Sorry about the alliteration….
I’ve been the proud owner of an iPhone for about a year. I recently added the iPad to my tech arsenal and I’m almost ready to cut the cord and leave my laptop behind. This is a big deal, as I seldom go anywhere during the work day without my laptop – it even goes on vacation with me. Now that I’m getting used to my iThings, I’ve discovered a number of great tools available for on this platform that can help our members, including an app that many of you can use to make reading and answering email messages easier.
More and more of our communications are happening via email. Parents find it easier than calling, and it helps our busy schedules by allowing us to respond to messages on our own schedules when we have a spare moment.
Many of the K-12 schools in New York State rely one of the twelve Regional Information Centers (RICs) for their email. This typically means you are running GroupWise email software, and most RICs have installed WebAccess, software that allows you to check your email from any Internet connected computer through a web browser. Since your iPhone is also a web browser, you may have already tried to get to your email this way.
It’s not easy to use the smaller browser, and some find it very frustrating. A software company called Ghost Pattern Software (www.ghostpattern.com) has written several iPhone applications that allow a much easier method of accessing your GroupWise based email account. I use their software on both my iPad and iPhone, and it works on an iTouch, too.
To download their software, use the App Store icon on your iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad) and search on “GW Mail” . You will see a free “lite” version (GW Lite) and a more featured version called GW Mail that sells for $5.99. You can download either one of these and start reading and responding to your GroupWise emails.
To setup your account, you need to know the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your mail system. Typically it is http://some domain name/gw/webacc. For example, staff at my local school district is https://webmail.XXXXk12.org/gw/webacc (I used XXXX to mask the actual address for security reasons). You can check your address by accessing your email on your computer and noting the URL shown in your browser.
After you jot down the URL for web access to your email, configure GW Lite or GW Mail by entering this info along with your username and password. Now you can check email messages without a computer by using your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch. You are now free from your computer and can read and compose email messages whenever and wherever you carry your device.
Head to blogs.nysut.org/tech/ for a posting that includes lots of other great tools you can use in your classroom, school, or workplace. I’ll be adding applications I discover that can help our members and I’m asking you to share your experiences and ideas about software that helps you in your work. Don’t despair Droid users, buck up Blackberry buyers, and wait a while Windows workers: I’ll be adding links to all these platforms, too! (sorry)