Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Google Sites

In a recent Lunch n Learn, Michelle and I focused on Google and Zoho tools. Personally, I have a lot more experience with Google -- I've played around with the calendar, word processing and of course this blog -- and doesn't everyone love Google maps? Then there's iGoogle, their portal page for RSS feeds...and the numerous topics I simply 'google' to learn more about! My latest venture involved Google Sites.

I have taught ACL533, Technology for Adult Educators, for several years now and like most of you every time I teach it I try to 'freshen' things up a bit. This winter was my first time to teach the class using CE8 so after importing the WebCT course, I began to move things and modify course content. For the final project in this class, I enjoyed using the WebCT Student Homepage tool. It wasn't 'fancy' but it served my purpose. For this capstone project, I asked my students to create a page that reflected the use of at least three new technologies they had learned in the class and how they would use them in their professional lives -- kind of a 'portfolio' to illustrate their 'technology growth'. Most of all I wanted them to have 'fun' yet create something useful.

Well, as you know, the Student Homepages tool no longer exists in CE8 so I really had to re-invent this project. During our Lunch n Learn on Google tools, Michelle mentioned Google Sites and my mind started to spin - -this clearly could answer my need for a tool students could use to develop their final project and have something to 'take with them' professionally. As a result, I offered this as another option for the final project in ACL533 (other options were a technology rich syllabus for a 'dream class' or a technology rich workshop).

Several students selected to use Google Sites and created very nice, professional websites that they plan to further develop for their current employment. They have added images, links, videos, and text that beautifully illustrate that they 'get it' -- they know and understand the importance of technology in their professional lives. As for me, I am delighted that Google has 'met my teaching needs' once again! I encourage you to explore this very exciting option for creating attractive and functional websites.

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