Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Three Google Sites Updates to Note

Right after I finished writing a blog post about how my students are using Google Sites as digital portfolios I jumped into Feedly and found three announcements from Google regarding Google Sites. One of the updates my students will like, one I'll like, and the third is one that someone will like although I'm not sure who. (Note, theses all apply to the current version of Google Sites and not the classic version). 

More Customization Options
Over the next week or so Google Sites users will start to see options to add captions to images in their embedded image carousels, will see more options for buttons on their sites, and will have new table of contents design options. My students will like these updates because it will give them more creative control over their sites. Read more about these updates here

Version History 
The old version of Google Sites included a version history function that could be used to see changes to sites over time much like version history in Google Docs. That function is finally going to be added to the current version of Google Sites in 2020. This will be great for seeing changes over time to site. This feature won't be available until March at the earliest. Read more about it here.

Cloud Search
Cloud Search is a feature that will let users add a new search tool to their sites. Rather than just having in-site search Google Sites will soon be able to have a search tool that can be placed anywhere on the site. Cloud Search will include search capabilities similar to what you'd find with a standard Google search. Read more about it here.

Google Sites as Digital Portfolios

The computer science courses that I'm teaching this year are almost entirely project-based courses. I'm having them do two things to keep track of their progress throughout their projects. One of those things is use Google Sheets to keep track of materials and keep track of their trials. The other thing that they're doing is publishing information about their projects on individual Google Sites.

My students are maintaining individual Google Sites on which they write about and post pictures about their projects. Some students are including unedited video clips as well. With my freshmen students I had them all organize their sites in the same format with pages for every month of the school year. I'm letting my sophomores (most of them), juniors, and seniors organize their sites a little more loosely because they have bigger, but less frequent projects than my freshmen.

Benefits of Digital Portfolios
The benefit of having my students create portfolios is that not only can I quickly see what they're working on, they have a resource they can refer to when they get stumped or need to refresh after a few days off like we just had for Thanksgiving break.

Why Google Sites?
The reason I chose Google Sites for my students' portfolios is that because they all use G Suite for Education they can quickly insert their Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides into their Sites as needed.

How to Make a Website With Google Sites
Watch the video below to learn how to make a website with Google Sites.

Convert Old Google Sites to New
If you still have a Google Site that is in the old "classic" format, you can update it to the new style. Watch the following video to learn how to do that.

Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference Schedule

The Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference is next week. It is a free event that anyone can attend online. Register here or through the form below and you'll be enrolled in all of these free webinar presentations. Here's the line-up of presentations.

  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
    • December 10 at 3pm ET – Richard Byrne
      Not that long ago creating a mobile app required extensive coding skills and knowledge of programming. Today, there are many tools that make it possible for educators and students to develop their own functioning apps without any prior programming experience. Come to this presentation to learn how you and your students can develop  simple apps to use on your phones or tablets.

  • 3D Printing Solutions to World Issues
    • December 10 at 4pm ET – Jeremy Rinkel
      With an emphasis and focus on the UN Sustainability Goals, students were challenged to create prototypes or products that would be beneficial in assisting communities and countries in reaching the UN Sustainability Goals. Our first year of 3D printing has brought challenges, but we are learning a lot through problem solving and design. I’ll discuss our journey into 3D printing, the excitement of students in learning about “real-world” challenges and how 3D printing could play a role in solving these issues. Take ideas from our experience, make them your own and help save our world one 3D print at a time.

  • Coding + Drones= 100% Engagement
    • December 11 at 4pm ET – Karin Knapik-Cloutier
      Create multidisciplinary projects that teach students coding as well as the 4 C’s of critical-thinking,creativity, collaboration and communication. Using TELLO drones and free apps that run on IOS, Android and as a Chrome extension you can teach coding to students in elementary through high school.

  • Simple Wearable Electronics
    • December 11 at 8pm ET – Denise Wright
      This presentation will show you how to create some simple wearable electronics. Wearable electronics can include pedometers, smartwatches, or even a jean jacket that can play music. Everyday people use some sort of wearable electronics. Check out this jacket made with ada flora. Microbits can even be used to create watches.

  • Taking Shape: Drawing Your Own Icons
    • December 12 at 2pm ET – Tony Vincent
      Icons are an extremely effective form of communication. They are simple pictures that are immediately recognizable and universally understood. Icons tend to be simple drawings and are typically one color, making them easy to design if you break them down into shapes. Sure, there are millions of icons you can download, but there are advantages to making them yourself. When you draw your own, you can fill it with any color. And, you can customize your icon—you can change it to exactly meet your needs. Plus, it feels good to be creative with your visuals!

      In this webinar, Tony Vincent will demonstrate techniques for constructing icons by combining shapes in Google Drawings. The techniques work in any graphic design app. After learning to make your own icons, see how you can put them to work. Get ideas for using icons in your newsletters, flyers, slide shows, bulletin boards, videos, 3D prints, and documents. Teachers will be excited to put students on the path to drawing their own icons as well—kids love the challenge of drawing with shapes and enjoy using their own creations in their projects.

  • Using Makey Makey to Create Assistive Technology
    • December 12 at 3pm ET – Art Spencer
      For the past 3 years I've had 4th, 5th, and 8th grade students design and build assistive technology devices using Makey Makey boards for students with special needs. My students learn the design process, then work in groups to create buttons using cardboard, aluminum foil, and conductive clay. Special needs students then have success using a computer despite any physical limitations. This session will give an overview of that project and give tips on how do so something similar in your school setting.

  • Using Video as a Reflective, Collaborative, and Data Collecting tool
    • December 12 at 4pm ET – Brian Heyward
      Video can be used to reflect on process/progress, collect data for informal/formal research, and to collaborate synchronously or asynchronously on the same tasks. Video tools and other considerations will also be presented.

Creativity Conference Registration

Register once to attend all sessions for free!
    By completing this form you'll be registered for all sessions. You will receive emails from GoToWebinar and Byrne.Media informing you of the session start times.
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