Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Re: School Email

The dawn of the 21st century can be considered the Age of Computers. Technology is involved in almost every aspect of life, from predicting the weather to making change at the lunch counter to doing research. The high school generation is particularly involved technologically because they can have the whole world literally at their fingertips behind the touch screens of their smart-phones. Despite this, not every student has the ability to make use of this technology. In about a month, the district will launch a new website for student’s use. It will be the first website ever to give students their own email accounts so that they can easily communicate with teachers.

“Some students don’t have email,” said Dr. Phil Ertl, superintendent of the Wauwatosa District. “And it’s an easy way for them to stay in touch with their teachers.”

The login information will be the same that students have to access the regular school network and will be available initially to all high school students.

“The system will use Cloud-based storage,” said Jaime Price, the technical coordinator of the district. “Each account will be able to hold about 25 gigabytes, which is about 25 times the capacity that the regular student accounts have.”

This expanded storage make accounts ideal for storage of school files, which is a much more efficient system than the NetStorage that students are used to. NetStorage can only be accessed through a complicated series of windows on the district website, but with the new email accounts, students can punch the address directly into their navigation bars and pull up the page directly. Additionally, students will be able to access and work on projects at home, save the new copy to their accounts and then access it at school all without having to worry about flash drives being accidentally left at home.

The new email system will have more straightforward uses as well.
“We’re seeking to provide students with an extra communication tool,” said Price. “They can use it for school business, emailing teachers, and emailing their peers.”

Contacting teachers becomes especially important as students become more involved with their high school careers and projects become more and more complex. In addition, the accounts provide an option for students to contact their teachers without using their own personal email accounts. While this may be considered as protecting the privacy of their personal accounts, many wonder what level of privacy students can expect within the district accounts, especially when it comes to email conversations between peers.

“There’s no Big Brother component,” said Price. “No one is going to be sitting there reading every email that you send out; we just don’t have the resources or the capabilities to do that. If there is a problem, we will have the ability to look into it, but that’s not the purpose of what we are trying to do. We just want to give everyone an email account that they can use at school.”

Concerns of privacy are always an issue when it comes to technology, like when the school district installed the Aristotle software on all school computers which monitors activity.

“I don’t see there being a huge concern over privacy,” said Price. “Just like Aristotle, if we need to [look into something] we have the ability to do so.”

Long term goals for the accounts include getting them to middle school students and possibly to elementary students as well. As of right now, the accounts will only be available to high school students within East and West.

“We want to increase the levels of abilities that students have with networks,” said Price. “We want to break down boundaries so students can get what they need, when they need it, and from wherever they are.”

While email accounts for elementary students may seem a little superfluous and unnecessary, one must consider the value of training children from early on in being able to use and adapt to technology.
“There’s an expectation [in the professional world] that you would be able to use email,” said price. “If early students can attain a level of familiarity with email-based storage and sharing, they’ll be better able to operate in the real world.”

The real world is a long way off for most elementary school students, but learning to use and operate email may give them the edge that this technology-based world will demand of them.

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