Friday, May 8, 2009

Google Sites gets Thumbs up!

I have had the opportunity to work as a mentor to a graduation project student this semester. It has been a very rewarding experience. His topic relates to social networking and he is the only student in our county creating an online portfolio. He volunteered to try it after finding out that I would be his mentor. A few of us tech nerds in the county have been wanting to get the graduation project to go digital and we're hoping this example might help move the process along.
Upon first meeting with him, we talked about options for creating the portfolio online which included many free and paid sites. I told him to try out a few that looked of interest to him and let me know which he thought was best for his needs. In the end, he picked Google Sites. I was of course pleased because I love Google and Sites is an area I've not really explored too much.

I sat down with him for our last meeting of the year yesterday and we talked about the Pros and Cons of using Google Sites as a tool for the graduation project.

1. He was amazed at how easy it was to get started and work on the pages. He really felt like it would take very little computer knowledge (by teachers or students) to create a Google Site
2. The colors and customization are great and very easy to change even after you've created the site.
3. There are spots on each page (if you want them there) to add comments, so if he had wanted to share his site with others (peer editing, etc.) they could have posted their comments right on the page.

1. When using columns, it's set up so that the 2nd column is fixed. In other words, if you resize the page, the 2nd column does not change it's size, but the 1st column does. This caused a problem on at least one of his pages.
2. We were not able to find a way to edit table borders. We tried to create a table when we had problems with the columns but there wasn't a way to make the table borders invisible.

Overall, he felt that the ease of use of the google sites was fantastic and said he's recommend it as a tool to use in the future. He will be sharing his site with students in his class next week and has been asked to present it to the graduation project committee during their county-wide meeting (also next week). He hasn't finished the site as of this moment and has asked that I don't share it yet. Once he give me the ok, I'll post it here.

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