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Texas School District Partners with Gaggle to Monitor Activity on School-Provided Devices

Beaumont ISD has partnered with Gaggle to help monitor students' activities online such as signs of bullying, depression and inappropriate behavior.

As technology, and more specifically the use of the Internet, becomes more prominent in schools, districts are searching for ways to monitor students’ activity online.

Beaumont ISD gives students from pre-k to 12th grade devices to access the internet on.All students will soon have access to Gmail and Google Drive on those devices.

"As we move into the digital age, we'll give our students the ability to catch up on things and promote creative learning through a digital environment," said Toni McPherson, director of information and services for BISD.

To help monitor the online activity, the district is enlisting the help of Gaggle, a company who manages student safety on school-provided technology.

Gaggle will help to block harmful content and images, and in severe cases notify the district or law enforcement if they come across anything extreme.

Gaggle spokesperson Bill McCullough told 12News the company works 24/7 to identify inappropriate, violent or suicidal behavior.

"It started off with simple key words, like suicide, kill or gun," said McCullough. "As we've developed through the years, the algorithms have evolved."

Additionally, the company still monitors activity whether the student is on the device at school or at home.

"It's also going to be after school hours when our students are using their devices at home or also doing homework during Christmas holidays, on the weekends,” said McPherson. “That's one of the great things that appealed to us about Gaggle."

The company is working with 100 districts in Texas and more than 1,400 districts in the country.

About the Author

Sherelle Black is a Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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    September/October 2019

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