How to get alert emails to work from a Mac Server

With LGfL, they are quite strict on what devices on their networks send email.  However, they are happy for you to make use of Google’s SMTP server.

Things like Profile Manager make use of email for inviting users onto the Managed Distribution programme, so I wanted to setup our Mac server to be able to send emails like that.  After a bit of searching, I came across this brilliant explanation of how to send mails from localhost.  And it seems to have done the trick!

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Mail + iTunes

In my music lesson today, we were listening to different songs about the environment (with classics such as Leave them a Flower and 3 Rs) in preparation for making a radio show.  Children worked in pairs on iPads, listening to each track and deciding which ones they liked.

In previous years, I had got children to search for songs on the iTunes Music Store, but with the iPad I instead just emailed a list of iTunes URLs to each iPad.  I was expecting this to open up in the ‘iTunes’ app, but instead it opened up a preview panel within the Mail app and allowed children to listen to a good minute and a half of each song.

Emailing URLs is a very low-fi way of guiding children to different web resources, but it’s remarkably simple and easy!  The only problem is when one child deletes the email, but this is easily fixed by fishing around in the trash.

London Mail made useful!

LGfL (London Grid for Learning) offer a wide variety of services for schools, including a Microsoft-hosted ‘London Mail’ for use by children in schools. This includes features such as ‘safe mail’ where you can control who the user can send and receive email with.

The only problem is that it requires children to remember their USO login details to access it, which is not the most memorable string of letters and numbers in the world. My experience is that email for children is therefore often underused in the classroom.

At our school we’re running a trial classroom with an emphasis on more independent learning. Part of this was to email work to groups of children that they can then access at one of the classroom iMacs. But with email access requiring putting in obscure usernames and passwords and visiting obtuse websites, it never really happened.

Whilst perusing LGfL’s website, I discovered a new section about London Mail where they promised access for smartphones and with Outlook, so I contacted Atomwide and they sent me the login details.

It requires Outlook IMAP access, which can be done natively in Apple’s Mail, and was very easy to sort out. Now one child just has to log onto one of the iMacs and open Mail – easy!

For this interested, here are the server details:

  • username: uso.account@lgflmail.net
  • Incoming hostname: imap.outlook.com
  • Outgoing hostname: amsprd0102.outlook.com