Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goobric: Doctopus' (And Your) Best Friend

In a previous post, I explored the very handy Doctopus script and how it could be used to assign work to students, help provide individualized feedback to students, and send email notifications once the assignment has been graded.  I have learned about another extension called Goobric that helps to facilitate the grading process using a rubric that you have already created.  This is how my spreadsheet looked once my assignment was created in Google Forms and Doctopus was installed:

If you wish to use a rubric to assess your students' work, the rubric can easily be added.  The Goobric extension must be added, installed, and authorized in Chrome before you can use it.  In the Doctopus menu, you will see an option to "Attach Goobric":

When you click "Attach Goobric", the extension will walk you through the installation and authorization process, as well as provide information about what format your rubric should be in.  You will then select a Goobric (your self-created rubric) to add to the assignment.  Here's mine:

Now, here's the neat part!  Once your self-created rubric is added via Goobric, it automatically loads the rubric into your spreadsheet:

When you click on an individual student assignment and then click on the Goobric icon in the navigation bar, the rubric is loaded into the assignment, which also contains fields for entering grades:

Pretty handy!  Now you can enter grades, provide comments, and send an email with the rubric score to the student.  When you enter a score in each row, the appropriate cell for that score is automatically shaded in.  Once your scores are submitted, they are saved and pasted at the end of the student assignment.  The student scores are also added to your spreadsheet, both in the original tab and in a new tab called "rubricScores".  If you like, if your rubric is equally weighted, you can also easily add a formula into your Google Spreadsheet to take an average of the scores that were issued and calculate the overall student grade.  Here I've added that formula into the "Grade" column:

Have fun with Doctopus and Goobric!  They are truly great tools that help with organization, grading, and communication.  How have you used them thus far?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

[Insert School Name] App

A few weeks ago, I detailed my first adventure with app creation.  Knowing that my staff and I were going to have to ramp up our implementation of the Common Core State Standards and also knowing that states across the country have already created tools to facilitate implementation of the standards, I developed an app, CommonCoreResources, that is intended to organize and identify the many tools that are being used across the country.

To build the app, I used The App Builder, which is a very intuitive and user-friendly tool.  To be truthful, most of the work involved was in gathering information and planning the layout, not in actually building the app itself.  With the minor exception of having to insert some HTML code into text fields to insert links, the tool contained absolutely everything I needed.

The CommonCoreResources app provides some reference points for my staff within the larger context of a professional development program.  It was only when the dust settled on this effort that I began to realize some other potentially promising opportunities for a school app.  A Willard School app, which has been completed and is awaiting launch, offers the following:

  • Much like the CommonCoreResources app is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all things Common Core, the Willard School app serves a similar function relative to information about Willard School.  Any announcements and upcoming events can be shared with the school community and updated immediately.
  • The app provides increased communication and contact with our school families.  While I make weekly calls to parents to provide an overview of the upcoming week, the app provides our families instant access to any school-related information, whenever they are looking for it.  It ensures our doors are always open to them.
  • Although I am looking at Schoology as an exciting option for our school's Learning Management System (that offers a plethora of communication options), the app also provides increased contact points for our staff, both with our families and with each other.
In short, there are lots of benefits for having an app for your school.  It is fairly easy to create and update using The App Builder.  I'll keep you posted on how the app is received by the school community once it's launched.  Also, the logo above was created using the InstaLogo app.  Design elements are particularly challenging for me, and although a bit pricey, the app did produce exactly what I was looking for with minimal hassle, which made it worth the cost.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


In a previous post, I explored the script Flubaroo and how it streamlines assessment creation and grading in Google Docs.  Flubaroo and Doctopus were both buzzwords that I initially heard about from other tech friends.  They seemed like things I should learn and know about, so at a recent conference I attended a session on Google Docs and the Common Core presented by Mark Fijor.  At the session, I learned enough about Doctopus to know that I needed and wanted to know a lot more.  I finally had a chance to explore a bit with Doctopus and see just how helpful it can be in distributing, collecting, and organizing content in Google Docs.

So what is Doctopus and how do you get started?  Doctopus is a script that can be added to a spreadsheet in Google Docs that can help you assign work to students and send email notifications to students with your grades and personalized feedback.  The first thing you'll need to do is create a class roster (with emails for notification) in a spreadsheet in Google Docs:

  Create your assignment in Google Docs.  Create a copy of your class roster spreadsheet (preferably with the assignment name in the title:)

Next, create a folder with the name of the assignment.  Now, you are ready to insert and install Doctopus:

Once installed, Doctopus will walk you through four steps to get set up.  Step 1 establishes how to want to share your assignment: groups, individually, individually but differentiated, or whole class:

Step 2 prompts you to choose what to copy and distribute by identifying the file you want to share, which is preferably stored in assignment folder.  Step 3 asks you to choose your destination folder and to set up file naming and notifications.  If you have set up a folder already (in a previous step) simply use that folder name for your assignment, and establish naming convention for the submitted student assignments, e.g., Student Last Name + Title, etc.  There is also a prompt for the email notification subject line and a personalized note to include with the email message.

Step 4, the last step, reviews your settings and gives an overview of notification email.  When you click "Run Copy and Share", the Doctopus script runs, and the spreadsheet opens with links to the students' work, when it was last edited, and adds columns to populate grades and individualized feedback that can be emailed to students.  You can also attach a Goobric rubric to the assignment (which I will probably investigate in greater detail in a future post.)  As a way of visually summarizing all of this information, I created the following semi-flowchart in the Explain Everything app:

I am definitely excited about sharing Doctopus with my staff.  It seems as though what Flubaroo was to multiple-choice and true-false assessments, Doctopus is to extended- and constructed-response assessments, as well as a valuable tool for Google Docs organization!