Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Managing Google Docs in the Classroom

Saturday was a terrific day at EdCampMe. It was a great chance to hang with some friends and chat about meaningful ways to educate children.  One of the questions that came up in a session I was in is something that I get asked a lot.
 "How do I manage my Google Docs with so many  documents coming in from so many students?" 
Teachers love how easy it is to collaborate with their students, not having to worry about losing the file  and all the other bonuses that using Docs brings, but tracking down assignments can be a nightmare.  I've covered this before from the teachers perspective and the students perspective here, but I'll run through  how I do it step by step.

Step 1) Students create a new Collection for the class and title it: Subject - Name
For example: Science - Johnny

Step 2) Students then share the Collection with the teacher.

Step 3) You make a new Collection called Period 2 or Science or whatever makes sense. Finds the student Collections (in the lower left under Collections shared with me.) Drag them to your newly created Collection.

Step 4) Click here to copy the Assessment Collector Google Spreadsheet. (You must be logged into your Google Account.)

Step 5)  Embed the form into your website. Don't have a website? Think about using a student as a webmaster.

Step 6)  Once you edit the names of the assignments and students have entered the links to their assignments, you can filter by period and assignment.

Then use the built-in Viewer tab.

This allows you to view, comment or edit the Google Doc, Spreadsheet or Presentation 'handed in' without ever having to leave the window. You can then click NEXT through all the collected  assignments.

An important aspect of this process is that the students are sharing work in a way that teachers can edit while simultaneously building their own collection of assessments.

Step 7) One limitation of the viewer is that it only reads URLs that begin with http not https. So, you use the Find and Replace feature built into spreadsheets, or if you're a little adventurous set it up to do it automatically.  The script to do this is already included, you just have to turn on the Form Submit trigger.

Step 7a) Select Tools > Script editor
Step 7b) Select Resources > Current script's triggers...

Step 7b) Click  No triggers set up. Click here to add one now.
                      Change On open to On form submit and click Save

Step 7c) Click Authorize > Click Close and Exit that tab.

This means whenever a student copy and pastes a URL that starts with https it will replace it with http.

Why can't it just be turned on when you take the copy you ask? 
Because of the possibility of nefarious users sharing malicious code with you.
This way you have to authorize the use of the script.