My goal is to create a class site for my high school freshmen on Google Sites with CSS coding within the pages to personalize them. My students will use this site throughout the year to share work with each other and a larger audience (for example, they will present original poems and recorded recitations of them) and to complete group projects (for example, they will work with partners to research and create a page on the site about a Holocaust topic). I will also research the implications of FERPA for an online classroom for minors.
I have used Wikispaces in my freshmen class for years, and while it has served its purpose, I have wanted to make it more creative and personal and have not known how. Imagine my surprise when I was showing my freshmen how to change the font on their wikis and discovered the CSS coding option! I had seen this before but not known what it meant. So, I played around with CSS coding (see my blog for a firsthand account of this foray into coding) and discovered there are definitely things I can do to make the wiki more what I want.
However, I also have enjoyed using class Google Sites this semester. I have learned that it is a more robust platform and something my students would enjoy using for their work. They find wikis glitchy (and to be honest, I often do too) and hard to design within, and I have not had those problems on Google Sites.
I will therefore learn how to create a Google Site (something I have never created on my own) by creating a class site. I will also be applying my nascent CSS coding skills to personalize the site.
Theorists and Theories
Concepts from Marshall McLuhan:
- Cool Media – I think Google Sites is more a cool media than Wikispaces, and I am looking for participation from my students not absorption.
- Literate versus Tribal – I would like to embrace the movement back to tribal, and I think Google Sites, allowing multiple forms of media, does this.
New Media Terms from Gane and Beer:
● Archive – I hope to have a jointly created class archive of our year.
● Interface – I am looking to find the right interface for my goals – one that does not disappear (I am following McLuhan here too) but instead engages and excites my students to create.
New Media Canons from Collin Gifford Brooke:
- Performance – My site will be a constant interplay among my students, the outside audience, and me.
- Pattern – My students will focus on arrangement of their own creations on the site, and my initial arrangements can be a guide for them to study its pros and cons.
- Persistence – I use this class site as a replacement notebook for my students, one that allows for more readily retrieved information plus more connected information. Both of these are digital skills of memory.
Beer, Nicholas Gane and David. New Media: The Key Concepts. Oxford: Berg, 2008. E-book.
Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. New Dimensions in Computers and Composition. Ed. Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, In., 2009. Print.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Critical Edition. Ed.