Okay, I'm going to warn you now, this post is going to be pretty geeky. I think using autoCrat in general, is a certain level of geeky, this will take it to a whole new level.
In case you don't know, autoCrat is a mail merge system that is an add-on for Google Sheets. It integrates with Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets to produce auto-filled Docs or PDFs. It is a great way to give feedback to teachers, show students completed work from forms, auto-fill certificates, the possibilities are endless.
I have been using autoCrat a lot lately for walk-through forms and giving feedback to teachers. I even presented a session at a Google Summit on autoCrat. However, I have been fighting with a feature of autoCrat for about a week, the Dynamic Folder Reference feature. This feature would force copies of a Doc or PDF into specific folders, based on some information populated into the spreadsheet by the form.
I had watched videos (most of which showed an older version of autoCrat), read tutorials, and done some research about it in order to try to get it to work for a project. Every time I though I had it, it failed to populate the documents into the destination folder. But yesterday, I finally got it. With a combination of tutorials and instructions, I hope to put together what I learned for you, step by step.
The first few steps will be basic autoCrat directions, but will then move into specifics. The video will also show you step-by-step how to use the Dynamic Reference Folders. Here is what I've learned:
Hopefully the video below will also help clarify any questions you may have.
I've thought of a few uses for this including, but not limited to, separating form responses for each student or teacher, specific classes or other times where you want to share the specific folder with the person, but not everyone else.
Hopefully you can find a use for the Dynamic folders as well.
Recently I was asked to compile my learning from a semester's worth of instruction into a presentation. I began by writing a 8ish page document about what I had learned. Then, I took the document and paired it with a series of pictures that matched my thoughts. They changed about every few seconds to create a visual representation of my words. I felt good about what I had to say about my learning and the images I had found to pair with it.
My next step was to record it, so I used Screencastify and began to record. Screencastify is a Google extension that allows you to record your screen, highlight specific parts of the screen, write with a marker tool as you go, and embed a webcam. It's a great tool for making instructional videos. One of the limitations of Screencastify (the free version) is that it only allows you to record 10 minutes at a time. So, I started recording. At 10 minutes, I hadn't finished reading what I wrote, the video cut off, and I was exhausted listening to myself. I didn't want to finish reading it or force anyone to listen to it. I felt like this:
With a deadline looming, I knew I had to make a change. The product I had attempted to create wasn't engaging and wasn't cohesive. I had droned on for 10 minutes and could care less what I had to say.
I started looking for tools, to create a more engaging product. I landed on PowToon. Below is the video I created.
I was pretty pleased with the product I created. Using PowToon, I was able to create a professional-looking, succinct presentation that was more engaging. It was a bit of a struggle to learn the platform; some things that are easy in Slides and other platforms, aren't as easy in PowToon.
Below are some of the things I found to be pros and cons of PowToons.
Give it a try, let your students give it a try. Be creators of content, not just a consumer. I am sure you will have your own pros and cons as well.
EdPuzzle is one of my favorite tools for Flipped learning. It allows teachers to hold students accountable for watching a video and thinking while they watch. You can embed questions throughout the video for students to answer. It will store the answers for you and grade the multiple choice questions.
Below is a video I made for my Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment class as a preview for how it works.
Instructional specialist/coach, Google Certified Trainer, Level 1 and 2 Google Certified educator, Ed Tech Team Teacher Leader Certified, growing and learning