Friday, August 28, 2009

GoogleSites: Sidebar and Site Navigation

By default, the GoogleSites Sidebar contains links to the pages you have created in your GoogleSite. If you click on Edit Sidebar, you have various options for customizing how the sidebar is displayed. You will find the Edit Sidebar link down at the bottom of your Sidebar (if you do not see that, it means you are probably not logged on to your Google account; log on, and then you will see the link):

Sidebar Width and Position. You can change the width and/or the position of the sidebar by clicking on Change Site Layout.

After you click on Change Site Layout, you will see a variety of options. You even have the option to hide the sidebar if you want by clicking on "No sidebar."

When you are done making changes to the size and position of the Sidebar, make sure you click OK to save your changes. This will close the Site Layout dialog window.

Sidebar Navigation. By default, navigation links to the pages in your site are included in the Sidebar. To change the ORDER of the links, un-check the box that says "Automatically organize my navigation."

Customize the Navigation. When you un-check the automatic navigation box, you will see a list of pages pop up, with up and down arrows to let you organize the order in which they are listed. There is also an "X" which lets you delete an item from the navigation listing. The left and right arrows allow you to indent the pages to create something like a Table of Contents with sections and subsections.

You cannot change the name of a page here, but you can get around that by using the Add URL option; just add the URL of your GoogleSite page with the Text you want to display.

After you click OK, you will see the Text that you added in the list of pages, which you can move up and down just like the other pages in your site.

Add Text to the Sidebar. You can add additional text to your Sidebar. To add a text box, click on Add a Sidebar Item, a scrolling menu will come up; choose Text as the option.

After you choose Text, a Text Box will appear; to add context to the Text Box, click Edit:

You will then see the Text Box Editor which allows you to include formatted text and links.

Although it does not have an image icon to make it easy to add images, you can do that by remote linking to an image. Just click on the HTML edit button, and then enter the image tag directly, using IMG SRC.

(To do this, you will need to understand the basics of HTML code.)

SAVE CHANGES. If you have made changes, don't forget to click on Save Changes at the top (or bottom) of the page when you are done. You can then click on Return To Site to see how the changes look.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GoogleSites: Adding a YouTube video to your page

For up to date instructions, please visit this wiki:
The contents at this blog are ANCIENT :-)

GoogleSites: Creating a new page

After you have created your site and added some content to your homepage (instructions), you can add additional pages to your site.

Create a page. So, go to, and you should see a list of the sites you have created. Click on the link to the site to which you want to add a page. Then, when you see the homepage of the site, click on the Create page button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Template and location. In addition to the basic webpage (which is probably what you want to choose), GoogleSites offers some other kinds of pages that you can build. In addition, you can also choose what kind of address you want. By default, GoogleSites will create a webpage in the same directory as your homepage ("Put page at the top level"). Unless you have a specific reason for changing this option, just leave it the way it is.

Page name. You can type in the page name with upper- and lower-case letters, spaces, and so on, and Google will adjust the page name so that it will function as a web address (all lower-case letters, no spaces). You can force the address to be something else, but you will probably just want to use the address that Google suggests. When you are done, click on the Create Page button at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Edit and save your new page. You can now edit your page following the same instructions as for editing the homepage - adding text, links, images, etc. Make sure to use the Save button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to save your work when you are done!

Site navigation: It's automatic! Notice that your new page is automatically added to the navigation sidebar on your homepage! That's a big advantage of the GoogleSites editor: you can go in and make changes if you want, but by default it builds the simple site navigation for you!

GoogleSites: Creating your first page

After a long wait, there is finally a Google wiki and web publishing tool: GoogleSites. This replaces and extends Google's earlier effort at online web publishing (the old system was called GooglePages). I'm guessing that GoogleSites is going to be a very useful tool for some of my online students, particularly those folks who are either living abroad or who might be doing their work on multiple computers and/or in Internet cafes. So, I'll be writing up some tips here, explaining some of the nice features available with GoogleSites.

To get started, you will need a Gmail account which gives you a log-on you can use for all the Google services online, including GoogleSites.

Then, go to the GoogleSites address:

Create new site. You will start by clicking on the Create New Site button.

Name your site. Next you will be prompted to give your site a name. You can type the name you want (with upper- and lower-case letters, spaces, etc.) in the box, and then Google will try to guess what you want the website address to be (eliminating spaces, punctuation, etc.). You can make changes to the website address, or accept the suggestion that Google gives you. Optionally, you can add a brief description to the website. Then, you can choose a template - but don't worry: you can always change the template later. When you are done, fill in the "captcha" challenge at the bottom (to prove you are not a spambot!), and Google will then create your site for you.

Editing and adding pages. You should now see the homepage of your site, ready to fill in. To start editing the page, you will click on the Edit button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. To add pages to the site, use the Create Page button which is next to the Edit button.

Edit the page. When you click on the Edit page button, you will be able to edit the two different portions of your page: the Title Bar, and the Contents area. The editor gives you the standard features you expect, such as the ability to format your text with bold or italics, change the font, insert links, etc.

Creating links. In the spirit of being a "wiki," the Google Sites editor expects that you are going to be making links from one page of your website to another. So, when you highlight a piece of text and click on the link icon, you will be prompted to create a link to some other page in your website:

So, in order to create a link to an external website, you need to first click where it says Web address:

This will change the editing screen, giving you an option to insert the address of the page you want to link to, along with an option to open the webpage in a new tab of the browser.

Inserting images. To insert an image, click on the Insert menu on the left side of the screen, and choose the Insert Image option from the drop-down menu:

You will then be prompted to browse for and upload an image. This is definitely the best option to choose! Although it is possible to remote link to an image on someone else's page, it is much better to save a copy of the image to your computer, and then upload it here to GoogleSites. That way, even if the other person's webpage disappears from the web, your image will not be affected. Just make sure you also include Image Information to credit your original web source!

Save. When you are done, make sure you click on the Save button in the upper right-hand corner to save your work!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Webinar: Latin 2.0 - Personal Learning Networks

Last week I did a "webinar" (ugh, terrible word!) for Latin teachers, providing an overview of my favorite web2.0 tools, along with some attempt to explain just what web2.0 means to me.

So... here is my question: what are YOUR favorite web2.0 tools these days, and is the buzzword web2.0 important to you in your work?

For more on my perspective, here are the three slideshows I used as part of the webinar - there's a link to the full-sized screen version for each one:

PART ONE: LATIN 2.0 PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORKS. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.

PART TWO: WEB 2.0 TERMINOLOGY. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.

PART THREE: WEB 2.0 TOOLS. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.