Company: Gaggle.Net, Inc., P.O. Box 1352, Bloomington, IL 61702, (800) 288-7750, https://www.gaggle.net
Price: Gaggle’s social and collaborative tool suites are offered in both site-based and sliding-scale subscriber-based programs, with subscriber-based packages averaging $4 per user annually.
Audience: Gaggle is aimed at K–12 education, including teachers and students.
Format: Gaggle is a cloud-based service that runs on Mac and Windows computers consisting of apps integrated into the complete Gaggle system.
System Requirements: Gaggle’s cloud-based service is for both Mac and Windows computers and Linux platforms. It requires internet access and is optimized for Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Mozilla’s Firefox 3.0+, and Safari 4.0+.
Description: Gaggle online tools are used by K–12 students to communicate safely using Web 2.0 technologies, providing a secure online social learning environment made specifically for schools. Gaggle Apps are tightly integrated into the complete Gaggle system.
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|Overall Rating:||4 Stars|
|Ease of Use:||A|
Installation: Implementation of Gaggle, from contract to rollout of accounts, can be accomplished in as little as 5–7 business days and requires regular contact between Gaggle’s account representative and the district’s designated contact person. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Gaggle has launched 10 safe, new tools and recently updated other features, including the addition of an inviting, all-new user interface. With MyGaggle widgets, users can drag and drop to easily customize the look, content, and tools on their personal interfaces, increasing student enjoyment and buy-in.
Gaggle’s online Digital Lockers help schools go green and save money on costly digital storage and paper. The Digital Lockers also protect school networks from viruses, as all files are scanned on both upload and download.
Teachers can implement new Homework Drop Boxes, for students to turn in homework online. With Homework Drop Boxes, students can submit assignments anywhere, anytime.
Gaggle SMS Texting provides safe teacher-to-student mobile texting, with all incoming and outgoing text messages filtered and logged through Gaggle. Gaggle Office provides filtered, online Zoho Docs and Spreadsheets that enable multi-user collaboration in word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets.
The Gaggle Social Learning Wall is similar to popular social networking sites, providing profile-based connections with sharing of content, text, and communication. Schools control who can access the walls; they can also create groups for classes, teams, clubs, or student support groups.
Two new tools give Gaggle users handheld mobility. One, Gaggle Safe iTouch, provides safe text, filtered web browsing, a calendar, and email for the iPhone and iPod touch, integrated with the Gaggle web desktop.
The other mobile tool, GaggleTube, provides access for schools to the rich educational resources on YouTube, even while direct access to YouTube.com is blocked. All YouTube access is logged, filtered, and monitored by Gaggle and can be controlled at the teacher and student levels.
Updated Message Boards, Gaggle Blogs, and live Chat Rooms let students communicate and express themselves. Teacher blogs can be shared with parents for easy home-school communication. Chats offer live communication for discussions during classes or after school. Teachers can create rooms restricted to specific students and classes, with all of Gaggle’s filtering in place. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Gaggle is a complicated collection of technologies but, with the ample help available and some work, is easy to use. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Gaggle provides quick and responsive personal attention to customer questions and needs. Customer support is available by phone (800) 288-7750, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: Gaggle works very well for safe implementation of Web 2.0 social media technologies. Recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe (email@example.com) is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Hastings, Mich. For the past 12 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.