My Blogging Experience

Gaggle Email

Gaggle email is a safe email program intended for a school setting. With Gaggle, you can block certain applications and settings for your students (words, attachements, colour scheme, blog settings, email addresses, etc). With this email, administrators and teachers can monitor student emails. It can also make emailing easier for teachers. You can create class lists and with one click, send an email to a class without having to key in each email address. There are several other features including message boards, chat rooms, digital locker, blog, profile page, and school directory.

To create a gaggle account, you should visit gaggle.net. Next, you can sign up as a teacher or student on a free or subscribed version. The advantage of the subscribed version is that there are fewer advertisments and extra features. Once you have an account, you can create student user accounts. There are three ways to do this. If you have several students, I would suggest using the third option “creat a user key”.

There are many ways that you can use gaggle email in your classroom. It is a great tool for everyday classroom activities. You can email homework details or have students email you with any questions they may have. If students have partner or group or assignments, they can email or chat with one another. You could also give an assignment using the blog application.

One way I would like to try using gaggle would be to create a class list with another classroom in a different school. You could share with another school in the same community or province or even share with a school or classroom in another country. Maybe you could work on the same assignment together and share ideas or you could chat together using the chat application.

In the Choral 20 curriculum, an objective for students is that they will “understand and appreciate musical expressions from a variety of cultural and historical contexts.” This would be a great opportunity to link my class with another classroom. It could be a classroom in the same country or maybe another part of the world. One thing I would do, is speak with the partnering teacher in advance and discuss a song that both of our choirs could sing. They would need to research the work and find out the cultural and historical contexts in which it was written. After becoming familiar with the song, I would video tape my students (and the partnering teacher would do the same). We would then have our classes watch eachother singing the same piece. From there, I would use gaggle email and chatting for our students to have a discussion about what they heard, and what they learned from one another. How did their culture and experiences influence their interpretation? They will also share what they know about the history and context of the composition.

This activity could be done using regular email, written letters, or even a field trip, but I think that gaggle is much more efficient. As well, it allows for you to view the emails and conversations students are having with one another and monitor any inappropriate behaviour. As well, to grade this assignment, you could grade the email conversations each student is having.

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