My students have been using google docs education edition for over a year now and, until a few weeks ago, had never tried the “sites” feature. The sites feature allows people to collaborate on a site and publish it to the world. I still think synthasite offers the most in terms of content, but google sites is simple and easy for lots of people to collaborate on with very little setup. It allows users to embed gadgets, youtube videos, and any of your google docs with a couple clicks. Plus, you can set permissions for viewers and editors. Below is a link to the site my students made about the solar system.
Things to look out for:
1. Have students complete all the text components of the page first. The search for gadgets and videos can become a major distraction. Some of my students did not give the text portion of their page enough attention after I showed them how to put in gadgets and videos.
2. Give specific search parameters for gadgets. I only let my students search using very specific terms. There are some inappropriate gadgets in the gadget bin, but they are easily avoided with directed searches.
3. Some students ran into trouble when linking picture urls. This appeared to only be a problem when students used an older version of Internet Explorer. I recommend Firefox or Safari.