Happy Valentines Day! With love in the air, I’m going to feature a Google Sheets Add-On that I love, Doctopus.
February 14th – Doctopus
New Visions for Public School is a network and series of schools in New York City that help all students get the education they need. They focus on Professional Development, creating Blended Learning Communities and their amazing CloudLab that develops add-Ons for Google Drive products like Docs, Slides and Sheets. CloudLab has developed a few solid Add-On’s including autoCrat, FormMule, formLimiter and many others (that can be found on their website or searching in the Add-On’s section on any Google product) but Doctopus was the one that really put them on the map.
A large part of Computer Science is getting a computer to do what we can naturally do. If we can shuffle a deck of cards “using math” (as one of my students once said) then we need to figure out that same process for a computer to shuffle the deck (including variables and comparing the card in hand to another card, etc…) Doctopus takes the human act of handing out papers and digitally recreates it into the students Google Drive folder – but even better? The teacher is the owner so students can never “lose” it or delete it.
Over the years, Doctopus has been reformed and updated so it’s always difficult to keep up with it, but as long as you understand the basics of what it’s trying to accomplish, you’ll understand the changes as they happen. I’ve created another short video walking through the steps, but here they are outlined:
1.) Create the doc you want to hand out. This can be an editable Google Doc/Slides/Sheets/Drawing or a PDF that you want the students just to have access to (think unit/regent review sheet).
2.) Gather students firstname, last name and email address (easy to take from a Google Classroom if that is setup).
3.) Add the Doctopus Add-On and start the extension running.
4.) Follow the steps (this is where the video is handy).
5.) Enjoy the process of having handed out the work digitally.