Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Gaggle of Reasons

I think my favorite online tool has to be Yahoo Messenger. I like to type and it keeps me in touch with my friends. I can quickly send a question 400 miles or more away, keep in touch with my Aussie ePal, or just say hello to someone down the street. It also keeps me connected to people I would be disconnected from otherwise.

So tonight I am on Messenger with about 4 other people at once (and also on Google's little messenger with one with Cheryl) and Tom says, "Hey Gaggle has blogs now." If you know me, you know that I am now on that tangent and checking it out.

I like the fact that they are still dedicated to giving schools free accounts and that schools must sign up and be verified before accounts are given out. You can purchase the accounts (and move students between schools) if you want a more robust program or even have it downloaded on your server to use. You and your tech team would have to decide which is best for you. Now, if your school says no to paying for it, go for the free vesion and prove that it would be used.

It's safe email. Email is a tool used in almost every business I know of. My dad was a regular employee at a paper plant and he had email for work that they were required to use. We're in the business of preparing our students for the future. There you go - future, career related purpose.

I also like the fact that you get storage space if you purchase the accounts. While 50MB doesn't seem like a lot, it's a good start. No need to carry a bunch of disks or even memory sticks with you, just upload it to your storage space.

But the blog feature! Woo Hoo! I am laughing at these jokes by Gaggler Cecelia. There's no place to leave a comment, but that's okay. She's writing and communicating with her peers across the country! You can even translate from English to Spanish. I can't speak or read spanish, so I can't check it out to see how accurate the translation is, but that's a nice feature to have - especially in areas with large populations of English as a Second Language members.

I read another blog, one by a teacher. Her assignment was to think of what superhero she'd like to be. Okay, I have a confession to make. I don't normally watch reality tv, but I did follow "Who Wants to be a Superhero." I was voting for Fat Momma personally. I even thought abotu entering their next round. I already know my character. Anyway, I loved her questions.

You can also check out the profile of the blogger. Not too bad. I don't like that it gives you the school and the email, but with their very safe filtering system -it's probably okay.

So go Gaggle a bit if you're still trying to convince your school that you NEED these tools.


Steve said...

That's a great tip. I think email is often the way that schools start to allow theirs students a bit of online freedom because it's familiar to people. Many people still have never blogged or used IM, but almost every parent is familiar with email. So Gaggle is a natural starting place for schools to get on board. Offering blogging as well would probably set a lot of district's minds at ease since Gaggle is well known for being a safe learning environment.

Thanks for sharing! Loving the blog :)

Mithrass said...

Finished setting up my gaggle accounts last night. I have to comment that the interface to import names, if you download the tool for it, makes it VERY easy to do. I thought my kids were going to fall out of their seats with excitement when I told them yesterday that their accounts were set up and just waiting on parental approval to begin using them.

Tom Turner
Founding Member of AOTE!