Teacher Review For Google Sites

Good for the novice website builder, but there are some flaws

Lindsay F.
Content Support Resource Teacher (TOSA)
Vista Unified School District (Vista, CA)
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EdTech Mentor
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Support 3
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Creation
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
I created a site with information on Common Core State Standards for parents and community members in our district. The site has nested pages and linked Drive documents. In creating this site, my colleague and I were generally happy with what we created and the usability of the tools available to us. However, there were several instances where we felt we needed a more advanced degree in website creation to solve the problems we encountered (e.g., line spacing changing itself). Before you begin building a site, you should know about two big flaws in the design of Google Sites: 1) If you want to embed a video, it MUST be hosted on YouTube. This, of course, poses an extra challenge for educators working in districts that filter YouTube for students. 2) If you want to embed a Twitter feed, there is no easy way to do it. Google search for a tutorial, and you will find it takes a rather circuitous route through your settings and add-on tools to make it happen. It is my opinion that Google needs to address this issue with YouTube-only videos and Twitter feeds to make this a better choice for teachers to connect their classrooms to their students.
My Take
Google Sites gives a decent platform for an educator to build a website. When you create a site, you have easy access to link and post files in your Google Drive (pro), but sometimes the way you have to insert those files looks clumsy on the finished page (con). Once you have your page created, it is easy to go back, edit, update, and post new information (pro). Sometimes, however, Google Sites seems to have a mind of its own and change the formatting of text, line spacing, and such without any recourse for the website creator (major con). Several times I would copy and paste text from an outside source only to find I have sections with single line spacing, some with 1.5, and others with double-spacing. A beginning user will find that particularly frustrating as there is no clear solution to the text formatting issue. There are also much more limited features in terms of formatting than you will find in Google Drive or other Google Apps. Because there are some glitches that come up in creating a site, this may prove a difficult task for students who create a site to host a portfolio of their work.