Extending Google Drive for the Classroom

Over the last few years, I’ve experimented with a variety of ways for my students to submit their work online for marking. Most have revolved around the use of Google Docs / Google Drive, but I have dabbled with Schoology, Edmodo and Turn It In. At the end of the day, I’ve always gone back to Google Drive, since I already have emails set up for students.

However, one of the big bugbears with using Google Drive has been the sharing of files aspect. Usually, I share a file, ask my students to make a copy for themselves, edit it, rename it, and share it with me. Students being students, any one of these steps missed stopped the workflow. Forget to make a copy – students edit the master for everyone! Forget to rename it – I have 30 documents all with the same name, causing a nuisance in my drive. Share it with me – there’s nothing like sitting down to an evening of marking and finding three students haven’t shared it, or have only given me view rights. Aaaargghh!While I’m not intending to go “paperless” as such in my classroom, I do want to use Google Drive as much as possible for the submission of work. So I did some digging, and I think I’ve hit some gold!

In short, I’ve found some great Google Drive scripts that seem to do most of the heavy lifting for me. The following descriptions come from the respective websites:

  • gClassFolders – a free, Google-Spreadsheet-based add-on for Google Apps for EDU that creates class folders for students and teachers to simplify and streamline their experience of using Google’s world class productivity and collaboration tools in the classroom.
  • Doctopus –  gives teachers the ability to auto-generate, pre-share, and manage grading and feedback on templated Docs for group and individual projects.  The script allows teachers to harness all the awesomeness, ubiquitous access, and collaborative authoring power made possible by Google Docs without creating a document management nightmare.  It enables improved workflows for sharing and organizing with students, as well as tracking progress and providing feedback.
  • Goobric – allows for rubric-based grading of Google Drive resources (Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Folders, etc.) and –currently– only works with resources created via the Doctopus Script for teachers
  • Kaizena – giving voice feedback is faster with Kaizena than a word processor, and far faster than red pen. Every feature is designed to save you time, because fast feedback is high quality feedback.

So far, I’ve used gClassFolders to set up all my students’ dropboxes, and it worked like a dream.

The following YouTube tutorials and Google Hangout webinar were very useful to me in learning more about these. I’m looking forward to implementing these for my students this year!

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