Ahhh, I kid of course. Of all the questions I got asked most often by teachers in our district this year, the top one must have been, "When will we get Google Apps for Education [GAFE, which rhymes with "laugh"] for Shelby County?" (Unlike the public version of Google Drive, no individual can get GAFE; the district has to decide to activate it. ) So, Shelby County took the plunge mid-April, and we have been quietly having teachers activate their accounts over the last few weeks. We won't stay quiet for long, though! We are about to kick off a PD plan based on the "train the trainers" model. First, a school team was chosen by each principal, consisting of a teacher, the Library Media Specialist, the Instructional Coach, and a district person (for example, I am a part of Wright Elementary's team). All of these teams came together and were trained on Google in mid-May (thanks Laura Raganas!) and will lead several days of PD in the first week of June, right after our Closing Day.
When discussing GAFE, one of the key questions that come up is, "How is GAFE different than 'regular' Google Drive?" Let's begin by first addressing the ways they are similar. Drive in both modes still allows you create, collaborate with, and share files and folders. They both have the same productivity apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and others) that allow you to make documents in the cloud in a way that never gets lost and constantly gets saved in the background. However, there are some differences worth noting. Here are some, but by no means all:
- GAFE has an unlimited Drive space per user (compared to 15 GB for the public version).
- GAFE operates in a "walled garden." Besides the typical private/unlisted/public versions of regular Google documents, Sites, Blog, etc., you can also choose that certain things are only visible to users logged into the school domain.
- GAFE users have access to Google Classroom, while public Google users do not.*
- Many of the GAFE users' functions, such as Chrome apps and extensions, can be easily managed and pushed out by an admin console controlling the domain.
All of this info about GAFE is really just to give some context about today's entry. These tools hold a lot of promise in transforming the way we collaborate and teach in our district. One intriguing Google tool in particular is Google Forms, which is unlike Docs, Sheets, and Slides in that there is no direct Microsoft program that is its doppleganger. At its most basic, Forms allows you to compile information from recipients -- this could be as simple as a survey. Share the link and anyone can click on it to get to the Form and answer the questions. When you create a Form, a corresponding Sheet is made where the submissions are automatically organized and saved. That said, it's the ability to use Google Forms as an assessment tool with students that I'm particularly excited about. A survey could just as easily be a quiz and you could use the Sheet to review and grade answers manually. However, what if you had a way to grade instantly, easily distribute copies of a template, and assess using a rubric that automatically attached itself to the bottom of a student's Doc? Then you need Flubaroo, Doctopus, and Goobric. The best part? All three are free!
Flubaroo is a Google Add-on that is done on the Google Sheet where the submitted answers have gone. (Find Add-on's like Flubaroo under Sheets top menu Add-ons > Get Add-Ons. Each Add-on has to be installed with permissions given to run only once; afterwards, your Add-On will be available to run on all future Sheets when needed.) Note that you as the teacher have to submit a correct set of answers via the Form for this to work, as Flubaroo will use this submission for an answer key. Watch this video for how Flubaroo can grade your student's answers. It's very easy and only takes a few times of practice before you will be an expert!
Doctopus is also another Add-on for Sheets. It allows you to take an existing Google file -- for example, a Google Doc -- and easily send copies of it to a series of students from a previously created roster. This in essence makes your document into a reproducible template, where the "copy" version will have its own unique file name that the student can edit without messing up your original, then share back to you for assessment. (Note that Google Classroom does a very similar function.) This video helps explain how to use Doctopus (thanks Jay Atwood!) as well as some general info on Google Add-ons:
Goobric is a Chrome app instead of a true Add-on. Once installed on your Chrome browser, you are ready to partner up with Doctopus. Goobric will take that shared template edited by your student and use a rubric (created by you, or now from a library of pre-made resources) that you can score. This scored rubric, along with written feedback, will be attached to the bottom of the student's copy (IF it's a Google Doc) which means the student can easily see and review it. Now you have a way of assessing more than just multiple choice quizzes; grading essays or projects can be done digitally as well. This last video (again by Jay Atwood) walks through how to use Goobric:
Of course, there are other helpful Add-ons, but hopefully this gives you a sense of how Google Forms can truly change our efficacy and save time. Good luck playing with these tools!
Do you use Flubaroo, Doctopus or Goobric? What do you think of them, and how have you used them? Share your Comments below.
*Although available to all GAFE users, we decided not to include training on Google Classroom next week for two reasons. First, it allows us to spend more training time on other tools. Second, we will get training on a true, robust Learning Management System when one is picked by the district and it rolls out in Fall 2015. Starting next school year, you could decide to use Google Classroom if your students' GAFE accounts are added to the domain.