We have almost made it to the end
of the 2012-13 school year and
our introduction to the wealth
of social media tools that are
offered through Gaggle. We got
off to a late start and had to play
some catch up here and there, but overall I would say
that the experience was successful for the students
and most of the faculty. As the Gaggle “cheerleader”
here at James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle
School, I have learned some good lessons that should
help us begin next school year with a powerful start.
Here at the end of the year, students are using their
Gaggle accounts to sign up for Web 2.0
applications, which they will use for end-ofthe-
year projects. They are taking advantage
of the email accounts and using them to
register for the validation process of many
of these apps. They are also collecting email
addresses so that they can keep in contact
over the summer months. I am encouraging
them to keep their Social Walls updated with
pictures and posts so that their friends will
know what they are doing over the summer.
Several students have told me that they will
be maintaining their blogs during the summer break also.
As the year has progressed, what was novel has lost some of its
glamour. The students have grown to think of Gaggle as just one more
of their “everyday” tools to use at school. I see this as a good thing. If
the students have gotten so used to the application, then they must be
using it a lot.
As teachers approach the end of this year, they are busy cleaning up
their classrooms and they will be cleaning up their Gaggle accounts,
too. They will need to clear out any older assignments, emails,
discussion boards, and Wall materials. Knowing that they have Gaggle
for next year, they are being encouraged to start
preparing new information and lessons that can
be used in the new school year. They can have
much of this up and ready for the students on
the first day of school. Also, Gaggle has many
examples of how to incorporate Gaggle into
lessons, including a special group of curricula
based on the Common Core curriculum.
Our teachers will be encouraged to take some
time to examine these and find ways they can incorporate Gaggle
into their lessons for this coming school year. I will be preparing
a mini-tutorial to introduce the 6th-grade students and any new
students to Gaggle when they come to James Weldon Johnson
College Prep Middle School next year. Along with this, there will be a
parent information letter that will be included in the packet of other
information that will be sent to the families during the summer. All of
this is our way of prepping and getting things ready for Gaggle to grow
and bloom once again in 2013-14.
Richard Fair teaches Computer Science at the James Weldon Johnson
College Prep Middle School in Jacksonville, FL.