Alas . . . it is that time of year when all kinds of changes are being announced, and whether they know it or not, LOTS of people have this question! The answer is YES . . . unless of course I am a really big fan of yours and I am mad that you're leaving. In that case, the answer is most definitely, "No, so you might as well stay."
Ok, ok fine. If you are getting ready to retire, leave your district, or graduate from your GAFE institution (as a student), and you want to preserve your Google account data, then you need to know about Google Takeout.
After Billings Tech Cadre this weekend, I had two people send me emails asking how to embed a Google Doc into a blog post - kudos to them for synthesizing these two great tools! While the sites they created or updated at Cadre were either Google Sites, Weebly, or Blogger, this "formula" applies to pretty much any site where you have the ability to embed code.
Before going any further, I'd like to point out that, if you've tried recently to embed a Google creation (Doc, Sheet, Drawing . . . ) you may have noticed that the embedded element comes out ridiculously tiny:
In order to fix this, you need to add a couple of elements to the iFrame code that is generated once you publish your Doc to the web. Here is a sample code from a recent document:
Notice what's missing? The size! To adjust the height and width, add the desired values after the last quotation mark in the first set of brackets. The specific values may vary for your site or blog - with the layout I have selected in Blogger, a width of 500 was just about right to fit within the post body section. I chose a greater number for the height because I knew my document was long. You will want to preview your blog to be sure - it may take a few iterations to find the right values. Here is an example of the "amended" code:
Now see it in action:
Montana is home to some pretty cool people. CURIOUS people. SHARING people. TEACHER people. Five Saturdays a year, these people volunteer their Saturdays to come to Billings to be part of the Billings Tech Cadre, a venture started several years ago by my friend and mentor, Desiree Caskey. The idea is to bring together like-minded people who want to learn ways to better integrate technology in a day-long, hands-on, low-pressure environment where they can experiment, ask questions, get (and give!) help, and share ideas.
Tomorrow will be our fourth meeting, and we are going to have some nitty-gritty, site-building fun. One of our participants had asked the question, "How do you drive traffic to your site and encourage visits and use?" which in turn begged the question, "How do you get people to visit a site that doesn't even exist yet?" That launched us into a discussion about those of us who have sites, but never maintain them; those of us who have an idea and a purpose a site, but don't know which tool to use; and those of us who have visited sites, but don't even know where to begin in creating one of our own!
A quick search for "site building tools" yields these results:
IM Creator, Google Sites, Weebly, SquareSpace, Designly, Strikingly, Wix . . .
not to mention all of the blogging tools like
Wordpress, Kidblog, Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly . . .
Yes, that's right - I mentioned Weebly twice. That is because the line between "blog" and "website" is becoming more and more blurry because of the features of today's tools - you may be reading someone's blog and not even realize it's actually a Weebly site. Or you may be looking at someone's website, and not be aware that it's actually powered by Blogger. Can you tell which tool I'm using now?
The biggest mistake I have seen teachers make when they think they want to set up a website is that they do the same thing the kids do when we first show them Slides or Docs: they want to make it pretty. They are so distracted by the tool itself that they don't stop to consider their audience, their purpose or their content. That said, the most successful sites I have seen are those that are geared to specific readers, well-planned, and nicely organized. Sure, the pretty part is nice, but that's just the sprinkles on the cupcake - and anyone who has ever eaten a cupcake lovingly made by a 6-year-old knows that too many sprinkles kill a cake.
So you think you want a site? I'm here to help! Inspired by the participants of the Billings Tech Cadre, I have designed this "choose-your-own-adventure" style Form to help you narrow down not only your tool, but your audience, and your purpose. As I mentioned above there are MANY tools you could use to create your site, but for cost, simplicity, and compatibility, I have narrowed the tool choices down to 3: Google Sites, Weebly, and Blogger (you'll read why once you find your match). Once you complete the form, you will automatically be sent a document that will help you in the planning and construction of your site . . . or blog, because you just never know where this adventure will take you!
I received this email from a teacher this morning:
So, Ann, my class just finished their first Google presentations! I was really proud of them!
Is there a way for me to post these on my blog? I don't see that option - just an option to share it via an email address. If that's the only choice, that's fine - I can just send it to their parents via their email, but I was hoping...?
I was very happy to report to him that YES - the answer is YES! Here's how:
Great question - keep them coming!