Teacher's Guide on The Use of Google Sites in The Classroom

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Google Sites is a great tool for creating websites . Google Sites brings together all of the other great Google services in that it allows users to embed  Google Docs, Calendar, YouTube, Picasa albums, and much more. In this post Educational Technology and Mobile Learning is going to explore with you different ways and tips on how to  tap into the educational potential of this tool and provide you with some practical ideas on how to use it with your students in the classroom.

Why use Google Sites in The Classroom ?

Here are some of the pertinent reasons why you should consider using Google sites with your students :
  • Google site is free
  • It is very easy to use and has a simple and student friendly interface
  • Anyone above 13 can join in and add content to it ( provided you give them access )
  • A site can be created  for a class within a couple of minutes using templates for different pages and without the need for advanced technology knowledge
  • Google Site also offers you control over who can have access to the pages and who can share materials
  • It can improve students digital literacy skills 
  • It can open up your classroom and make it a collaborative learning environmen
Types of pages in Google Sites

As a prospective user of Google Site you need to get yourself familiar with the following terminology:
  • Dashboard : A Two column webpage with four placeholder gadgets that helps users get started creating an overview of information or embed gadgets
  • Webpage : This is a simple and basic page where users can put their content or embed their gadgets
  • File Cabinet : This is where users can upload and share files. It allows you to create folders
  • Announcements : this section lets you add recent announcements to your page
  • List : This is where you can create to-do lists or assignment lists.

Ways Teachers can  Use Google Sites in their Classroom

Here are some of the tips to help you get started using Google Sites in your Classroom :
  • Create a webpage for the class where to include course materials and rich content including videos, images, slides, and audio recordings
  • Use it for posting homework, assignments, and class events
  • You can also use it as a discussion board where every student can have a say
  • Create a page for posting announcements , class events, reading materials, classroom rules, and many more
  • Use it as a wiki and let your students collaboratively work on their assignments and edit content
  • Use the File Cabinet page to upload documents, PDFs and other materials to share with your students
  • You can also create a private page where to share information with parents like curriculum resources
  • Embed a calendar to keep track of your deadlines or Google Spreadsheet to keep track of your research 

Ways Students Can Use Google Sites
Here are some ideas on how students can use  Google Sites :

  • They can use it to create digital portfolios to feature their work and achievements
  • Create and manage to-do lists for their assignments and classroom activities
  • Collaborate on group projects
  • They can use it to present their findings on a particular research subject. They can include docs they have created, videos, links and many more
  • Students can use it to contribute in knowledge building inside the classroom and to help with course materials
Video Tutorials

Here are some video tutorials on how to create and use a Google Site for your class

1- Using Google Site to Create A Classroom Website

2- How to Create A Class Calendar

3- Webinar on Google Sites for your Classroom

Examples of great Google Sites from schools and educators

1-  A Study of Politics for the digital generation

At this site you’ll find links and lessons to help your students participate and learn about American political elections with online tools from Google. 

2- World History

An example how a teacher uses a Google Site with his history class.  Includes syllabus, unit plans, assignments, and announcements.

3- Gone Google

A website with listings of lesson ideas that incorporate Google tools.  Lesson ideas for Art, LA, Science, SS and Multi-discipline.

4- Online Learning Circles

This site is devoted to helping others understand what online learning circles share in common across all of these settings.

5- Creating an Interactive Portfolio using Google Sites

Using examples from Colette Google Sites portfolio developed by Helen C. Barrett, Ph.D

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