Looking for an effective way to create a learning portal for your classroom, which integrates blogs, multimedia, documents, and a variety of interactive features? Consider using the recently announced Google Sites application, part of the growing suite of solutions offered as Google Apps. This YouTube video provides a nice overview:

Apparently your organization has to have a domain configured with Google Apps for Google Sites to work. So if you are a teacher wanting to set this up on your own, you are out of luck unless you’re willing to configure (or your administration is willing to configure) your entire school domain to work with Google Apps.

I’ve been wondering how Google was going to integrate the wiki technology from Jot.com (not to be confused with the unrelated voice-to-text service Jott.com) since they purchased Jot months ago. I like Jot and have used it to share my list of personal Macintosh software applications for a couple years, and recently created a new page of iPhone web apps I like. I think Google Sites is the answer to my question.

For more information about using Google Tools for learning inside and outside your classroom, visit the Google for Educators website regularly. The Classroom activities section of the website has expanded and now includes many submissions shared by members of the Google for Educators Discussion Group.

Google Sites looks great! I’m confident I’ll find a project in the not-too-distant future which is well suited for its functionality.

Thanks to Chris Duke for bringing Google Sites to my attention. 🙂

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9 Responses to Google Sites as a classroom learning portal

  1. John Martin says:

    Now I’m confused. Isn’t this the same thing as Google Pages, just renamed?

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    No, I don’t think so. This is a more fully featured portal offering different tools which are integrated. Google Pages is available to anyone, for Google Sites you have to be enrolled with a domain using Google Apps. At least that is how I read it…..

  3. John Blake says:

    I have been using Google Sites with a small class of high school seniors. The integration of Google Docs, Calendar, and have been the best “efolio” tool I have found. I have a Moodle site, and almost stopped using it in favor of our Google Sites. My students have MySpace sites and like the fact that these pages are not open to the public. Navigation between the sites could be improved if all the sites or pages were visible on a domain home page. Maybe I need someone to show me how to do that. Bottom line- with a small number of students, with average computer skills, Sites are perfect for posting reports, photos, and documents. One thing I almost forgot, when a Google doc is inserted in a page- the document shows up one the page with all the formatting, hyperlink and all. I have tried to embed VoiceThreads, but could not seem to get them to run.

  4. Mrs. B says:

    I have been using Google docs and Google notebook with my 8th grade students, and they have delighted in being able to work/comment/share whether at school or at home. They can submit an assignment on time even if they are not at school, etc., etc.

    I would love to see us using Google Sites but, sadly, our district’s blocking software has now blocked access even to Google docs (and del.icio.us) on the grounds of “social networking sites.”

    Hopefully, a lot of conversation (including student voices) will be able to change this.

  5. John Martin says:

    Yup, you’re right. When I was finally able to log back into my Google Apps account, it turns out that I had both Pages and Sites in it. Not sure which one I like better in terms of functionality and interface. I prefer the pages interface with the edit-ability of Sites.

  6. David Navis says:

    Wes … thanks for posting this blog. I will be presenting at Learning 2.008 in the fall. The presentation is called “Just Google It”. This site has been really helpful and intriguing. I’m going to try it soon. I wonder if it will work in China?

    See you at Learning 2.008

  7. Wesley Fryer says:

    David: You are most welcome. To check functionality in China, you might check with Jeff Utech before the end of the semester and his move to South Africa. (He’s in Shanghai.)

  8. […] Another really interesting story that I came across was about how Google sites can be used as a classroom-learning tool. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2008/04/11/google-sites-as-a-classroom-learning-portal/ […]

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