Teachers, you can direct learning with Google Sites. These handy websites allow you to organize and share learning materials. Additionally, you can include all types of media – videos, images, graphs, and more.
Who Can Direct Learning with Google Sites
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can create and use Classic or New Sites. Sure, teachers with G Suites for Education and/or Google Classroom can use them. However, once the website is created, anyone can access it from any device.
Benefits of Learning with Google Sites
Google Sites puts kids in the driver’s seat but still lets teachers steer. In the site, the teacher provides direction. But as kids use the website, they work at their own pace. This encourages more engagement. As teachers link high-quality media – graphs, diagrams, audio clips, videos, articles, etc. – students explore in new and different ways.
Examples of Learning with Google Sites
With Google Sites, you can organize learning in clear, engaging ways. Consider these examples:
- Supplement learning
- Direct independent learning
- Organize a webquest
- Implement a PBL (problem-based or project-based learning activity)
- Coordinate a research project
- Create a collaborative website
- Direct homework
- Modernize a novel study
- Make an eBook
- Facilitate a flipped classroom
The possibilities are endless.
Yes, these websites are teacher-created. However, the teacher does not create all of the content. Instead, she curates it. Some material may be teacher-created, but much of it will be found on the Internet and linked.
A Specific Example: Apollo 11
Let’s look at a specific example. In the summer of 2019, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first man on the Moon. To celebrate, I built a Classic Google Site that allows kids to explore on their own.
For this particular website, my learning goals focus on the historical and technical aspects of the Apollo 11 mission. In other words, it’s a social studies lesson. With this in mind, I considered topics I’d like my students to explore: who, what, where, when, how, and why. As you can see, the material was organized around those categories. Take a look at some of the content embedded and linked in this site.
On the home page, I added video footage of man’s first steps on the Moon. Since materials created by NASA (or any federal agency) are in the public domain, I was able to embed the video (and the photo) in my website.
As I explored the vehicles that took the Apollo astronauts to the Moon, I discovered many drawings in the NASA archives. Those were attached to the “How” page. In addition, I linked to some really great interactive diagrams created by DK.
For “What,” I wanted kids to dive into Apollo 11 and the other Apollo missions. In addition to linking every Apollo mission overview from NASA, I also found a wonderful Apollo 11 video on YouTube. To be sure my students weren’t exposed to advertisements, I saved the video with Safeshare.tv.
For some pages, I created my own graphics. In my experience, websites change often, which causes broken links. It’s better to embed when you can. On the other hand, YouTube videos seem to be more trustworthy.
A few public domain photos (with credit given) showed where the Eagle landed. In addition, I was able to link to a wonderful archive of photos taken by Neil Armstrong.
For “Who,” I added photos of the astronauts, as well as links to bios from NASA.
To explain why we went to the moon, I created my own summaries of the Cold War and technological advancements in the 40s and 50s. The experience culminated with a portion of John F. Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech.
The Teacher Directs Learning with Google Sites
As you can see, building a Google Site allows the teacher to direct learning experiences. She controls topics, media, and depth. Students, on the other hand, explore independently. This creates a student-centered learning environment and fosters engagement.