Thursday, March 2, 2017

From Classic to FANTASTIC- New Google Sites

Classic sites was an “acquired taste” for myself, students, and attendees. Anytime I presented a session on classic sites, I would give myself a pep talk about how classic sites was not for the faint of heart and only for those that wanted a challenge. I grew to appreciate classic sites for it provided a platform for creativity, collaboration, and choice.

However, I felt that it was not user-friendly. Those wanting to learn had to have intermediate to advance skills in web design or at the very least have the ambition and time to learn how to make a desirable, eye-catching site. App-smashing in classic sites was like a UFC fight...messy, sweaty, and not great to look at when it was all said and done. Do not forget to SAVE or you just wasted hours of your life. Classic sites was GSuite’s fixer upper and it finally got the renovations that it needed last year!

Using the New Google Sites is a breath of fresh air. It is very sleek and most importantly user-friendly for any user! I decided to try integrating some of my favorite GSuite tools and discovered that it is easily done. Here are what I enjoy using the most with the New Google Sites:

1. My Maps

You can select to drop a placemark on a map or create a MyMap then embed it onto the site. I have tracked TechFairies EdTech Adventures using a MyMap...check it out!

*Geeky Tip: Create a form that logs your travel and import that sheet into the MyMap!

2. Google Docs & Drive

I love embedding any form, sheet, slide, or doc onto my site but my personal favorite has been a Drive folder. Yes, a FOLDER! I can place all my resources into a folder and those items will be listed. Anyone accessing the site can scroll through all resources within the folder. Click on the link sharing icon and use the embed url function to add the folder to the site.

Click the gear and change the title of folder or from grid to list view. The blue dots allow you can resize the folder just like an image.

3. Charts and Awesome Tables

A secret treasure is using the chart icon located within a sheet. Instead of embedding the sheet directly into the site, click on the chart icon. Customize the chart to what information you want displayed.

On New Google Sites, select Charts (it is the last item on the Google Doc menu) and insert the chart. You can resize the chart using the blue handles just like an image.

Anytime the sheet is updated so is the chart! I prefer to insert charts instead of a spreadsheet because you can select what you would like featured and the overall look of the chart is clean and simple.

I personally have yet to try Awesome Table but I have seen it in action and it is on my to-do list. Check out SunchatBloggers use of an Awesome Table within a New Google Site.

Watch Mari Venturino’s screencast on embedding a padlet and Chris Webb’s Awesome Table video, both are fantastic resources.

4. GIFS, BITMOJI, & Google Drawings

Yes, I know that currently there are NO HTML functions within New Google Sites but you can insert GIFS, BITMOJIs and Google Drawings. You can link any one of these to outside web links or pages within the site.

I like to hide a page from navigation and then link it to a Google Drawing or BITMOJI as a “exclusive page” that may only be visible or accessible from that link.

I like using Google Drawings as well because anytime I change the drawing it is updated on the site! I especially enjoy creating my own headers or inserting GIFs as well. I have found that 750 x 200 pixels Google Drawing works best...thanks Lisa Thumann! If you want more tutorials with Google Drawings visit RealNishantha’s YouTube Channel.

5. Inspiration

Creating websites is an art and sometimes I need inspiration. When searching for how others are building their New Google Sites, I found that my searches would only find Classic Sites. Michelle Armstrong and I discovered how we could find only New Google Sites by searching:

There are some amazing and beautiful sites created by teachers and students! Being able to view other sites and to be inspired is so greatly needed when creating a site and understanding your audience.

New Google Sites provides an easy, sleek-looking website for any and all users. I know that my students and attendees have expressed their love for the new functionality and easy integration of GSuite tools. I cannot wait to see what new roll-outs are in store this year!

Rosalinda Jaimes
Google Certified Trainer & Innovator
Temecula, CA

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