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Every user of your institution's Google Apps for Education account has the opportunity to create Google sites. Google Sites is a way to create a very quick template-based website. Inside of the educational institution, these are a great way to inspire collaboration, because a lot of different people could be working on a single site at the same time. In this chapter, we're going to use Google Sites to create a school based collaborative website. It's designed to help community members and staff members collaborate on the creation of a community garden. Lets go ahead and get started by creating the layout of our first site. To get to sites, all we have to do is to log into our Google Apps for Education account, and click on Sites in the upper navigation.
To create our first site, let's click on the Create button on the left hand side. As we create our first site, there's a couple things that we can do. We can either start with a blank template. Now, a blank template is not just a white page. We can add some color and themes to it, but it doesn't have any information or content. We can also choose to browse the gallery for more information. The websites in the gallery are often provided by other users And typically come with some content to them. Because we're adding all the content ourselves, we're going to go and keep it selected as a blank template. We're going to call this site Collaborative Community Garden Website.
Now by default, Google's going to take whatever title you put for this site and it's going to hyphen for spaces and it's going to make that be URL or the web address people need to type in when they go to this particular website. They would actually need to type in https.//sites.google.com/a/your domain.com/, and then whatever title you have. We also have the opportunity to change this URL. I'm going to go ahead and title this the OVS Garden Site for Orange Valley School Garden. The next step is to go ahead and select a theme. To do this, I'm going to select the Theme drop down menu.
Now this is an optional step. You do not need to apply a theme to your website. You can start with a completely blank theme and add your own images and graphics. As I scroll down the theme list I'm looking for something that would be appropriate for a school garden. Eventually I come to a theme that's actually titled Garden. I'm going to go and select that. And the final step is the More options. Here we have some opportunities to add some site categories and site descriptions. Now, site categories are really important if you plan to have a lot of different Google sites. This way you have the opportunity to organize and categorize those sites so you can quickly search for them and find the appropriate site.
I'm going to go ahead and call this one collaboration. I'm going to put a comma to add a new category and I'm going to say school wide. So, that way, in the future, if I have additional collaboration sites, I can also tag them as collaboration and if I have additional school wide sites I can tag them as school wide. So a user of Google Apps for Education could then log in to their Orange Valley School account, they could go to Google Sites and they could click on school wide and view all of the school wide websites. I can also add a site description. I'm going to say that this is the OVS community garden planning website. Now that I have site categories and the site description I've created a theme and I've given my site a title and I'm going to go ahead and click the Create button.
So there we go. At this point we've created the shell of our website. There'es not a lot of content to it. As of right now, all it has is some basic information such as a site title. The only pages that are available are a home page and a site map. And if I click on site map, I can see that it only shows me the home page. So the next step is going to be to add the basic content of this website before we start collaborating with our other collegues.
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