Monday, 18 March 2013

A view of Google 'Sites'

One of the core features of Google Apps is Google Sites, a website creator that requires no 'html' coding. It is 'what you see is what you get' (WYSIWYG) experience that makes it great for time poor website creators (aka) teachers, but it is fully featured with a little bit of discovery.

The way that I started using Google Sites is that I wanted to create a class website that I could post links to websites of interest. When creating a new page there is a number of templates that can be used including; File Cabinet, Webpage, Announcements, List, and Start Page. I found that the File Cabinet was great for organising files and websites of interests into categories.

Google Sites can be used for other uses like personal profile page, portfolios, schools websites and portals. Some other examples are Mrs Burke's class website which shows that Sites as a class gateway with links to other Google Apps products like Forms, Calender, and Blogger. This is where Sites excels in bringing all the Apps products in one central place.

Some other websites that I have noticed recently, that use the power and simplicity of Google Sites include; Google Educast for cataloging their show notes, James Ruse Agricultural High School have developed a professional looking school website with Sites, and even my local sports club shares their results on the web with Google Sites.

So the potential in Google Sites is wide and varied. With a little play and exploration there is likely to be the option you need to make your Site more personable. Start small and create a class website, now... As the editor is online you can develop it anywhere and when you like, which is the beauty of Google Apps!

"Perhaps the jewel in the Apps suit is Google Sites"

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blogger a new approach to blogging

As a teacher I am really excited that Blogger (as part of Google Apps at DEC) is finally available to use as an effective teaching and learning tools at DEC. For a long time teachers and students have been restricted by inflexible security or free but limited blogging platforms. The use of blogs has been further hampered by the huge amount of time wasted creating individual student accounts or finding solution around Flash and other restrictions when embedding code from other websites. Not so with Blogger which provides endless scope and potential to take blogging to another level in the classroom. Teachers and students are able to access and download a huge array of design templates and gadgets (also know as widgets). Code from other websites can be easily embedded with a copy and paste and blog layout can be easily rearranged with its click and drag interface.  Students can even manipulate the HTML to create new templates and gadget while learning valuable programming skills as part of their own online portfolio. Can't wait to get started using Blogger with my new enrichment class. Find more about Blogger here!