2009 marks the first year I began teaching Google Sites for grades 6-12 student portfolio publication and student global research contests. At that time, many templates were available already with Classic Sites and we often used templates appealing to us (I let experienced template portfolio users choose their own). Classic Sites, while being wonderful in its free availability, was not intuitive compared to other Google Apps and I spent an awful lot of time answering questions and helping with navigation difficulties. I also learned from student exploration and use. All teachers should never feel uncomfortable about learning alongside students. Yes, it’s somewhat humbling but you soon get over yourself when you enjoy that you’re learning.
At the recent release of the New Google Sites, I was initially disappointed. The ability to have one or more lengthy navigation is not a feature. However, I’d read multiple reviews touting the new look and quickly realized that what they’d done with the navigation format is so sensible and yes, so very streamlined. You just have to use hidden pages and page linking. See here my edit mode for the model I provide to preservice teachers:
Okay, a couple of things I did with this screenshot was to downsize the page. When I did that, it displays “More” (more pages) and this page, Tech Tools Analysis, is nested there. If I expand this page to full screen, “Tech Tools Analysis” shows on my navigation. That’s a nice feature for mobile devices.
When you’ve hit the layer of pages allowed for display, this is when you employ the hidden page feature and create a hyperlink to the site page. You’ll notice the hidden page icon at each of those two pages. While I don’t have to have them nested with their flow page, I do want them nested there for my own organizational purposes. To nest a page, all you do is drag it to the right of the page above it in hierarchy. It’s simple! And it requires sound structural organization – good critical thinking application for all users.
My only other request is that Google give me back the blog (announcement) feature. That’s the only missing element I could possibly ask for reinstatement.
Try out the New Google Sites – you’ll love it.