As my students created more and more vocabulary tutorial videos, published to youtube, the question became how could we best organize and share them with other students. For our own use, we started simple with technology the students already knew – a basic google doc with each word hyperlinked. I thought about creating a twitter account to tweet a word of the day, and had a brief love affair with blogger, but I knew the best way to share the videos would be a website.
I started researching how to create websites and realized I had a lot of work ahead of me. Luckily, at our face to face meeting, Phil explained how easy google sites were to set up, and Kim assured me that third graders would be able to navigate and edit the site without too many problems. By lunchtime the site was set up, and I created a quick tutorial to show my students how to use it:
After that we were off. I haven’t needed the entire class to work on the website, so we did it on a volunteer basis, but it only takes a few minutes a day to update the site with the latest videos. Here is what it looks like now.
Google sites are so easy to set up and use, I will be using them more frequently for both teacher and student created pages. It only took a few minutes to set up a research hub for my students to learn about biome plants. Here’s how to do it:
At this point, I see only a couple of drawbacks to using google sites as part of the google apps for education suite:
- Unwieldy domain names – Forget simplicity or a name your students can remember. It will more likely look like this: https://sites.google.com/a/seisen.com/3rd-grade-research/
- Difficult to find with search – A problem closely related to the first one (and strange considering it’s a google product)…I can’t enter a few words into google and find our site. You have to either have a link or type in the entire url.
Those minor problems aside, google sites are a fantastic way for both teachers and students to share and communicate. Let us know if you’ve tried it and how you use it.