Here we are. The final Google Apps series post, yet last does not mean least. Google Sites is going to allow you and your students to share with the world what happens in the classroom.
To find this app, you will need to go to the top of your browser screen in Gmail where it says "Gmail, Calendar, Documents", etc. Click on the "more" button and then on "sites". From there you can add pages, links, pictures, and more. Most importantly, once you have put up your site and told your students about it, the information is there 24/7/365. Your students and parents can always know what they need to know, have worksheets and files, etc. which takes a huge load off your back (no more blank faces when students come back from an absence, no more having to reprint papers for students who lost them, and the list goes on).
You can go to the Google App Training link in the previous post to learn more in depth, or just click around the app. If you have ever used a word processor or Google Docs, then the website editor is very much the same and you will be able to pick up the basics pretty quickly. It is known as a WYSIWIG editor (What You See is What You Get) which means anything you type or add into the page is going to look exactly the same on the site.
So if you have never made a website before, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. However, I know from helping hundreds of students and adults make websites that it requires just some trial and error and messing around for a couple of hours, especially with Google Sites. It will take some refinement and it is ok if you website does not look perfect initially. You can always go back and change something or start over so the important thing is to just plunge in and start creating your site.
If you want more than just a bare bones Google Sites you can add some flair and flavor using the design templates. You can make as many sites as you like for all of the different needs you will find in your class.
One of the most helpful things about Google Sites (which is true for any the other Google Apps) is that unlike other website editors you can work on your website from anywhere with a Internet Browser and Connection. This is why so many people are making their personal and professional sites using Google Sites.
So when (and why) might you want to make a Google Site?
- Post classwork and assignments
- Collaborate on a wiki with students or colleagues
- Share pictures of class events, projects, etc.
- Share important links, dates (by inserting you calendar), video tutorials (check out the next post)
- Your students can do everything you can do, but the main reason they will want to create a Google Site is to create a record of work for Universities, or potential Employers. Rather than having to keep track of everything they can upload it and then send the website link or download it all to a cd.
So I hope you and your students will create a Google Site and share all of the amazing things happening in your classroom with the world! If you need any more in depth coverage of a Google App, have a question, or a suggestion for a use for a Google App, please leave a comment in the posts.