Feb 23, 2016

ePortfolios & Projects with Google Sites

Recently a question was posted in the "Ask the Techy Coach" page regarding Google Sites and Google Classroom.  A teacher had inquired about creating a project for students in which they would create an eBook on a Google Sites page.  Students would "pick up" study guides from Google Classroom and would insert them into their Google Site.  Her concern is over how well the two integrate with one another.

Just last year, I posted an article called Google Sites vs. Google Classroom.  While that article gives a basic Pros & Cons approach to each, this article will discuss how the two can be integrated.

While Google Classroom is not directly integrated with Google Sites on the same level as, say, Google Docs or Slides, you can still use Sites as the platform for a project, and Classroom as a place to submit work.

For the project side, students can use page templates in Google Sites to:



  • Blog about a Topic (Announcements)
  • Add Content such as YouTube videos (Web Page)
  • Create a database of information (Lists)
  • Store files (File Cabinet)

If you are interested in learning more about how Google Sites work, and how to get started, watch here:


Sites can also be used as a Digital Portfolio.  A Google Site can be set up as a Template which could then be used as a starting point that all students could use and develop in their own style.  While monitoring this may seem like a nightmare, there is a great solution in an AddOn called Site Maestro.  This handy tool allows teachers to set up an entire class with their own Google Site, while using a Google Sheet as a dashboard for monitoring their progress.  Use my Google Sites tutorial to help you create a skeleton site that your students can use, and then use this tutorial from New Visions Cloudlab to help you get started with your own ePortfolio project for students:

  

Don't forget, there are many other great web tools you can use to get students started with Blogging or ePortfolios, such as:


Now what does any of this have to do with Google Classroom?  If you are like me, you probably have grown to love the simplistic design of Google Classroom, and the way it integrates with Google Drive.  But while it may not work as well with Sites, you can still use Classroom to:

Post links and docs for items required in a Project

  • While most of the work will be done inside the Blog, students can still pick up items like Docs or Slideshow templates that they can post within their Site.  For instance, the teacher could post a Doc in Google Classroom with instructions on how students will use the templates, where they should appear, or how they fit in the portfolio, as well as due dates.  In this instance, I have to point out that the integration between Google Sites and Google Docs is great.  Google has made it easy to embed or insert almost anything from Drive into a Site.  


Post assignment submissions for sections of a Google Site

  • Once students have completed work in their Google Site, they can use the Assignment Submission page to paste a URL link to their finished product.

Post Reminders & Project Due Dates

  • It never hurts to post timely reminders regarding projects in Google Classroom - especially since they will be sent by email to students as well.
Use the Question tool in Classroom so students can post links to their Google Site for discussion

  • The Question tool allows teachers to create a Forum in which you can post a question, and have students respond, and comment on each others responses.  This could be used as a great way to get students in a dialogue about their work.  This is a great way to introduce peer grading or suggesting.
All this being said, this answer was mostly for any teacher that uses Google Classroom on a daily basis and may be looking for a solution to guide and oversee a project such as an online project.  But don't ever feel that you have to use a certain tool because it is new.  If another tool will do the job, use it.  The tool should never become more important than the process or learning experience.