This weekend I attended Edcamp Madison. While there, I learned so much and connected with so many great educators. One of the best sessions I attended was Google Scripts presented by @tamorten and @Barganzs. They both did a fabulous job teaching a room filled with different technology experiences. Let me try to teach you a bit about scripts…

Scripts: Think theater, not code!

The first thing I think of when I hear the word scripts in conjunction with google is a page full of Java script and the movie Hackers. I couldn’t be more wrong. Google scripts are more akin to the kind directors give to actors. In the script gallery you will find tons of scripts you may install on your spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will act as the director and run the scripts that you have installed.

While I consider myself tech savvy, this new understanding of Google scripts made me feel more comfortable with using them. In short, no coding means that I can start using today! Think about adding a google script to increase your workflow!

Doctopus: My Favorite Script!

If you’re using Google docs with your students, Doctopus will change everything. Doctopus allows you to create assignments and have Google make the documents for the students with permissions and sharing correctly setup. I will try to show you some examples.

How to set up:

  1. Start by making a Google form. Ask students to fill in following: email, first name, last name and class period. This would be good to collect for a general use throughout the year. You can have the spreadsheet auto collect the email if students all have an account at your district. For the class period I would have them select from choices, don’t make them type it in, this would make it messy later on.
  2. Give form to the student.
  3. Then go into the response sheet and see the data you collected. Click Tools—->Script Gallery—->Add  Doctopus
    Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 12.52.22 PM
  4. Now click on Doctopus button:
    Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 12.56.05 PM
  5. Walk through the steps to create all sorts of assignments.
    Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 12.56.21 PM

Once setup Doctopus will add some columns to your spreadsheet: (See Black Columns)
Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 12.43.24 PM
Here is where I really saw the power of Doctopus. Not only did it copy my template document with the directions to each student, it named each file the same way Students first name – assignment name! In the spreadsheet it gives me a link to each students document that Doctopus is put in a designated folder.

Column H – Last updated is a column that refreshes every five minutes and shows you the last time the document was edited.

Column I & J – Here I can put a grade for the student and feedback. When the project is finished, I can click the button “Send personalized emails to students to get their grades and feedback.As seen above, you can “Embargo for grading” can help with due dates on assignments. This sets the students document to view only for them while you grade.



Final Thoughts

Doctopus has so many other features that can streamline your work flow. Another example, it can create documents for groups. Add a column in your form for group names. Then select to create docs that are editable only by group members. Crazy! All I can say is it is worth checking out. There are also so many more scripts that increase workflow for teachers. A great website to learn about scripts and other PD related posts is!

The presenters at my sessi0n said “One hour of learning with scripts will decrease hours of work time in the future”. The question becomes can we afford not to look into scripts? Go ahead, stop reading this page and create your first form and add Doctopus to it! With all the time you’re going to save join us at on Tuesday Nights at 9 CST on #VidED.