Gaggle Long Review: Gaggle is Budding

3/31/2013 9:55:00 PM
by Richard Fair
James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle School
Jacksonville, FL



Gaggle has taken root and is growing here at James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle School. As spring approaches, we are very busy getting our students ready for state testing (FCAT) and so much of the students’ and faculty’s time is being spent on last minute preparations. Part of these tests is done online so the time students have spent with Gaggle has been good background for this preparation. Since spring break occurs at the end of March, we especially don’t want students to zero down during the break. I am sending out a reminder to all the faculty that a good way of helping students over the break is to send them reminders and reviews through Gaggle.

I have been using the Gaggle Discussion Boards to start some out of class topics that we will be bringing into the classroom for further development during the next quarter. This is a way of getting my students to start thinking about real world situations and see how other class members feel about the same topics. During the last quarter, I like to use a form of challenge-based or problem-based learning in which the students will use the skills they have been learning in their Applications class to explore and decide on a possible way to solve real world situations. These situations or problems range from sustaining the environment to developing a Brain Users Guide based on the work of Dr. Judy Willis and others.

Another positive about our Gaggle adventure is that students are actively using their email accounts. In class, when we need to register for Web 2.0 tools, they can use their accounts without worry of compromising their home accounts. Also, many of them automatically use their email accounts to communicate with their teachers. I know that I have had to be sure to check my account on a daily basis because students will send me email there rather than my school account. I have also found that many students are taking advantage of the blogging tools to maintain a presence in the Gaggle Blogosphere. Some have some very thoughtful things to say and receive comments in the same thoughtful manner.

One of the very favorite Gaggle tools among students and faculty is the Gaggle Tube Videos. When I have pointed out to faculty members that there is an abundance of videos already catalogued according to subject or discipline, they were surprised, but later came back excited because they were able to find things that would complement what was being done in their class. These videos are also great to differentiate class work for students who may need the reinforcement of a visual aid that they can watch repeatedly for review or practice.

I am looking forward to what we, as a faculty, can do once the pressures of state-mandated testing is over and we can be more creative with our lesson plans during the final quarter of the year. I am planning to really push including Gaggle in those plans on a weekly (or daily) basis. The teachers who have been able to really explore it and use it have done so with excitement and creativity. There is no reason why the rest of the faculty can’t learn to do so also.

Richard Fair teaches computer science at the James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School in Jacksonville, FL.

comments powered by Disqus
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...