Tool of the year

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As we close out Friday with only four days of school next week, the 5th graders are running to me an asking about their blogs and their network accounts. But the most frequently asked question is:

“Do we get to have Gaggle next year?”


Gaggle.net has by far been the most disruptive technology that I have introduced to the students this year. Although the e-mail was nice for students to collaborate on projects, the real use came from the Digital Locker. Students came to depend on the digital locker space as a way to transfer files. They all have a USB drive, but found that when you are already on the Internet, or forget your drive device in the classroom that the digital locker was very useful. Kids first complained that it was only 2mb of space but soon found out how to manage their locker and just how small document files are.

Next year as a Middle School Tech teacher one of the first things I’m going to do is sit every 6th grader down and have them sign up for a box.net account . Box.net gives anyone 1GB of free storage on the web. Our school does not allow access to the school network via FTP or any other method outside of school, so to have a place on the web for students to save their work, in my opinion, is critical. The one thing as a tech person that I like is that it takes away the loading of USB drivers on your computer. With all the different USB drives for the different USB storage devices, something always goes wrong.

So even though my kids will be blogging, podcasting and all that other fun stuff. Web storage will be the first thing we tackle. If we expect students to turn in digital copies of their work, then the lest we can do is give them a simple way to carry documents back and forth from home to school. Of course allowing students access to their school accounts at home would be better, but we’re just not there yet.

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.

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