Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sometimes it's the little things - Canned Responses in Gmail

I get it. We live in a time when people want information when they want it, on their terms, and that fits their timelines and needs. As the Director of Technology for my district, when I share something new with our faculty, it may not be needed by everyone at that time. It may eventually be helpful at a later date, however, and I certainly can't expect our faculty to archive and index every email I send them. So, what to do? This year, one new thing we started was a faculty tutorials Google site that we use to archive every tutorial, screencast, and other training materials that gets produced by a variety of technology leaders in the district. This provides a phenomenal repository of resources that teachers can peruse to find something specific or to just see what's new. It also makes it very easy for me to respond to an email inquiry by just sharing a link to a section of the tutorials site. While this has been tremendously beneficial, it doesn't help in every situation. There are times when a more personal touch is needed or when someone asks me a question that does not have a tutorial as an answer. This is where canned responses in Gmail comes in very handy. Instead of storing information in a variety of files that would require me to find, open, copy, and then paste the information into my current email, I can keep everything I need right where I need it... in my inbox. A couple examples of how I use canned responses include storing the details about our Dell employee purchase program and the details of the resolution to a common SlideRocket account problem. Both of these are randomly needed a few times every year. Storing them as canned responses that can be added to any email has been extremely helpful and a big time saver for me.  Canned responses are even great to just store those phrases and sentences I find myself using over and over.  Yep, sometimes it's the little things that make me happy. If you'd like to learn a little more about setting up and using canned responses, please watch the SlideRocket presentation below.