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Gaggle Releases New Online Tools for K-12 Students to Communicate Safely

Posted Jul 12, 2010
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Online communications provider Gaggle has announced a collection of new online collaboration tools for K-12 teachers and students. Gaggle's online learning tools bring students' and teachers' most wanted Web 2.0 abilities to their classrooms in a safe and secure online social learning environment made specifically for K-12, according to the announcement. The new Gaggle Apps tools are designed to help schools safely incorporate real-world innovations in communication such as social networking and YouTube videos into education. The tools help schools meet technology standards such as ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) without compromising security. Gaggle also gives teachers and schools comprehensive behind-the-scenes control while promoting student communication and collaboration. 

With new online tools that incorporate Gaggle's safety screening, students can now safely go online to blog, chat, text, share and store digital documents, post messages, create profiles and view YouTube videos, the announcement states. Another optional layer of security is a 24-hour per day Human Monitoring System that puts monitoring of blocked messages and activities in Gaggle's hands.

The new tools and features include the following:

Gaggle now features a new user interface: With MyGaggle widgets, users can drag and drop to customize the look, content, and tools on their personal interface.

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 the upload and download.

Teachers can implement new Homework Drop Boxes, for students to turn in homework online.  

Gaggle SMS Texting provides safe teacher-to-student mobile texting, with all incoming and outgoing text messages filtered and logged through Gaggle. Users register their mobile phone number to their Gaggle account, so texting occurs without sharing private phone numbers. Individual numbers are protected with only Gaggle's number displayed.

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 a social networking experience, providing profile-based connections with sharing of content, text, and communication. Schools control who can access the walls, and can create groups for classes, teams, clubs, or student support groups.

A Gaggle Integrated Calendar provides users with individual and shared calendars integrated with Gaggle's email and Homework Drop Boxes.

Two new tools give Gaggle users handheld mobility. Gaggle Safe iTouch provides safe text, filtered web browsing, calendar and email for the iPhone and iTouch, integrated with the Gaggle Web desktop. Gaggle Mobile offers a version of Gaggle's desktop web applications such as email, blogs and message boards that can be accessed with mobile phones.

Gaggle Tube 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 level. Teachers can start class discussions with YouTube videos and engage students the way they prefer to learn. Students can use approved videos in blogs, presentations and other online collaborations.

Updated Message Boards, Gaggle Blogs, and live Chat Rooms let students communicate and express themselves. Message Boards support curriculum and extend learning with ongoing classroom discussions. Blogs provide a place where students can share their thoughts, ideas, and creativity in a secure environment. 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.

Gaggle Apps are available now and tightly integrated into the complete Gaggle system. Gaggle offers a comprehensive suite of social and collaborative learning tools and professional development packages. Social and collaborative tools suites are offered in both site and sliding scale subscriber-based programs with subscriber-based packages averaging $4 per user annually.

For information and ordering, visit Gaggle at www.gaggle.net.

Source: Gaggle.Net, Inc., www.gaggle.net


 
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