Magazine article Technology & Learning

Product: Gaggle Apps

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Product: Gaggle Apps

Article excerpt

Web * Retail Price: $3.75-6/account

Gaggle Apps is a suite of online software that gives students access to powerful communication and communication programs along with filters and monitoring options designed specifically for the classroom. Most of the Apps mimic other useful resources that are available online. Students can create email accounts, make blog posts, and keep up with school friends on a social-networking "wall." Other Apps have more school-specific functions, such as "digital lockers" for uploading files, drop boxes for homework assignments, and a phone-texting service specifically for students and teachers. These services are integrated into a student's account, and teachers, administrators, and even parents can monitor all activity on these accounts.

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EASE OF USE: Gaggle Apps provide users with a highly intuitive interface that should be easily accessible to nearly all students and teachers. A list of apps is provided in a toolbar on the left side of the screen, and individual apps are opened in "tabs" similar to those commonly used in Web browsers. This makes simultaneously navigating among a multitude of Gaggle Apps a simple process. Visually, the interface is fairly bare-bones, lacking the sleek veneer of some popular social networks. Still, the interface is easy to navigate and never distracting or confusing. The company offers more than four hours of tutorial videos, ranging from instructions on managing accounts as an administrator to setting up an email account for a student or a teacher.

CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY: While many of Gaggle's individual components (calendars, word processors, email, etc.) are available elsewhere on the Web, Gaggle Apps' real utility lies in its classroom-security and filtering functions. Gaggle Apps centralizes external sites for email, social networking, and blogging into a single, easily monitored service. …

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