Teaching & Productivity Tricks from AppsEvent’s Google Apps for Education Conference

I went to a Google Apps in Education conference the other weekend.  It was awesome meeting with such like minded people and being surrounded by positive teaching vibes!  We all nerded out a bit in key note speeches and smaller sessions geared towards using technology to enhance our teaching, classrooms, & general productivity.  I learned about auto-grading, auto-data entry and auto-emails.  There were tricks to help your computer run faster and stay organized.  It was also an opportunity to meet teachers from around the globe and network with big names in the ed world.  I was ballsy enough to get up on stage for a demo slam (2 minute presentation) on Boomerang that won me a nifty laptop backpack.  In 2 weeks I’ll be presenting to my coworkers about a few google tricks and I’ll share the presentation here too.  For now check out my favorites including Flubaroo, Formmule and of course Boomerang.

disclaimer: Google updates things regularly and the exact steps may change.  Also I’m still learning how to use them too.  Comment below if you notice a change, mistake or are having any difficulty!


Boomerang

What does it do: Boomerang is an email tool that allows you to schedule emails and send a reminder at a later date.  Its especially useful for teachers with forgetful students.  Sending a reminder out on Monday about Friday’s assignment?  Boomerang it for Thursday night to remind anyone who forgot about it.
Difficulty: Beginner
How to get it: Boomerang is a Google Chrome extension.  Once in Chrome click on the top right button.  Scroll down to more tools and click on “extensions”  Scroll down again and you’ll find “get more extensions.  In there you’ll find a search bar.   Type in Boomerang.  Click “free” then click “add” and start using it!


Flubaroo

What does it do: Flubaroo is an amazing add-on that autogrades your assignments!  The only catch is they must have data input into Google Sheets.  Lucky for you Google Forms automatically creates a spreadsheet on Google Sheets with answers!  You can set it up to automatically email grades too!
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to get it:  Flubaroo is an add-on for Google Sheets.  You need to open a specific sheet before you can add it by  clicking add-ons on he toolbar.   Click “Get Add-ons” and search “Flubaroo.”Click “free” then click “add” and start using it!

How to use it: The trick with Flubaroo is to make your test first then take it inputting all of the correct answers.   Make sure you have a question for “Name” & “Email.”  Before you use it with students make a practice test to make sure you set everything up the way you want to.  After you’ve given the correct answers go back to the Add-on’s bar, click Flubaroo and autograde assignment.  If everything is working correctly you should get an email with your score almost instantly.  Flubaroo will also make a new page in the sheets with the breakdown for each user.


The Great Suspender

What does it do:  The great suspender protects us all from Tabdageddon!  Okay so that’s a made up word coined but Justin Hardman (who taught me about this awesome extension).  The great suspender will automatically suspend an inactive tab in Chrome so that it doesn’t eat up valuable system resources aka slow down your computer.
Difficulty: Beginner
How to get it: The Great Suspender is a Google Chrome extension.  Once in Chrome click on the top right button.  Scroll down to more tools and click on “extensions”  Scroll down again and you’ll find “get more extensions.  In there you’ll find a search bar.  Type The Great Suspender, add it and follow the installation instructions.


Google Drive

What does it do:  Google Drive is a cloud storage device that allows for easy sharing & collaboration.  I use it on 2 laptops, a work desktop and any computer I sit down at anywhere.  Google Drive allows me to always have my documents no matter where I am or what computer I’m on.  In spite of all that my favorite part of Google Drive is its sharability (and the other built in apps like docs, sheets & forms which you’ll find down below)
Difficulty: Beginner
How to get it:

1) Sign up for a google account.

2) Go to drive.google.com

3) Drag and drop files into it or use the upload button.  Create your own filing system with folders just like you would on your desktop


Google Sheets, Docs, Slides

What does it do:  These apps are effectively Microsoft Office online.  The great thing about them is sharability and collaboration.  Teachers can instantly lesson plans with coworkers, team teachers can share a gradebook allowing two people to input at once and students can share their work with the teacher for easy submissions.  Slides is similar to Powerpoint and used around the world by presenters everywhere.

These all start at Beginner and go to intermediate because of all the options you have.  Use it at the basic level for easy sharing or dive into comments, revision history and more.

One of my favorite parts of this & all of Google Drive is that its accessible from any workstation.  Cloud storage removes the need for you to always be on the same computer.  (I recommend keeping a local copy in case you accidentally delete something)

These apps autosave work so your forgetful students won’t lose everything!

Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate

How to get it:

1) Sign up for a google account.

2) Go to drive.google.com

3) Click “New” and select the program you wish to use.


 Google Forms

What does it do:  Google Forms is an onlnie way to create questionares, tests or simply any form requiring input.  Submissions are automatically input into a Google Sheet.  Its perfect for teachers who’s students have access to technology in the classroom or at home.  Teachers can create quizzes, surveys and more.

Google Forms is also useful for anyone wishing to gain feedback from their audience.  Its a free, easy to use system that automatically correlates your data.  The great thing is there are add-ons like Flubaroo, FormMule & AutoCrat which can auto grade, email and more!

Difficulty: Intermediate
How to get it:

1) Sign up for a google account.

2) Go to drive.google.com

3) Click “New”

4) Select more and then click “Google Forms”


Formmule

What does it do:
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to get it:  FormMule is an add-on for Google Sheets.  You need to open a specific sheet before you can add it by  clicking add-ons on he toolbar.   Click “Get Add-ons” and search “FormMule .”Click “free” then click “add” and start using it!

How to use it: One advantage of FormMule is its use of triggers.  You can set different email responses to different people based on how they answer your form.  It sounds tedious now but you can send a different email to boys & girls or based on age.  As students get older you can send them based on their academic focus or even based on low grades.  Before you even pick a trigger I recommend writing your email responses as a separate Google Doc.  Use  <>>  for tags.  For instance:

Dear <<firstname>>, tweet

Thank you for submitting the form for your child’s field rip to <<location>>.  This is a confirmation that your form has been received.  Please wait for confirmation that <<cost>> was received to confirm <<child’sname>>’s spot on the trip. tweet

You will have to type the email into Autocrat but it allows for personalized emails based on different tweet

FormMule will then ask you which columns are for each tag.  Don’t worry its a smart program and will match most of them!  After selecting the triggers select however many templates you have, preview one last time and send!


AutoCrat

What does it do: Autocrat is another mail merge.  That means it can automatically send out emails based on your Google Sheet.  That also means it can automatically send out emails based on responses to your Google Form!  Autocrat will do some extra sorting for you and allows you to type the email directly into Sheets or Autocrat.  It has a few different options from FormMule but I haven’t quite figured out the advantages to either one yet.  Let me know if you know!
Difficulty: Intermediate

How to get it:  Autocrat is an add-on for Google Sheets.  You need to open a specific sheet before you can add it by  clicking add-ons on he toolbar.   Click “Get Add-ons” and search “Autocrat.”Click “free” then click “add” and start using it!

How to use it: Autocrat allows you to type a standardized email based on a response from your form.  It will personalize the email by using the $tag ahead.  Follow the instructions within the merge and enjoy some of that free time instead of typing up individual emails 🙂

Mr Mike

2 thoughts on “Teaching & Productivity Tricks from AppsEvent’s Google Apps for Education Conference

  1. Thanks it was a pleasure to have you at the summit. It went so well we are repeating it this year so hopefully you can come back and present this time 🙂

Leave a Reply