It has been a while since my last post about team teaching and when thinking about what I wanted to write about for a new post, I asked myself a question- What is something that I have learnt how to use this year that I am proud of? The answer is Google Sites.
In September I attended the IWBNet 5th National Leading a Digital School Conference at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop by Richard Lambert about ‘Free and Effective Digital Networks for Your School’. During this workshop I learnt about Google Apps for Education. Google Apps are a suite of Google tools including email, sites, docs, maps and groups. Richard discussed ways of using these apps within the school and wider community to promote collaboration and teamwork for both staff and students. As I work at a new school I was intrigued by how Google Apps was effectively used across different areas of the school. From Richard and my own investigation I found that there is so much that can be achieved with Google Apps-
My school is looking at going ‘Google’ next year with some long term goals being that all classes have a blog or site, students in years 3-6 (initially) will build their own digital portfolio using sites, staff will use docs to collaborate on level planning and keeping track of staff meeting minutes through google docs.
This year I have already experimented with using Google Sites in the classroom.
I created this shared site for the three P,1,2 Grades at my school. It has been used with great success. I have found that students are extremely motivated to share and talk about their work with students and teachers from all over the world. It has become a place for students to share and celebrate their learning with an authentic and real world purpose!
Google Sites is very easy and straight forward to use and set up. It does not take long to learn how to add / embed things! The ease of use between the Google Apps has been great, calendars, docs and maps embed effortlessly!
I was however not impressed when I found out that visitors to the site that had not been ‘invited’ were unable to leave comments on the site. As a result I used Google Docs (forms and spreadsheets) to make my own comment forms (click here for guide). This has allowed students to communicate and collaborate with not only their peers but other students and teachers in the wider community, Australia and the world!
I have really enjoyed using Google Sites and will continue to do so in the future!
As I am still in the early stages of using Google Apps I am sure I have more to learn and look forward to using more Apps next year with my students!