Google Sites – making a site and its use in the classroom

I’ve used Google’s suite of products to put together my sites.  I’ve used blogger for my main page/blog, I use Google Apps for email, docs and calendar.  I finally decided to use Google Sites (for Google Apps) to build a Wiki-ish website to store the resources I previously hosted on a wiki.

For those of you that haven’t used Google sites before, it is a simple page editor that gives you the ability to create simple nested pages, add files and google gadgets.  People who you give access to can edit the pages and add new content (to different degrees depending on their access).  You can even give a specific site you create a custom URL if you have a domain and access to your DNS.  There are a variety of templates and styles available, and editing is similar to using other google products.

I’ve set up a site with my science resources on here.  The structure of the site took minutes to set up once I’d decided on a structure.  Uploading lots of individual files took a while longer due to the sheer number of clicks required.  The site was created from start to finish in well under an hour.

I see plenty of potential for this within the the classroom (as part of the Google Apps for Education edition).  You can hide your pages from the internet (so surfers won’t stumble across them) and you can allow members of your domain to edit them.  Classes can work collaboratively on a set of pages for a topic and the teacher can subscribe to the page to see how it develops.  Malicious editing is deterred by the revision history.  Google sites has much of the power of a typical wiki without getting bogged down in esoteric wiki commands and formatting.

Google sites could even be used by a school to build a simple intranet if you haven’t got one yet in your school.   This video shows a little more of what is possible with Google sites:

It would be interesting to here from anyone who has used Google Sites in an educational context and how it went.


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.