You may not be aware, but Google Sites has been given a makeover during the past year. The old Google Sites (now called Classic Sites) that many of you use for your personal websites has been updated with a new look and easy-to-use interface and is being called New Google Sites. While you can still work on your Classic Site, please know that Google will eventually be shutting them down and will ask everyone to migrate their Classic Sites to the New Sites. Google has committed to providing a migration tool in the first quarter of 2018 to make this process easy for everyone. We will provide more information on this as well as offer a lunch and learn PD opportunity when we receive the tool from Google.
In the meantime, a few of our staff members have realized that the New Google Sites are so easy to use, that they have begun incorporating them into their curriculum as student assigned projects. Many of our students have never created a webpage and are therefore lacking this essential 21st Century Skill. This post will look at two teachers who have successfully incorporated the New Google Sites as a component of student projects.
Over the course of the project, Belen and the students faced a number of hurdles that they were able to overcome and in the process learned great problem solving skills. Most of the students had never created a website and were excited to learn, but also needed help in the process. Mr. Skrzypchak provided some training early in the process and there were a few students in the class who were more knowledgeable and were able to provide assistance to the other students during the process. Belen said that as the students progressed, they found that the New Google Sites were very user friendly and that she also learned how to use the New Google Sites along with the students.
The project went so well, that Belen hopes to incorporate the New Google Sites with her students again later in the year. The students will be creating a website to help raise awareness for a social justice project that they will be choosing. She is also hoping to use it in some of her other courses as well.
Kari Galen is our second featured teacher for this post and teaches in the English Department. She is also a WV Alum and the Girls Volleyball coach. Last semester, Kari decided to use the New Google Sites with her senior Communication and Composition students to help them create digital portfolios. The students have to create a resume, cover letter, job posting, potential interview questions, and references and then publish them to the internet using the New Google Sites.
In creating this assignment, Kari realized that nearly all jobs today utilize some sort of online application and she recognized the need for her students to learn this 21st Century skill. She found that the New Google Sites made this possible and that it was easy for the students to put together a professional looking portfolio in a very short amount of time. It went so well, that Kari is repeating the project again with her second semester students. She also likes how using the New Google Sites saves her and the students from printing out all of the materials that they needed in the past to complete their mock interviews. The students also enjoyed experimenting with the various options of Google Sites and how easy it was to display their resumes and other attachments directly from Google Drive.
There were a few hurdles that the class faced when using the New Google Sites for the first time. Because the students were displaying Google Docs in the site, they had to learn how to properly set the sharing permissions for each Google Doc they shared first. Kari was able to teach the students how to properly share their documents so that they were viewable by anyone at IPSD. Most students only know how to simply share with another individual or via Classroom, so this was a learning curve and a learning opportunity for many of the students.As a way to check if students setup their sharing and their site properly, Kari had them peer review each other’s portfolio to catch any errors before their mock interviews.
Kari has made a few adjustments based on her initial use of the New Google Sites and is anticipating less hurdles for second semester. Her second semester students are in the midst of working on their portfolios and I am looking forward to seeing their sites and interviewing the students in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about the New Google Sites, please contact Chris Skrzypchak who is more than happy to assist.