Monday, May 18, 2009

Taking a Deep Plunge into Google Sites

Part 1 of 3
Back on Jan 23, I presented an in-service to our English Department on Google Docs and Google Sites. At that time I had lots of experience with Docs, but had only fiddled around with Sites in anticipation of the big project I would launch in March. So, for the in-service I constructed a demo site and packed it full of multi-media applications.

Shortly after my presentation, one of my colleagues began using Google Sites, but it was not until April that I found myself up to my ears in them. This week's three posts will relate to that experience.

I have described my simulation in this space before. I began teaching American Government in 1993, and my Congressional simulation has been with me for the entire ride. It evolved slowly from semester to semester. But this semester I converted it into a web experience. All game documents were distributed through Google Sites. In addition, each of the students created her own Google Site and was responsible for building the site with a character profile, daily journals, a summary podcast, and a "score sheet". Podcasts were created using the free audio recorder, Audacity. What is more, separate simulations were launched in three sections of American Government, involving 87 students, total. I only collected one sheet of paper from each student, instead of the two shopping bags I usually hauled home. This was radical change: lots of apps, for lots of students playing a complicated game. (Click for the the full project assignment).

Part two will be the project post-mortem. And as you expect from the Drive-thru, I will share both the tech agonies as well as the tech ecstasies. In the mean time, you are invited to sample one of the finished Sites. Just click the adjacent screen capture of "Rep. Jerry Jarvis". Jerry is a fictional character created by one of my sophomores, Meghan.


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