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What can I do with it?

  • Personally, keep in touch with family and friends.  Instantly communicate over great distances without prohibitive costs
  • Professionally, collaborate with others in the profession; arrange for contact with experts in the field; exchange with other classes in other countries and do interactive projects
  • Send and receive files--share lesson plans, pictures, sounds for free
  • Receive regular mailings of e-magazines and newsletters

What's my address?

Assigned by your Internet service provider (ISP) the address is composed of three parts and a separation symbol:

  • user name
  • @ symbol
  • domain name (name of computer to which account belongs)
  • top-level domain (type of location from which the message is sent)
    (my e-mail address)

The Internet works in a standard protocol so all computers can talk to each other.  Your e-mail can be received by a PC or a Mac.  Virtually any machine can send and receive e-mail.

E-mail has two parts:  the header and the message.  The header contains the information about you, the address of the person you are sending the message, the date, and a subject.  The subject line is what you type to briefly describe the message.  It is all the receiver will see in their mailbox.  The message area is where you expand on your subject, the body of your letter.  Most e-mail is very informal.  It does not resemble an formal business letter but rather is frequently a short informative note.

Netiquette:  Dos and Don'ts of E-mail

The Internet is blind--you don't know who you are talking to and it is easy to disguise with pseudonyms so that anonymous letters are possible and really easy.  Therefore, it is important to discuss Net etiquette or Netiquette with students.

Some issues to discuss:

  • Custom electronic signatures--your e-mail should have a tag or footer that provides information about the sender and frequently expresses some of your personality.  Custom signatures often include a phrase or favorite quote and many times a picture in text format (emoticons).  The only caution is to keep them short--under 40 character spaces wide and not more than 5 lines.  Most e-mail software allows you to append your signature automatically to outgoing messages.
  • Think before you send--in other words, don't write when angry and don't write anything you would not write on a chalkboard for your class to see.  This is both public and private.  While you are sending to a private mailbox it is housed on a public server.  Accidents happen and no computer is totally secure.  So think before you write and send.
  • Don't flame.  Flaming is the term for inflammatory messages on the Net.  Don't "go off" on the Internet.  Maintain your self control when you use e-mail.  Remember people can print it off. Do you really want your anger on display for all to see?
  • Train your students on what is appropriate.  Don't assume that students know what is appropriate.  Some things should not be discussed by e-mail.  Personal information, credit information, and some other things like wedding invitations, letters of recommendation, termination letters are better left to the normal channels (snail mail).
  • NEVER us all capital letters.  Capital letters are equal to screaming in cyberspace.  Use capital letters appropriately.  
  • Emoticons (emotion icons)--Cyberspace has evolved its own way of expressing emotions using symbols.  Young children especially enjoy using them.  Adults don't seem to understand that you have to turn your head sideways to view them.  Common emoticons are:
    • :-)        Happy (smiley)
    • :-(        Not happy (frown)
    • ;-)        Wink
    • :-D       Big goofy grin
    • [:-)       Wearing a Walkman
    • 8:-)      Glasses on the forehead
    • ?:-z      Clueless person
    • [[]]        A hug
  • Along with emoticons there are certain abbreviations that are used and you may see the following online:
    • AFAIK        As far as I know
    • BTW          By the way
    • BRB           Be right back
    • CUL8R       See you later
    • RTFM        Read the Friendly Manuel
    • IMHO         In my humble opinion
    • LOL           Laughing out loud
    • OIC           Oh, I see
    • ROTFL      Rolling on the floor, laughing

    Now you are up to date on the latest emoticons and abbreviations and are ready to get started with e-mail.  


This page was updated on:  04/10/02