Monday, May 5, 2008

Award-Winning Gaggle.Net: Safe Email for Middle School

NewsBlaze reports that Gaggle.Net, which provides email services to schools, has won the BESSIE Award in the Middle School Category for Best Communication tool. Gaggle.Net was chosen for providing safe email designed specifically for K-12 schools.

ComputED Learning Center, a computer education resource in San Diego, CA, recently selected its 14th Annual Best Educational Software Awards, meant to highlight "innovative and content-rich programs and websites" that promote "educational excellence." There are awards in Early and Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School categories. Gaggle won one of only 2 awards given out for middle-school technology. (Present and past winners can be found at ComputED's website.)

Gaggle has three versions of its email: free, subscription and licensed server. Gaggle lets teachers block spam, review and automatically monitor student emails, block pornographic emails and curse words, and even block students from receiving emails from outsiders. Because it is Web-based, there's nothing to download and students can access their email anywhere, and both the subscription and licensed server versions are ad-free.

Teacher accounts contain tools to monitor and control student email. Teachers can screen any incoming or outgoing email. The monitoring system looks for specific words and sends any emails with those words to the teacher's Blocked folder for review. Email addresses of incoming mail can also be monitored to protect students from spam or interlopers. Teachers can have students sign up or can register them themselves. And any teacher can suspend a student's account or reset his or her username or password.

Gaggle has a Learn More page and a Q&A page for more information. The company is also looking into expanding its safe communication tools for students. Gaggle's About page says the company is working to soon offer new features like:
  • Internet projects that can safely connect teachers and students from around the world
  • Internet homework centers
  • Online video conferences
  • Blogging tools for students and teachers
  • Parent Accounts
  • Student Pod-Casting Tools
SOURCE: "Gaggle.Net Honored With a BESSIE Award" 5/1/08
SOURCE: "About Gaggle.Net" 2008
photo courtesy of gruntzooki, used under this Creative Commons license

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