Project Information Website
I perused the Google Sites app and I thought it looked very neat. I am considering having my class website through Google Sites. However, for student use, I think Weebly.com is better. Weebly is very easy even for beginners which are most of my students as 9th graders. I used Weebly last year with my students twice. It went well the first time but was even better the second time, probably partly due to my better understanding of the site. Above is a project information website that I just now created for the first website I assigned to my kids. I did not use that when assigned but I highly recommend it in order to have a better understanding to help the students. I didn't want to give away too many ideas so I did not create a model site but I think the project info site will be helpful for kids. Last year I did create a ScoopIt page (www.scoop.it) which has many resources for the different topics to help the kids get off to a good start. I find the students more challenged on the research end than on the webpage creation end- especially since weebly is so user friendly. ScoopIt is very easy to use and is still free to set up an account (so is weebly thankfully!) The students did have fun with these, but at first I wasn't so sure how much they learned. However, as time passed and it came to reviewing for EOC, I realized they had retained more information about South Asia than any other region. That made me a believer.
After looking through a few different choices on the Google Apps list the other one that I know I will use next year is Blogger. After having used Weebly last year, I played around with the idea of having my students create a webpage for every unit (region) that we studied. There would be parameters but students would have many choices in what content to include on their pages. However, after using blogger, I decided that a year-long blog would be better suited for that idea. I think a website for each region would be daunting, but a new post for each region with specific tasks (as we have been given here) is more manageable, more collaborative and certainly reflective which is my goal. Students will still create weebly websites, but not for every region and the projects for each will be different and fresh. I also think a blog is better since each student will have their own as opposed to the websites which are nicer for group projects. As for my example: you are looking at it! :)