Saturday, June 8, 2013

Best Google Apps Scripts for Educators

My school adopted Google Apps for Education (or #GAFE) earlier this school year, and I *LOVE* it!  We've had some solid "teachable moments" re: appropriate/kind use, but for the most part, it has really been a start to a broader transformation of our technology use.  We're movin' on up the SAMR scale!

And Google Apps alone is pretty cool, but not the end!  I have been starting to explore scripts and am going to try my hand at a little programming this summer.  Here are my favorites so far, plus a few hopes for things I haven't found yet:

1.) Doctopus was the first script I tried, the very same day we launched GAFE at school.  I was about to go out of town for a conference, and my students had an essay due the Friday of the week I'd be gone!  Doctopus let me set up a folder with one document shared with each of my students, each with the skeleton outline for the essay.  This helped me enormously in keeping all those essays organized, and I was able to comment to my students while out of town!  My students also each shared with two peer editors and with their parents (each set to "comment only" so mom and dad couldn't over-edit!).

Doctopus also has a gradebook and commenting feature, but I haven't played with that one yet.

2.) Flubaroo is a script for creating automatically-graded quizzes in Google forms.  As a science teacher, I don't really give many multiple-choice or other computer-gradeable quizzes, but many teachers at my school do, and we're looking for solutions outside of our current LMS - Moodle - for giving and grading those quizzes!  Flubaroo could help us move away from the one-stop LMS into a more GAFE-focused online learning environment!

3.) AutoCrat is a mail-merge script that I just found, and can't WAIT to try!  We exclusively use narrative reports for our kids... No number grades, no letters.  I've found that this can actually make ongoing feedback to parents tough... I give kids narrative comments for all major projects - formative and summative - and haven't found an easy way to transmit those comments to parents so they understand how their kids are doing along the way.  Hopefully with AutoCrat, I'll be able to mail merge comments from a spreadsheet so each parent can receive the feedback specific to their kid, as a "heads-up, here's how much your child is rockin'!"

4.) A fourth script that I want, but haven't found:

Giving narrative comments for each assignment, I *WANT* to have one comments spreadsheet for each project/assignment where I can enter each comment per kid.  However, I also want a comments spreadsheet for each *kid,* so they can have one place to look for all of their comments from all of their projects/assignments.  I feel like this would be pretty easy to put together, so that might be my GAFE script project for this summer!  It might even be as easy as playing with Queries, but I need some tinkering time...

What's your favorite Google Apps script to use in the classroom?  Or what's a script you *wish* someone would make?

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