Thursday, December 15, 2016

The All New Google Sites for Schools - Video Tutorial

Back in June, Google announced that Sites, its web design program, would be getting a long overdue update (see my post from then). Rather than just add some new features, Google chose to rewrite the entire program from the ground up.

As of November, the all new version of Google Sites is now available for everyone to use. So how does it stack up?

In short... Easy, Beautiful, but Basic

  • Easy - By far the new version of Google Sites is the easiest web design program I have ever used (and I even wrote my own web design program about 15 years ago... anyone remember POW-PAK?) Every time I have demonstrated the new sites to a group of teachers, everyone is blown away by how simple and intuitive it is to quickly create a functional website.
  • Beautiful - Although “easy” is important, it would be no good if the resulting site was unattractive. Thankfully the new Google Sites makes it difficult to make an ugly site. The options for themes and layouts keep everything clean, organized, modern, and attractive. The sites even adjust perfectly from desktop to tablet to phone view. Even if design is not your strength, you can make a beautiful site.
  • Basic - So what’s the drawback? At the moment, the biggest weakness with the new Sites is its lack of features. The program is still very new, so its tools and options are limited. If you are used to the Classic Sites, you will quickly notice some things missing such as commenting, a blog page, page-level permissions, revision history, and such. However, I am sure all of these features (and more) will be rolling out over the coming months as Google continues to develop the program. (For a thorough comparison chart of Classic versus New Sites, see this page from Steegle.) Even at its "Basic" level though, the new program can make an excellent site.

Although the new Google Sites is very easy to use, you may still benefit from a tutorial walkthrough of its features. See below for the recorded video of one-hour webinar I conducted where I go through all the steps of creating a classroom website using the new Sites.

Session Agenda

Video Tutorial (1 hour)

Session Slideshow

Additional Session Resources

Post by Eric Curts. Connect with Eric on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. So far, I do not enjoy the new sites. Way too limited for the look & layout. I liked the options and flexibility of old sites. I cannot figure out how to get a table of contents to easily appear.

    I feel the same way about Google Forms. The old version was great! I don't know why Google feels the need to do tiny tweeks that often give no real change in functionality.

  2. Thanks Eric. A good summary of the New Google Sites. I know I look forward to helping some school move to the New Google Sites when it's ready. I'll try to post a demo site soon on

  3. Hi. Im trying it out after years of investing time and energy to build sites over at the classic Gsite. Ive made huge success with it. Now on to the new Gsite... I got pretty excited about the new look. But I stopped short due to these: I find the new site not as flexible as what the former allowed me to do. I cannot seem to freely move the text box (as how it is in wix) nor create different layouts and block menus unlike the classic Gsite. I can't seem to tweak the share settings to 'can view' or 'can comment' access since it only shows access as editors. I was hoping I can still play around with at least a variety of fonts. I feel that the new site is trying to behave like Wix but not as successfully as it can. Unless would you like us to learn to code so we can do what we want to do? I am hoping that new updates will be provided for more flexibility and ease of use.

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  9. Great! I love this brand new design for websites from google! Our teacher, Ms. Grace just created one for our class and asked everyone to upload last high school paper we should complete yesterday. NO we can keep connect with her even after calsses, awesome!

  10. Hi, Eric, from Argentina, and thanks for your continuous help ;-)
    As far as I can see this article was posted almost 2 years ago, and there's no news about the missing Google Sites features so far yet!
    In fact, the one I'm most concerned about is the "page level permissions", including the GREAT need to avoid students' edition of the site we teachers create.
    Please, do let us know when this absolutely indispensable feature is available! And I hope some Google guru reads this complaint and takes good care of it...