What free platform (Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook) would you recommend for school personnel to communicate and share with each other and why?

Joe Videtto May 7, 2012
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Hi all,

Our school (teachers and administration) would like to share documents and discuss educational topics with each other.

For such an application – which free service would you recommend – Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, or some other free service, and what are the pros and cons of each ?

Also – would the answer change for teacher –> student communication ?

Thanks in advance,

  1. salim benhouhou
    September 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    i would recommend gmail .
    because it's free .

  2. fatihamzah
    August 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Is it likes Skype?, easy to use and great for discussion forum

  3. Dylan Brendan
    July 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I would highly recommend Gmail, it has loads of storage and is rated higher than any other email and messaging program.

  4. Stephanie w
    July 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I agree with what has been said by Bruce about Google Docs, etc. However, keep in mind that Gmail may be easier to use with outlook, and Dropbox can work just as well as SkyDrive, if not better. The shared folders function would probably be very useful for you, for a start.

    I do not recommend using Facebook, as it would be hard to ensure that every teacher takes adequate precautions to prevent the wrong information from becoming publicly viewable.

  5. Shane La Horie
    July 10, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I would recommed Hotmail since you can share emails via hotmail, you can share file via skydrive or you can chat live via msn and best of all its free and evertthing is integrated. Also if u use MS Office its easily integrated with hotmail and skydrive.

  6. ShabbyChic
    June 23, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Have you ever tried http://www.emaildodo.com ?

    These are taken from About page of emaildodo:
    Worlds leading simple and free eMail Group service.
    Experience the ease and fun of using emailgroups with your friends, team, class, club or colleagues. Just follow the Dodo.

    With eMailDodo you can create and administer your email group in the cloud.
    All members in the group can use the same single email address from anywhere on any pc or mobile.

    It's easy to remember.
    Never again worry about misspelling an address or accidentally leaving somebody out of an email. You can send eMails, SMS Text Messages, and Questions Polls.

    I have no affiliate with them and sorry if this posting is not answer your question.

    Just my 2 cents

  7. Sachin Kanchan
    May 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    i would recommend google

    with gmail providing you facilities for mailing obviously and this is what the google giant is perfect at..

    then it offers Google drive for online storage and sharing

    and then there's google plus along for community or socialism...

    other services are


  8. GamerJunkdotNet
    May 12, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Facebook with a school group. It allows sharing files as well as great communication tools.

    • Joe Videtto
      May 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

      As. Mr. Knop agrees - it's got too much bad press, and is too associated with relationships that should not exist between students and teachers. Of course, what people don't realize is the exact same, inappropriate relationships can exist on other websites.

      • Aditya Roy
        July 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        The problem with using facebook is, that one would log-in to discuss 'educational topics' but will end up wasting a lot of time.
        I know it can happen on other websites as well, but is more likely to happen on facebook.

  9. S Knop
    May 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I am a google fan... BUT I have used and abused the other free services before I made my final decision. We now have 25 people trying to break all of google's features to the best of their ability. From my research, I believe that the google teams are putting in long hours and burning many brain cells to facilitate a seamless, yet fully controllable platform for a wide range of uses. I use google+ in my company and with very little one-on-one instruction, each user was able to find answers and directions in faster than average time considering it was a total game change, mid flight and without shutting down any communication routes. In other words, it couldn't have went any smoother. Additionally I believe that the user interface actually draws people in to see what other options may make their day more productive. It's getting better by the week. We've been live for 6 or 7 weeks and I have not heard ANY complaints. No compliments either... par for the course.

