Time 1.3 hrs

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites Desktop Basics
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Ross Parker
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


Email is over 50 years old, yet it is still a fundamental Internet technology. In this unit you'll learn more about using email effectively.


This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC


What is needed to run this unit?
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Cross-Curricular Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
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Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.
  • Gmail icon copyright Google, used under fair use

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5 mins
What Is Email
Getting Started
  • Although it is hard to say what the first email was, or when it was sent, Ray Tomlinson is generally credited with inventing email in 1971. That makes email over 50 years old!
  • Despite its age, email is still a fundamental Internet technology, used by individuals, corporations, schools and governments.
  • In this unit you'll learn more about using email effectively.
10 mins
ICHK Gmail
  • One reason email is so popular is that anyone can run an email server, and so there is a lot of choice in where and how to setup your own email account.
  • At ICHK we use Google Mail, or Gmail, as part of our Google Workspace domain.

  • Back in the early 2000s, Gmail amazed Internet users by giving everyone 1GB (gigabyte) of storage space for free. At the time, 50MB (megabytes) seemed generous, and so Google's offer was mind blowing.
  • Over time, Gmail has added many useful email features, such as threaded conversations, that we take for granted today.

  • Take some time now to access your school Google Account, and the use the  "Rubik's Cube icon" at the top right to access Gmail:

15 mins
Email Etiquette
Composing Email
  • Writing emails is easy...but writing good emails is tricky.
  • In terms of formality, email is somewhere between a text (yowhatsup!) and a letter (Dear Madame), but the exact level of formality will depend on who you are emailing (audience) and why (purpose).
  • Consider the following ideas when writing an email, especially when it is the first email in a thread:
    • Choose a sensible subject line.
    • Start with a greeting or salutation.
    • Write in full sentences, using formal grammar, capitalisation and spelling.
    • End with a friendly sign off.
  • By way of an example, consider the following two emails:

Subject: Change of Class

Dear Professor Ross,

I hope this email finds you well. Recently I chose my GCSE options in Gibbon, and whilst I was initially happy with my choice of Herbology, I now think it would be better to take Defense Against The Dark Arts.

Is it possible for you to make this change for me?


Hermione Granger

Subject: [no subject]

can u change my gcse options from herbology to defense against the dark arts? Ron

5 mins
To, Cc & Bcc

  • When we send an email, we list the main recipients in the To field.
  • The Cc (carbon copy) field can be used to list any additional recipients to whom you wish to copy the email.
  • The Bcc (blind carbon copy) is just like Cc, except that other recipients cannot see the Bcc list, and so can be used for discreet sending.

15 mins
Managing Email
Inbox Overflow
  • If not looked after, your email Inbox will quickly grow chaotic.
  • Here are some tips for managing your inbox:
    • Check your email every day or two.
    • Immediately delete any messages that are not relevant to you, such as spam and unwanted notifications. Consider unsubscribing from bulk emails in order to save time.
    • Read any urgent messages, and when you are done with them, place them in a folder called Done:


    • If you are not done with the message, mark it as Unread, and leave it in your inbox, so that you are reminded to come back to it later.


    • Try and keep your inbox to less than one screen in length (e.g. less than 20 or so messages).
Extra Features
  • Email has some pretty cool extra features, which you might want to play with:
    • Unsending emails - in case you make a mistake
    • Filters - to automatically deal with certain emails
    • Templates - to avoid typing the same things over and over
    • Signatures - to add something personal to the end of every message
    • Auto-responders - to let people know that you are on holidays
  • In Gmail, a lot of these features can be found under Settings:

30 mins
Finishing Up
  • To finish up this unit, do the following:
    • Get your inbox organised and neat, using the method describe above.
    • Take a screenshot of your inbox
    • Compose a polite email to your Free Learning teachers, following the guidelines above, and use this to share your screenshot and any new things you've learned in this unit.
    • Cc your form tutor in the email so that they can see what you've been up to.
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