Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Blogger vs Google Sites

Continuing my series on communication tools,  as we get ever closer to the first day of school,  let's will explore just two of the offerings from the surplus that Google grants one. 

Blogger vs New Google Sites

While both are unique and awesome in their own ways, when you have a Google account you have access to both of these fantastic tools, and each of them is worth exploring. My hope for the future is that Blogger is integrated into the New Google Sites so that you can have all of the great googliness in one spot.

For the novice, Blogger has a quick and easy feel and setup time. One can simply go to Blogger.com sign in with their Google account and click the button "+ New Blog" and then choose from several pre made designs, which can be adjusted with a few clicks.

Once you've created the blog you can now start posting.  I always suggest keeping your blog simple in the beginning.

Do a post a day with a picture and a few words. I like to encourage Bloggers to share what they see in the picture. In our learning environments sometimes something that may look like a simple task may be filled with rich thought provoking learning and this tool allows us to show our viewers a glimpse into each day with a different perspective than their own.

One might also use a Blog as an active learning tool. Have one or multiple of your learners write up a daily or weekly summary of the learning which took place in your class. Allow families the opportunity to hear from the learners in the class and encourage your learners to reflect back on the day or weeks worth of learning.

Another fantastic option inside of Blogger are the built in widgets. A widget allows you to show case blog posts, show archived blog posts, and more. My favorite is "subscribe" which allows viewers to enter in their email address and get updates to their email when there is a new post.

New Google Sites

Back in November, Google launched a redesigned Google Sites dubbed New Google Sites. With this update came simple setup, mobile automation (instantly adjusts to mobile and tablet viewing) and more. 

Why might you use this tool?
  • It's a great way to setup a page with all the information your may want to share with your learners or families.
  • It integrates with Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and YouTube
This integration of the Google suite is a pretty enticing feature. With a click you can add your Google calendar, upload an entire Google Drive folder, embed a YouTube video, add a whole document to your page, and more.

With some clever folder placement or embedding a Google slideshow on the page you can easily share photos from your learning environments, share learner work, or allow others to easily see what is coming up in the future within your Google calendar.

For anyone with a Google account and looking for a starting place for building their own website, check out the new Google Sites by visiting sites.google.com/new

So which tool should you use?
Check them both out, ask yourself what your intended purpose or goal is, and think about your audience. Each has the potential to be a powerful tool for sharing the learning which happens each and everyday in your learning spaces.

In the future I plan to do a video walk through of each of these tools.

As always Stay tuned and stay connected.

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