Think about the last time you bought a car. As you were going through the process, your salesman probably started discussed the “options” you had to add on to give you all the bells and whistles to make driving as pleasurable as a Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercial. Whether you enjoy heated seats, alloy wheels, built in navigation, or even wifi you can build your car to fit your needs. Google has a plethora of add-ons that can enhance your technology experience, and the best part is most of these features are free to use.
If you are unfamiliar with add-ons, do not worry as add-ons are simple to use and many are premade for you. As educators, we have specific practices that are effective and research based. Google add-ons make many of our practices more efficient decreasing the time a teacher has to spend on managerial processes. Who couldn’t use a little extra time in their life to spend with their family or have more time planning engaging lessons for their students?
As an assistant principal, one of my favorite add-ons is called autoCrat. This feature allows me to communicate with my entire student population and parents individually. Our school uses positive behavior intervention support and I have moved our school-wide behavior monitoring system to an online format. To ensure parents are receiving timely feedback, I use autoCrat to send individual reports home electronically. All the parent needs is an email address. Of course, if a parent does not have this access a paper copy is provided. This one feature allows for increased communication between the school and the parents as well as keeping behavior rating scales private. The key to making this a success is collecting parent emails at the beginning of the year. If you have blended families or children living at different homes, you can easily add extra space for multiple emails to communicate.
The following video displays simple steps to set up an autoCrat merge using google docs:
AutoCrat is a quick tool to begin using add-ons withing google docs. I would recommend exploring Alice keeler’s Webpage that gives you free access to a variety of tools you can implement in the classroom immediately.
Do you want to learn more about add-ons and how you can use them in your role as an educator? Find me on twitter. If I do not know how to do it someone in the #edchat realm will be able to guide you.