An Interview with Rob Yoegel, VP of Marketing, Gaggle

Mar 9, 2016 by

 

gaggle

1) First of all, what exactly is Gaggle and what are you trying to accomplish?

Gaggle is all about safety, more specifically student online safety. For more than 15 years, we’ve been working with schools and districts to help them create safe digital learning environments. We provide early warning detection of self-harm, drug or alcohol use, cyberbullying, pornography, harmful family situations and much more that is found in email, files shared in Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, links, attachments, etc. We do this by combining technology, such as our Anti-Pornography Scanner and customizable Blocked Words List, with our expert Student Safety Representatives, who review content 24/7 to assure students are safe.

2) Who started it, and why is it important?

The company was founded by our CEO, Jeff Patterson. Gaggle’s early days centered around safe student email. As technology has changed, so has our company. While we still provide email as part of a Safe Learning Management System (LMS), we now also enhance the safety of educational tools such as Google Apps for Education and Office 365. In addition, we provide affordable School & District Websites with built-in Reputation Management, which uses the same technology found in Gaggle Safety Management to assure school and district websites are safe from hackers and malicious use. Our product suite also includes a cloud-based archiving and backup solution to help schools and districts meet requirements of eDiscovery and state and federal Open Records laws.

3) We are all concerned about hackers and private, confidential information. What is Gaggle’s role?

That’s exactly why we created Reputation Management. Websites get hacked every week, if not every day. Take a look at this web page for some recent stories: http://schoolwebsites.gaggle.net/reputation-management/. Whether it’s a disgruntled teacher, an ingenious student, or even a terrorist hack, a school, a district and an employee should protect its valuable reputation.

Regarding data privacy, Gaggle was one of the original signatories of the Student Privacy Pledge, endorsed by President Obama, and Gaggle is the only edtech company to successfully conduct a Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2 audit/examination. We also maintain a clear and transparent Student Data Privacy Notice on our website.

4) I noticed you have something on Professional Development. Why have you chosen this topic – and what other topics have you covered?

Too often, technology is purchased for a district, school or even a classroom and doesn’t get used. Plenty of teachers tell stories regarding some of the training sessions they’ve been forced to participate in, only to learn nothing. Many schools and districts approach training the wrong way by cramming too much content into sessions that are too short. Class sizes often are too big and very seldom is there any follow-up.

Professional development and training providers have a responsibility to help the school and district succeed. Obtaining the correct certifications and tailoring training to the particular needs of a district, school, and classroom must be a priority. That’s why we provide our trainers the resources they need to not only be Gaggle product experts, but to become Google Certified Educators and Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and have them tailor every session according to the audience’s needs.

5) Can teachers request that specific topics be addressed?

Yes, we customize our professional development and training for the specific needs of a district or school.

6) How does the average teacher keep up with the changes in technology and new advances? Do you have anything to do with that?

That’s exactly the point of ongoing professional development. So, yes, we have something to do with teachers keeping up with changes in technology. Whether it’s in-person, via a live webinar, or video-on-demand, our training programs help assure understanding and adoption of educational technology whether it’s the Gaggle Safe Learning Management System (LMS), Google Apps for Education, Office 365 or School & District Websites.

7) Tell us about your most recent infographic.

Our latest infographic was created to visually tell a story about the value of ongoing Professional Development. Like our other infographics, we hope that by including research and statistics, tips and actionable ideas educators will understand the value of ongoing professional development and training, and perhaps turn to Gaggle for help. The infographic is just another way to convey an important topic to interested educators.

8) Do you have a website and what would be found there?

Gaggle.net includes tons of resources, including additional infographics, videos, case studies, eBooks and our popular Gaggle Speaks blog. Of course, there’s some great product information there as well.

9) I understand that you have won numerous awards. Tell us about some of them and what they were for.

Thanks, and yes, we’ve been recognized quite a bit. While few, if any, of our customers work with us solely because we won a particular award, we’re quite proud of two recent accolades. Tech & Learning magazine recognized us last year with its Stellar Service Award for Best Excuse to Leave the Classroom (Best In-Person Training Program). This recognition, as well as our 2015 Bronze Stevie Award for Customer Service, came as a result of our interaction with customers and the proactive approach we take to assuring that their needs always come first.

 

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