How I Use It
Since I was a student in high school, I have been involved in web design. Nothing major—very basic HTML, but enough to code a decent-looking, clean web site. When I started teaching, I paid money out of pocket to secure a domain name and server space to host files for my students. After a couple of years, however, I learned about Google Sites, and I've used it ever since. I still code by hand, because I personally don't like how WYSIWYG programs design the code. And I still utilize the domain name, so that students don't have to go to some long sites.google.com/ URL.
I use Google Sites to host files. I put up PDFs of notes that students can either copy down ahead of class, or print out. That way, they can spend less time writing in class. Instead, we spend that time working on problems and discussing what things we notice and what we need to do. I then upload a PDF of what we went over in class, so students who missed something or who were absent can get caught up. And if students lose worksheets or handouts, they can go online and print them out for themselves. And for my AP Calculus classes, I utilize a flipped model because there is so much to cover and so little time. I link to YouTube videos that I create, so that my website is still the one-stop location for all resources.
Google Sites is a simple way to create a clean, easy-to-use web site that can be used to share and disseminate information with students. You don't need any HTML or coding experience in order to use Google Sites, though it helps with customization if you do have some background. Since students are always on their computers and cell phones nowadays, and it's so easy to look things up, it's great to have a web site that can act as a central hub for sharing information and resources with them. Having a web site allows students to take more initiative for their own learning, since they know where they have to go to get the information that they need.