by Owen S '20 by Winston P '20

BSGE Google Hangouts: Unprofessional?

Email is one of the most common forms of communication, so it should come as no surprise that this school offers its own private Google domain – BSGE mail – where you can talk with anyone in the school (as long as you know their name). It is an efficient and easy way for students to contact peers and teachers. Many students talk with each other almost entirely on Google Hangouts, especially since students in the 8th grade have invited their personal emails and often use video chat. According to technology teacher Mr. Shantanu Saha, “everyone in 8th grade has used their Hangouts in the last week or so.” Hangouts is a place where we can all contact each other, discuss our interests, and just, literally, hang out.

Recently, there was some panic after Shantanu apparently investigated the 8th grade Hangouts. Many students were scared, because BSGE mail was a place where they felt like they could behave as freely as they do on any other social media website. However, after some teachers were apparently logged into their BSGE mails on certain Hangouts, and Shantanu went into every single Hangout and turned on history, most 8th graders were scared into behaving more conservatively on Hangouts. Of course, many students now have forgotten that Shantanu can see the Hangouts, or just don’t care. It forced us to reconsider how we use our BSGE emails versus our personal emails.

However, it hasn’t deterred many students from using BSGE email. In a recent survey, 8th graders were asked how often they use their BSGE mails, and the answers were all either weekly or daily, and that they used many of the services that Google offers, including Hangouts and Drive. BSGE mail is a good place to keep school-related documents, because we can easily access the files and share them with peers and teachers. 50% of the people said they behaved more formally on BSGE email, but the other half claimed to use the domain primarily for other Google services. There are some people who use their BSGE account as they would a personal email, and some who use it with more discretion.

In conclusion, BSGE mail is a very convenient way of communication, where you can contact teachers and students without needing to ask them for their email. However, it encourages unsupervised conversations that teachers would not allow in school. At the end of the day, there appears to be a miscommunication between those who created the BSGE domain and those who use it. Intended to be a work email, students treat it like the best method of communication with friends.

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