Monday, May 8, 2017

Google Sites Updates

Early Access

MSD of Steuben County was fortunate to have a sneak peak at the new version of Google Sites. It was a great opportunity for students and teachers alike. Teachers now had the capability to build websites/resources that were simplistic and easy to use. Students could now build a website that was easy to understand and fully collaborative. We've had several teachers take advantage of the exciting opportunity Google Sites possesses for students to work on a website together. Imagine students being able to take a broad topic, break it down into multiple pages, and students build a learning resource together. This would not only benefit the group, but the entire class as the websites are easily shared via Classroom or a main website built by the teacher to host all the links. 

All GSuite for Education school districts has access to the new version of Google Sites. Teachers will want to start thinking about utilizing it as the classic Google Sites will be depreciated. Google did announce that they have plans in Q4 of 2017 to provide a way to migrate your old site to the new. No news of the process has been released as of yet. 

Updates to Google Sites

Theme Colors

There were three new updates to Google Sites that adds to the overall functionality. One feature is the ability to adjust to a specific color in the themes tab. The user can select a color, but if you want a specific color so that it matches exactly with the objects you insert, you need to use the hex code. In my demonstration video, I recommend using the Colorzilla extension for chrome. You simply launch the extension, select a color on the screen, and it automatically copies the code. You can then paste it into the theme color picker and it will adjust the coloring of your site. 


Vertical Alignment

Another great option that launched is the ability to adjust the text to align vertically with another object. Previously, this could only be accomplished by adding another section to your site. It caused users frustration as only the horizontal alignment worked well. With this adjustment, users can now add a header with text boxes directly aligned underneath. This also allows better alignment of text under embedded objects such as pictures and documents. A text box can be added and utilized for additional information and/or captions.



Site Logos

The final option is to add a site logo. This is a little icon that appears on the top-left corner of your site. You can upload your own logo directly from your computer, search Google, or search your Google Photos Albums and Google Drive. Once you upload your logo, you can then select a transparent, white, or black background in the navigation bar across the top. Another cool feature is that you can select the theme to match the color of your logo. This eliminates the needs to utilize a color picker like Colorzilla (mentioned previously) if you want your site to follow the same color scheme as your logo. (Logos can easily be built utilizing Google Drawings.)


Google Sites Resource

With these new updates, I went ahead and updated my Google Sites resource guide. Feel free to download and utilize as you wish. Let me know if there are things that need to be updated. There is a lot of material residing in the slide deck; it is easy to miss the slight changes that occur from time to time.