Tuesday 11 December 2012

Exploring Google: Google Sites

I bought two books to read on a flight this week, W.K.C. Guthrie's "The Greek Philosophers: From Thales to Aristotle" and the 2012 "Ultimate Guide to Google".
Sadly, I read the google guide in between being elbowed by the rapid fire antics of the 40yo guy next to me playing Pirates of the Caribbean on his iPad.  ( I think it got really hectic when he was having a sword fight). I'm not sure which of us was the biggest dork....

So....back to getting the most out of free services google has to offer: all the basics of course with the chrome browser, google docs and drive, picassa for cloud storage and sharing of images and videos, blogger, youtube and google+. I guess the main advantages are single sign on, everything synchronised across all devices and simplicity (even if you can only choose a few fonts).

The NEW thing I discovered in this mag is Google Sites, which was JotSpot in a previous incarnation. It isn't on the gmail menu, even the dropdown menu under "more". Which is odd. You have to go to it separately.

  1. Google Sites . It is GREAT and I can't believe I didn't know it existed. It is google's offering for creating collaborative structures: a  web and wiki creation tool. There are lots of templates and themes: I created a test wiki in minutes and I'm going to develop it to see if I can then use mine as a template for students who can further personalise it. The template I used already came with many useful features such as a project timeline page and several widgets all which can be edited or discarded. Much easier than the wikispaces setup process and no need for a separate account and yet another password. The annoying things are the same annoying things wikispaces has, like image sizing, no CSS and limited html use, however, it is what it is. I'll post my wiki here in a couple of days when I work out a few more useful features.
  2. Historypin. This is a collaborative project between google and a community based intergenerational project where you can pin historical photos onto a google map. It is all user generated and has about 30,000 images already. I don't have an educational use for it right now, but I like that sort of thing.
  3. Google Voice etc....A way to make calls to phones but when I tried it, it diverted to skype and wasn't free. So not impressed today. There were also lots of business applications and some useful tips for analytics which I must remember to employ.


  1. Hi Angela - so do you recommend the book? should I put it on my christmas wish list?!

    1. Did I reply somewhere else to this Emily? You can have my google book. Don't pay for one, its not that good!Next time I am in the gonng I'll bring it.

  2. Thank you for the post, Angela! I agree with your comparison of wikis and wikispaces. I tried them for my students' projects. Now I use Edmodo as my elearning platform. I like the options it offers for learners and educators.

  3. Hi Elena, my little boy has told me about Edmodo which his teacher uses. He said they go on it every now and then, the teacher posts questions on it. So I assume they are getting used to this way of using it early (It's only year 3). The course I teach (see next post) uses wikispaces for students to create ePortfolios so they can learn some basic web site creation skills and add creative elements to their work, as well as sharing the end products with one another. I'll write more on this when next I post.

  4. Your mentioning Google Sites reminded me of a person I once met. He has a website using it.


    Paul Andrews, the person who runs it, often tweets about all things google and his resources are useful too.

  5. Thanks Andy, I will spend a day on mine and put it up here (maybe not this week), in the meantime I will check out the enhanced learning site, I need all the enhancement I can get right now!