Gaggle Long Review
2/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
When we launched Gaggle at James
Weldon Johnson (JWJ), the
timing was not exactly the most
opportune. We were right in the
middle of benchmark testing, the
Thanksgiving break, the winter
break, and semester exams. The students were able to
dive right in because they were already well acquainted
with social media. Now our challenge was finding the
time and innovative ways to engage the faculty in using
Gaggle, both for social media and as an educational
tool. Gaggle allows teachers to use readily available
technology to communicate with their students,
organize their classes, and maximize instructional time.
It also helps students learn how to communicate in
a more professional manner while
encouraging them to use technology
and helping them learn invaluable
21st-century skills for the future.
Many of our faculty members
expressed interest in learning more
about Gaggle and learning how to
make optimal use of its functions. I
offered a series of mini-workshops
on how to use Gaggle both in and out
of the classroom. These workshops
were scheduled after school and
lasted approximately 30–45 minutes
(depending on the participants).
Each session focused on one particular area, such as how to use
the Mark it Up! function, setting up discussion boards, or assigning
and collecting work through the assignment drop box. As an
added incentive, I also advocated for the participants to receive
professional development credit for their participation.
My goal for the sessions was to demonstrate actual lessons
from a variety of subjects and show how Gaggle can be used to
enhance and enrich the work for both the
teacher and the student. For example, a
social studies teacher could set up a chat
room and a discussion board designed
around the President’s State of the Union
address. While the students are watching
at home, they can also participate in a chat
room discussion while the teacher discusses
the President’s speech and the audience’s
reaction. The discussion board could also
provide a platform for higher level questions
for the students to add commentary and create discussions.
These virtual communities could also provide ample material for
class discussions and other relevant course work. Since JWJ is a
BYOD school, Gaggle opens up many more creative and diverse
opportunities for our students to work and learn. As the Common
Core curriculum is more fully implemented, tools like Gaggle
will give us many valuable educational avenues to explore and
document what we are doing for our students.
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