With Google Sites you can create custom web pages. As with many of Google tools, one of the great things (besides being free) is that you can collaborate with others on the creation and content of the pages. It is easy to share video, presentations, and calendars. You decide the level of sharing you would like to permit, and you can limit access to your site to small group or you can make it viewable by the public.
To get started, you will need a Google account. Once you sign in, you can find "Sites" under the "More" drop-down menu, or you can go to sites.google.com Here, you can choose to "Create new site." It'll take you to the page you will use to name your site, set up your initial security option, and chose a theme.
Once you create your site, adding content is as easy as using many text editors. Choose "Edit page." You can now rename and add content to the page.
In the Edit mode, you can easily insert video, Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, spreadsheet forms, presentations, Picasa photo slide shows, calendars, or gadgets You can change the format, insert a table, or chose to have a two-column layout.
Once you save your page, you are taken back to your "home page." To grant permissions and manage security, go to "Site settings" and chose "Share this site." Here you can invite owners, collaborators, or viewers. While collaborators can add edit and add content to the site, owners have advanced permissions. If you would like to limit viewing to only a select group, make sure you have unchecked the "Advanced permissions" box. Now only people you invite by email will have access to the site.
Under "Site settings," you can also "Change appearance" of the site. Add a custom logo, change the theme or the colors and fonts of the site, add background photos. The combinations are as endless as your imagination. Don't forget to save your changes before returning to the site.
Each time you add a new page, you will have to "Edit sidebar" if you would like it listed. This is found at the bottom of the sidebar or can be done under "Site settings" > "Change appearance." Under "Navigation" chose "edit." You will need to add the page to the sidebar. Once there, use the arrows to move the pages around until they are in the order you'd like.
There are so many uses for Google Sites. My students use it to share their writing and class projects with family and friends. Colette has used it to manage an Online Safety Voice Thread project her students did.
Next week, we'll feature websites that other people have made using Google Sites. But if you'd like to get started making your own Google Site, here are some resources to help: