Using Google Sites to Facilitate Research
As I’ve said before, “The more I learn about Google, the more I love it!”
Did you know that Google allows you to create sites and wikis for free? I am not talking about Blogger, Google sites are different.
Research When We Were Students
When I was a young student, it was difficult and time-consuming to find information on a topic. First you had to go to the library, look up your subject on the Infotrac or card catalog. Once you had the titles of the books you needed, you went to the book shelf, pulled books and searched through the books to find the information you needed. If you needed more current information, you had to search through periodicals saved on microfilm. The microfilm then had to be loaded into a special machine that would magnify the pages. After scrolling through the pages saved on microfilm, you had to pay $0.10 for every copy you made of the pages you needed. Sounds crazy just reading it right!
Boy, have we come a long way. Today, just the opposite is true. Finding information is easy and fast. No need to take a trip to the library as long as you have internet access.
The way our students are learning and searching for information is much different from the way we did when we were their age. The research skills we needed to know are not the same research skills they need to learn.
We need to teach them how to sift through numerous sites and an abundance of information to find what they need. Key terms, reliable resources and the ability to skim through lots of material quickly are some of the new skills students need to learn. I understand that it is scary to allow students to just do a Google search for a topic and allowing them free rein on the internet. Scary because unfortunately even with firewalls in place inappropriate content sometimes comes through and we need to shield our students. This is one of the reasons, I like using Google sites with students.
Kid Friendly Google Research Sites
Recently, I created a number of different sites to facilitate student research. What I do is create a Google site with all the links to websites, YouTube videos, on-line games and apps I have already screened and approved. Students then use the Google research site I created to gather all the facts they need to complete their research project. Here is a link to a Google site I created to do research and learn about the 50 U.S. States. After I created it, I asked a fellow teacher friend to join me as a contributor so now the two of us are able to add kid friendly sites, apps, videos and games to the site. In my opinion, Google sites offer an amazing opportunity to collaborate, curate and organize media in a way that is both pleasing visually and easy for other to navigate.
Here is a playlist I created that will help you get started creating your very own Google sites. Remember to click on the top left to browse through the different videos in this playlist.