Safely Enhancing Student Learning with Online Learning Tools
While Duyen Blanton, IT Director at Sabine Pass ISD in Texas, knew that Gaggle did email, she didn’t realize Gaggle did so much more. When she started looking for new options for the district’s cloud storage solution, she was surprised to find that Gaggle’s storage solution was up to the challenge.
“With Gaggle, we get cloud storage – a generous 7 gigabytes per account – but we also get so much more. After making the change, we are paying less for our storage and getting a wide array of extra features for our teachers and students to use,” commented Blanton.
As they are just getting started with Gaggle, she is excited to roll out the various Gaggle tools to her teachers and students. She believes that having an instant messaging service is going to be very popular with the teachers. She also loves that Gaggle gives her control over the service, so that she can restrict student accounts: at Sabine Pass, students will be able to IM instructors only, thanks to the controls available in Gaggle.
“I wasn’t sure how to make the restriction, so I just called Gaggle. Gaggle technical support is excellent. You get a real person on the phone after a few rings. And if they can’t immediately solve my problem, they will call back with the solution! I can’t tell you how nice it is to be speaking with someone rather than pushing buttons and hoping to get through endless phone menus.”
Blanton has been reading the Gaggler for some time and looks forward to sharing columns like Curriculum Corner with her teachers. She knows that getting them excited about Gaggle will result in them really using Gaggle. Blanton has a secret weapon in her Gaggle deployment. One of her teachers spent the summer using Gaggle and her enthusiasm for the product has, of course, carried on into the school year. She has taken on doing training for the faculty. Blanton and her secret weapon are planning short Gaggle training lessons during faculty meetings throughout the rest of the year.
Even just a week or two in, teachers are finding unexpected benefits.
“I block YouTube in our ISD and there have been a few teachers who regretted they couldn’t show YouTube videos in the classroom. Now, I can just tell them to find things in GaggleTube. Already Gaggle – brought in simply as a storage solution – is helping create a more dynamic learning environment for our students.”
While they are currently deploying to grades 6-12, Blanton is excited about what can be accomplished this first year. She believes that being able to access materials through the Digital Locker, as well as having access to a word processing program, will be a huge help to students this school year.
“Now students don’t have to have Office at home to do their homework. They can use the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tools within Gaggle. We’re paying for safe, affordable file storage and our teachers and students are getting tools that will enhance learning, just as part of the package. I’m delighted we are now using Gaggle,” added Blanton.