Tuesday, April 23, 2013


In looking ahead to the 2013-2014 school year, I still find one very large and expensive item remaining from my teachers' initial needs assessment/wish list for their classrooms from this past school year: a teacher laptop for every classroom.  Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, different models and features, and with all sorts of bells and whistles.  As I explored, I discovered Chromebooks, which seem like a very attractive option for a number of reasons.  The Samsung Chromebook tops out at $249, meaning I can obtain one for each classroom very inexpensively.  The options for collaboration through Google are exceptional, and everything is backed up to Google Drive.

So what's the tricky part?  No Windows operating system.  No Microsoft Office!

Enter Google Docs.

Google Docs, where you can create an assignment or assessment in Google Forms, have the responses load into a separate spreadsheet, and use a script named Flubaroo to grade the assignments, generate reports, and email results to students and/or parents!  The following video provides a concise and effective overview of the features of Flubaroo:

Flubaroo actually saves the teacher significant time in grading and provides multiple options for data use.  It functions flawlessly with multiple-choice and true-false questions.  Open response questions are trickier.  For example, if the correct answer to a question is "6," a student response of "six" will be marked as incorrect.  Similarly, if the correct answer to a question is "George Washington," any variation on spelling and/or grammatical conventions will also result in a wrong answer.  Perhaps that's a risk we're willing to accept, but forewarned is forearmed.  In the meantime, I am eager to share this tool with my teachers!  I think it will make our work a bit lighter and potentially even more effective.

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