Yesterday we discussed Algorithms so today I’m going to introduce you to a great one from New Visions called autoCrat. Just like Doctopus, it connects to your Google Sheets as an Add-On and automates a process to help you in the classroom.
March 2nd – autoCrat
Way back on January 4th I mentioned autoCrat as an Add-On for Google Sheets, well almost two month later it gets its own post! autoCrat is a powerful mail merge like program that can be used to merge information contained in a spreadsheet with a PDF or Google Doc and share with anyone. This can be a very powerful tool as you are trying to automate your classroom.
autoCrat (the lowercase and camelcase is on purpose – it’s a programming thing) can take the information contained in a column, and place it into a PDF or Google Docs where ever you designate using double brackets (<< >>) this way you can create a form and instantly email users back as you form fill their answers.
I’ve used this tool in a variety of situations, mostly for “Do Now” quizzes at the beginning of class to quickly check what the students are understanding from the lessons (typically a review of the previous lesson). They answer a quick 5 questions and I have a “answer key” already created and then I form fill their answer into it and quickly send it back to them. I’ve also used it to remind students when they sign up for events and send them feedback when students fill out a Google Form on their work. The New Visions creators have a great Screencast of a how to and Amy Mayer does a 6 minute video on how to work it.
1.) Create the Merged Doc – once you have an idea of what information you are collecting, create a blank document with <<bracketed>> places to fill from your form
2.) Create the Google Form to collect the data
3.) Add the “Add-On” into the Google Sheet and follow the instructions from either of the two videos above
4.) Sit back and be amazed at the ease and efficiency you now control!