Introducing your learners to email is absolutely key for their learning journeys. Not only do they have a fast, free tool to communicate with friends and family, but having an email address is needed for internet banking, signing up to social networks and online shopping.
There are a few options they will need to consider, and you can help to guide them through these.
Client versus webmail
If your learners are using a shared computer they will have to use webmail (email accessed via a website), but if they have their own computer they have the choice. ‘Email clients’ are software programs that download emails to the learner’s own computer and are often easier to use because:
• Learners can have a shortcut on their desktop straight to their inbox
• There is no advertising to distract them.
Examples of email clients are MS Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Mozilla’s Thunderbird.
Learners without their own computer will need to learn how to log in each time to access their email via the relevant website. It’s a good idea to set up an account for them prior to the session, otherwise you’ll spend the whole time just doing this.
Popular sources of free webmail accounts are:
• Hotmail (now called Outlook)
Gmail, from Google, is good because it has less advertising, but the way it sorts messages into ‘conversations’ can be confusing for beginners. Change this by going into the settings by clicking the ‘cog’ icon in the top right hand corner and clicking Conversation view off. You can also disable Desktop notifications and the People Widget which can also be confusing. Don’t forget to save the changes at the bottom of the page.
There are guides to Gmail and more email advice on the Digital Unite website.
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Mail is an example of an email client that can be used with any version of Windows and is a free download although it’s usually pre-installed with Windows 7. It is reasonably easy to use and most email accounts can be set up automatically by clicking the Accounts tab and then Email and then just typing in an existing email address and password.
Another email client to consider is Mozilla Thunderbird from the same makers of the Firefox browser.
Email in Windows 8.1
To set up your email in Windows 8.1 using the Mail app, click the Mail tile and then reveal the Charms menu. Left click on Settings and then on Account to add an account.
Before you start to add an account, you will need to know whether it is a POP, IMAP or EAS account. To find out, open your web browser and log in to your email and then look in the settings or account area. The Mail app doesn't work with POP accounts so if that is what you have, you will need to ask your provider for advice. You can add more than one email account if you want to. There is more help on using email in Windows 8.1 here.
• BT email doesn't currently work with this app so learners with these accounts will need to use a different program eg Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird
• For learners who use Yahoo Mail, there is an alternative free app available from the Windows Store.
Windows 8.1 also comes with the ‘People’ app to use as an address book for your contacts. For more information click here.
Email on tablets
Tablets also come with email apps which are set up in a similar way to the Windows Mail app to work with your own email address.
Tip: Teaching email skills to groups If you are teaching email to a group of learners it’s a good idea to set up email accounts for them to practice with prior to the session. Bear in mind though that some webmail providers such as Microsoft set a limit on the number of accounts you can create per day.
Quick activity Q. How much do you know about email?