Monday, February 9, 2015

Doctopus is the new gClass?

...admittedly, I am perhaps the last to know.

I love(d) gClass Folders and how it ‘streamlined the workflow’ (obnoxious industry term) for teachers and students.  Are you new to both?  

In a nutshell:
gClassFolders is 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.  source

My explanation:
gClass Folders was a script in Google Sheets that took the names & emails of your students and created folders for them.  If you had more than one class you could group the folders by class and prep, and if you had a co-teacher you could add them.  It created folders that allowed you to share docs with an entire class to view and/or edit.  It gave students a place to turn their work in & gave teachers an organized way to keep their students’ assignment folders.  No more worries about misnaming folders, docs or forgetting to share with the teacher(s).  It saved a lot of time in class.  Plus setting up the folders was easy & took only a few minutes.

Recently I had several teachers with new classes for semester 2 want to set up their gClass folders like they did last year and even this past Fall. We realized then that gClass Folders is a script that is no longer supported.

I understand that the movement is to Google Classroom, but Google Classroom isn't for everyone and there are teachers who love gClass and have been using it for over a year. It’s tough to change how you collect assignments (your workflow) in the middle of the year.

Enter Doctopus.  It’s the new gClass.  But better.

In a nutshell:
Doctopus makes it easier for teachers to share, organize, and assess student work in Google Drive.

Its tentacles copy and "hand out" Drive files to a roster of students, giving teachers full control over starter template, sharing configuration, folder organization and file naming, as well as full visibility over all work in progress -- including the ability to bulk revoke and revert student editing rights.

Created by a veteran teacher, Doctopus is built with teacher workflow in mind -- taming complexity and unlocking the power of Google Apps for differentiation and collaborative projects.  source

My explanation:
See everything above. AND here’s what makes it better: you can add an additional script called Goobric to assess student work.
Doctopus does much more than I'm writing about here - this post will explain how to use Doctopus like the gClass Folders script.
Doctopus was developed by Andrew Stillman who works with New Visions For Public Schools.  If you need more than my tips & images below --and you’re looking for tutorial videos-- please go to this aforementioned site; Jay Atwood did an amazing job explaining how to install the script step by step.

Tips for creating folders:
  • One class per sheet - they recommend using a single class - no more than 40 - per sheet
  • What you “name your roster” is what you’ll call your class (e.g., Life Science 1B) & will be on all of the folders
  • Click & unclick “Create Class Folders” to move forward and see what your folders will look like - it must be a temporary glitch in the script

  • You can stop here; you only need to do steps 1&2 to create folders for kids to turn assignments in - the additional steps are directions for how you want Doctopus to distribute documents to all of your students.  Since this isn’t how most of us have students get worksheets for class (we generally use Moodle or a website & link assignments there) you can click the “x” in the upper corner and close out.  However - if you have a co-teacher you’ll add them in Step 3.
  • New student?  Absent student the day you collected emails?  No problem!  Easily add their information to your roster and re-run step 2 of the script.

Tips for helping students obtain/understand the folders once they’re created:
  • Your students will get an email when their folders are created.  BONUS - different from gClass, Doctopus sends instructions in the email to help students move the newly created folders from ‘Shared With Me’ to ‘My Drive’.  Instructions!  With links!  This is SO helpful <3

  • If you need a little more instruction for your students here is the part in Jay Atwood’s Doctopus tutorial video where he explains what a student should do once the folders are shared with them.
  • When students turn in work they’ll add their assignments to the folder in their Drive (‘My Drive’) that is labeled ‘Class Name - Lastname, Firstname’.
  • Note: Correct me if I’m wrong - but when we set these up for students the folder that the students add their assignments in was already in their Drive.  When they click “Add to My Drive” they are actually nesting their class ‘view’ and class ‘edit’ folder inside of that one.  I don’t know why it is like this.  It’s a little different than the tutorial video that shows Jay’s student with three separate folders (similar to gClass; a ‘turn-in’, a ‘view’, and an ‘edit’).  At this point I don’t see this causing problems.  You’ll just need to remind students which folder they turn their assignments into.

Coming up soon: Integrating Google Classroom AND Doctopus.  WHAT?  I need some time to process this.  In the mean time, here is Jennie Magiera’s most awesome screencast explaining the process.