    Pluses include; replacing "Docs" with google drive, ability to leave documents in native form or convert to google's flavor, highly selectable audience/participants with detailed user rights, works great with Chrome (as it should) - I left Firefox without looking back. Gmail, Calendar, Gvoice, Google Docs... these alone are enough of a reason to commit. They work together seamlessly and (almost) flawlessly. Then add in the Android factor for your smartphone and I think you have a system that 15 years ago would cost $1,200 to $2,000 per seat depending on preferences. No additional hardware is required and forget about licence fees. It's a great time we live in! (side note, I do use Carbonite for my personal back up on "the cloud"... 2nd year and 2 complete re-installs onto new computers and I have NO REGRETS. It automatically makes changes as you do, in near real time if you wish. And it keeps 5 (I think) revisions at all times.) Good Luck with your decision. BTW, I wouldn't let facebook even be spoken out loud in a school setting. Students aren't your friends, they're your students. I wish it didn't have to be like that since I have 2 daughters 13 and 17. I liked the "good ole' days when our teachers would baby sit for us and come over for meals, etc. Nothing has changed with teachers.... just a few high profile cases and way too many lawyers tend to give everybody the feeling that it happens it every classroom. Come on... a teacher can't give my daughter a hug after she busted her butt to get an A on a huge project? P.C. = hysteria!

  10. marsbars06
    May 8, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Hi there,

    I would DEFINITELY use either Dropbox (Dropbox.com) or Google Drive. Both of these services are file storage and backup systems for any files.

    With Dropbox, you place a file (document for example) in your Dropbox folder on your computer. This file then syncs automatically to the 'cloud'. Now you can access this file on any computer or mobile device. You can then share this file with Dropbox's sharing feature so that other people have access to this file and can edit it when they please. This is a very good solution.

    Google Drive is very similar to Dropbox in the way it works. You add files to your Google Drive folder and then they upload to the cloud. The one benefit Google Drive has over Dropbox is that it has Google Docs, and online document service. You could make a Google Document and then share that with others and they can edit it online and make comments etc.

    Google Drive seems like a slightly better option to me as it is in a web browser and avoids confusion. Have a look at drive.google.com and try it out, it's free ;)

    Thanks and I hope this has solved your problem!

    • Harshit Jain
      September 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      But you cannot ignore Skydrive's integration in ms office 15 and windows 8 and with outlook.com

  11. Bruce Epper
    May 8, 2012 at 2:30 am

    If you already use MS Office for documents, Hotmail would be the better choice since Google Docs has a habit of altering formatting of MS documents when uploaded or stored on their system. Also, the locally installed MS Office applications can directly access files stored on SkyDrive.

    Here is a comparison of the online storage options from the major providers: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/skydrive/compare

    Both Google Drive & SkyDrive allow the use of their Office Web Apps for online collaboration. They also allow you to specify any email address for collaborators.

    Based on some of the recent stories in the news, using Facebook for teacher/student communication should not even be considered.

    • Joe Videtto
      May 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Yes - I've experienced the difficulty in loading some of my Word Documents with table formatting to Google Docs - to me, it was not worth the effort of changing them (then I would think there's probably away around that if I save my Word docs in .rtf or hyperlink before importing them to Google Docs.)

      So the trouble in uploading MS Word files to Google Docs prompted me to try the latest edition of MS Office, which now has Skydrive (as good to me as Google's or Dropbox's file storage service). I downloaded the trial versions of MS Office 10, and was quite pleased with the ease in saving existing Word Docs to the Skydrive cloud with no extra effort. The competition of these companies is really giving us some amazing free services - you just can't go wrong with either pick.

      Apple, another company that myself and the whole world admires, has not really provided (in my opinion) similar document/spreadsheet/file storage/email services that could be used so easily from multiple platforms. I wonder if they'll ever compete with Google and Microsoft in this area.

      • Bruce Epper
        May 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        I don't think Apple feels any pressure to compete in this arena in the same way. Their iCloud service works with Macs and the iDevice ecosystems but they do not seem to be too concerned with pushing into Linux or Windows. The only exception is iTunes on Windows systems as far as supporting their mobile devices and the sales through iTunes of entertainment services. Real work in those environments does not seem to concern the folks in Cupertino.

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