicate with students who can’t log on.
- Inadequate time. The school day is busy, and most teachers lack breaks during which they can check eMail and respond to messages.
- Lack of access to computers. Even with time during a school day, many teachers do not have uninterrupted access to a computer.
Several teachers work around the student access problem by communicating with parents, who typically have access to eMail at work, at home, or both. Teachers can send assignments and comments to students through parents’ accounts, which often has the added benefit of alerting parents to classroom assignments and activities.
School districts can solve the time and access problems by making those issues priorities in their scheduling and equipment configurations. Also, many schools have tried to facilitate the use of eMail by creating rules for usage. For example, they may institute policies discourage system users from sending messages that aren’t school-related to their colleagues, so as to avoid eMail overload.