Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Google Sites Design Features

Google sites is a great way to publish content to the web for a wide audience. Teachers and students are using Google Sites in a variety of ways in education.  

  • As a classroom web page
  • For Student ePortfolios
  • For a unit or project
  • As a digital resource for teachers, parents, board members, community members or clubs
  • See examples here
To take Google Sites to the next level, I like to start with the simple theme in Google Sites and then begin playing with the colors, fonts and design of the Google Site.  

In order to get more real estate on your Google Site (more links visible on the front page) in an organized manner, I like to use Horizontal Navigation.  With a few simple organizational clicks you can change the navigation from the side bar to horizontal navigation with drop down menus.

You can learn how to use Horizontal Navigation here.

In order to help you with creating a new header for your Google Site I like to use ColourLovers and PicMonkey (a replacement for Picnik).   Using ColourLovers you can find colors that look good together and create a pattern based on the colors you like.  Then, you can import the colored pattern into PicMonkey and add some text, boarders and images if you would like.  Then, I add this new header for my Google Site.

You can watch my screencasts on how to use ColourLovers and PicMonkey here. 
*Note...the screencasts are examples of me using Picnik (no longer active) and not PicMonkey.  I think you'll find that both of these sites use the same type of editing and you will be able to create and edit in PicMonkey just as easily as Picnik. 


Want to learn more?
Join us at one of the Google Apps for Education Summits this year!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Google Chrome Ninja Presentation on Education On Air Conference

Google Chrome allows you to personalize and customize your browser experience.  Efficiency is the goal when you are swamped with papers to grade, parents to email, a personal learning network to connect with and have a little fun while surfing the web.
Google Chrome browser allows you to install extensions that help your work flow in all your daily web activities.

Some of my favorite extensions for Google Chrome are...

Instant URL shortener and QR Code Generator
This extension is now retired. You can still use it, but it is highly recommended that you upgrade to the next version, which is called ShortenMe. It now has the very frequently requested feature of saving links to your account!
Google Dictionary
With this extension, you can:
1) Double-click any word to view its definition in a small pop-up bubble.
2) View the complete definition of any word or phrase using the toolbar dictionary.

Foreign words are automatically translated to your language of choice.
Turn Off the Lights
With one click on the lamp button, the page will be fading to dark. And automatic focus to the video. Click again, the page will return back as normal.
Clearly by Evernote
With one click, Clearly makes blog posts and articles clean and easy to read. Clearly eliminates all distractions from your online reading experience, and even allows you to browse multi-page articles in one, seamless view.
Send from Gmail
This extension will open a Compose window in Gmail when you click any email address on a webpage. It also provides a button that will create a Gmail message when clicked, using the page title as the subject and selected page text and link address as the message.
Amazon Wish List
Amazon Wish Lists are universal. You can add anything from any website to your Amazon Wish List making it easier than ever to keep track of all the items you want in one place.  Once you download the Amazon Wish List extension to your Google Chrome browser -- start shopping. When you see something you want on any website, just click the Amazon “Add to Wish List” button. 
Google Tasks
Easily add and manage your tasks from Chrome in one of three ways:

*  Simply type "t Your new task" into the Chrome Omnibar to easily add a task from whatever web page you're on.

*  Click the Tasks icon to add a task, see your tasks and task lists and mark a task as completed

*  Highlight text on any web page, right click and add that text to a new task.
Recently I presented at the Google Education On Air Conference with more Google Chrome Ninja tips.  View the recorded Hangout below.

To learn more about Google Chrome and all the Google Apps for Education, join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!

Register now for the CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.