Today I created a site using Google sites. This site would be so useful in the classroom. It is a lot like blogging, and maybe even easier than blogging but it allows you to create an actual website and sub-pages within a website. There are also a lot of different tools available on Google sites that we could teach the students about that would be helpful to them as well as helpful to myself in keeping organized.
I really liked the idea of having each student create their own website through Google sites and post a picture, and tell a little bit about themselves, and make a list of their top 10 dreams. I think this would allow me as the teacher to get to know my students a lot better and be able to know some of the things that they might be interested in doing this in the classroom. I think the students would also be motivated to do this activity because they would want to tell information about themselves, they want their teacher to be interested in them, and I think that they would like it when a teacher shows interest in their personal life, not just their school life. I also think it would be beneficial for the students to just get familiar with the website and learn how to use the tools that are available through Google sites. Those tools would be useful to students in the future. All of this technology that we are learning about is helpful in everyday life, in school, and especially in work. Students would go into the workforce with a knowledge that a lot of other people entering the workforce don't have. If we can equip our students with skills that will make them stand out when they go out in the world and try and find a job, I think that is the best thing we can do for them.
I also think it is a great way for students to present information they have put together for a group project. We could assemble one site as a class and then have different sections for different topics the students have covered. Once the site is complete students could use it as a study guide or for preparation for tests. For example, if we were doing a unit on World War II in class. We could create a World War II Website, and on the website have different sections for different points of view of the different people involved in the website. We could have one section for the Jews, one for the Americans, one for the Nazis, etc. Under each section students would be able to post information that they have found in their preparation and share it with the class through the website. I think that since this is a tool that the students can use and understand they would be more willing to study from information that they have compiled and think to be important than just a boring worksheet that the teacher might hand them. Using technology this way makes things exciting for students. They will engage in the work they are doing, and since they are engaged and interested they will REMEMBER what they are reading or studying! If we can use technology in our classroom in a way that it is interesting to our students I know that they will perform better.
This would be a great tool as a teacher to keep parents informed on what is going on in the classroom. As students are becoming tech savvy, so are their parents. I think I would rather use a blog than this to keep parents up to date on what is going on, and send out announcements, or what homework their student should be working on. I do think that Google sites does have a more professional "website" look to it, but I think the blog is easier to just once over and be able to get the information that you need. On a blog the most recent information is on top, you can place a new heading for what information you are trying to convey. With Google Sites I feel like some of the parents who are not as tech savvy would kind of get lost, and give up using the site all together.