Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CPS First Class | Online Services

The CPS First Class online services, is a Chicago Public School service page, which is used for email and collaboration services for all Chicago Public schools. It is used by teachers, school staff, and students, as a form of electronic communication among all public schools in the area. It allows for teachers to exchange ideas, learning and teaching styles, and engage with other teachers across the Chicago area. For students, it allows them to engage with classmates, and with other public school students in Chicago, and send email messages to each other. It is also a great way for students to email a teacher or school personnel, and get answers to questions on homework or a class assignment, even when they are at home.

First Class offers more than just email messaging, it is an electronic communication tool used to enhance collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing in an online environment. It safely connects students, teachers, and administrators, and allows them to share messages, ideas, and ask questions, from any electronic computer, not only in the classroom. Some features of First class are: email, moderated instant chat messages, online calendars, file storage, document sharing, contact management, workgroup collaboration for teachers, and many other features (depending on whether you are a student, teacher, or administrator).

First class can be used by any student from grades 5-8 (middle school), and high school students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff, all throughout the Chicago public schooling system. The email addresses will be in the format of, allowing the username to be created by each individual person (the same as the CPSMail username). To log onto First Class, there is a first class icon which is located on the desktop, and if you are trying to get on from home, you can place this icon on your home computer as well. It runs on a portal format, allowing to connect to several different links, and choose from many features, depending on what you are looking to do on the First class system. If used at home, it must be downloaded from, or accessing the portal page.

If teachers and staff need training, these services are also offered, and students can be trained as well on the uses which they have. As far as the uses available: teachers and administrators have full access to everything (email, workspaces, conferences, instant messaging, publishing blogging, file storage, podcasting, etc). For grades 5- students they are limited to email, conferences, file storage, creating documents, and calendars. For high school students, they have access to the same as grades 5-8, but can also use an external email to communicate.

The system is a great resource for all Chicago Public Schools. It offers a new learning environment, allows teachers from all schools to share and bounce ideas back and forth, allows students to engage in conversation with other kids not in their school, and offers a great interactive community for all users. It is easy to learn, and a great new teaching and learning method for Chicago Public Schools.

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