Monday, September 22, 2014

Gaggle Student Email 2014

Creighton School District has been using the Gaggle ( student email and communication system for many, many years. We were actually one of the first adopters of the system in Arizona!

Because of the security features it is a great way for students and teachers to communicate in a safe, friendly environment. Many wonder why it is called Gaggle. On their website, company president, Jeff Patterson, states that is an "easy way for teachers to watch over their gaggle of students." It is great for us because we know that any inappropriate messages and communications are blocked by their system and the teacher/administrator is notified. They filter for inappropriate words, images, and cyberbullying content. The programs is very effective.

Over the past few weeks I have visiting in our 1:1 iPad classrooms to help teachers and students set up Gaggle on the iPads. We are using the Gaggle app but we also like to set up Gaggle through the Mail app on the iPads as it is an easy way for students to send completed projects from inside an app to their teachers - especially for our younger users.

Students love being able to communicate with both their teachers and other students.

 In this class we went a little above and beyond the traditional email set-up - partly because of questions and comments from students. They really wanted to know more, like how to customize their email signature. So the teacher and I walked them through the process.

We also shared with them many of the other features in the Gaggle app - blogs, discussions, digital lockers, and so on. When the students first logged in on the app, they were presented with the Gaggle Cyber-Safety course. Completing that course was one of their first steps in becoming good digital citizens. Here's mine from a couple of years ago. Always good for students to know that their teachers are cyber-smart too!

The teacher even set up a class discussion question based on something they have been working on and each student had an opportunity post a comment of their own as well as comment on the posts of their classmates.

Gaggle also has a Human Monitoring Service that instantly alerts our district Gaggle administrators to any imminent dangers to our students. This along with the blocking features has really helped us protect our students and provide interventions when necessary. What a great way to for our students to learn to communicate and develop 21st century skills in a safe environment!

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