Using Google Sites

I discovered Google Sites this week. You know, it was one of those applications that I read about when it launched, scrolled through some posts about the merits of it, and then never checked it out. Instead, I kept using Google Page Creator for some school website projects, which has been fine and dandy and all that.

But this week, I finally explored Google Sites, which allows you to create an entire website that feels a bit like a modified Moodle (with not nearly all the bells and whistles) and just like so many other Google applications, it is relatively easy to use.

The downsides?

  • I love Google but they are giving this away to increase their own content on the web under the banner of Google
  • The URL of your site defaults to a Google Site extension
  • There are limited themes and options

The upsides?

  • It’s incredibly easy to use
  • You can set up a website in minutes
  • You can replace the Google Banner with your own
  • I have not seen any advertising anywhere on my Google Site (always a concern with freebies)
  • You can control what features are active on the site (such as comments, etc)
  • You can share administrative control and collaborate with others (similar to sharing in Google Docs)
  • Easy integration with Google Video, Google Docs, etc.
  • You can layer pages in different ways, such as under a parent page or not

All in all, if you are searching for an easy way to make a classroom website, Google Sites might be one option to consider. (Here is an example of a teacher website that used Google Sites). I worked with Weebly to show students how to begin to make a website last year, but I think Google Sites might be easier and have more flexibility for kids.

So what am I creating? It’s an eZine for the three youth programs that the Western Massachusetts Writing Project has been running this summer. We’ve never done an eZine before, but we wanted to showcase the writing and movies that were created by kids at three different sites this year.
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You can take a sneak peek at our site, if you want, and any feedback on it would be most appreciated as we continue to build it in the next week or two (one camp is still running).

Peace (in development),
Kevin

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