For teachers that are just getting started utilizing technology, there are a couple of things to do at the beginning that will help facilitate the process. There are a lot of free online tools for teachers to use, but most require an email address to register your information. I would suggest that you spend a half hour and create two email accounts outside of your school address, so you can easily become a user of these online resources. The two emails that I would recommend creating are free and easy to setup, and they are Google Mail and Yahoo Mail.
gmail account. It is not necessary, but I have found it to be quite useful to have a gmail account. First of all, I use it to log into my google applications. I also use it to log into Blogger, so I can blog and tell you about all these wonderful tools. Gmail is also rarely blocked by email filtering systems, so you emails sent to and from this account will likely get through to the receiver. Google will then have your information, so when you add different applications to your repertoire, you will be able to log in and be able to work.
I mentioned that gmail is not necessary for use of the Google tools. You can create a google login using any email address, but since the process is so easy, I would recommend getting a gmail account. I do not spend a lot of time checking my google email since I do get most of my traffic through other accounts.
Yahoo email account. Yahoo has some nice features on their website and being a member of Yahoo will allow you to customize your homepage as well as many other things. The main reason that I created this account was so that I could join Flickr. Flickr is the site that I use to upload photos and share photos. I requires a Yahoo ID, so creating it early will be helpful.
I think that creating these accounts when you first get started, will allow you to be thoughtful and consistent when choosing your login names, passwords, and email addresses. The more consistent you can be with your online presence, the easier it will be for people to find you, follow you, communicate with you, and share with you. My feeling is that people need to embrace that fact that these online tools are here, and learn quickly what they can do to help facilitate growth. It takes some work (or what I like to refer as "play time") to figure out, but the benefits are great. Plus, you don't have to spend a lot of money for special programs.
I will try share information in the future about Google, Yahoo, and Flickr. I just wanted to suggest that there is some simple work you can do help facilitate your successful use of the tools. Spend a half hour getting your accounts and passwords set up. It will help you with your work in the future.