Friday, May 23, 2014

gClassFolders and Doctopus

Now that elementary students in Mason City CSD, particularly in the 3rd and 4th grade, have Google Drive accounts, teachers and students will be able to "go green," save time, collaborate, and many more endless opportunities!

With such a large class load, I wasn't sure how to save time when "sharing" a Google Drive app with multiple students, while also not lose the original document.

Initially, I started out creating a "template" of either a Google Doc, Google Spreadsheet, or Google Form.  Then I would "make a copy" of that "template," followed by renaming the Google Drive App (doc, spreadsheet, form, draw, etc.) with not only the document title but also include each student's assigned number.  Then I would click and drag to combine that particular Google Drive App into a class folder.  After doing this for three sections of 2nd grade on a particular unit, I was getting annoyed and frustrated with this time-consuming task.  Also to mention it was starting to "burn my eyes".

I knew there had to be a way to save time and steps, but how?!

That is when gClassFolders and Doctopus came to the rescue!

I had heard of and read about gClassFolders and Doctopus from a few blogs, but it was Mason City Community School District software supervisor and PowerSchool Administrator Doug Abbas who asked me if I have heard about gClassFolders and Doctopus, and offered to help me set it up so I could actually implement it into my library skills classes.  This is also a great opportunity for me to try it out, learn about the features, and then share this valuable tool with colleagues!  After using it the first time, I was immediately sold and eager to promote gClassFolders and Doctopus!

gClassFolders and Doctopus are extremely user-friendly, easy to use, and a major time saver!

It is important to set up gClassFolders first.  gClassFolders allows the user to export information from the school district's information about students (in Mason City's situation, this would be PowerSchool)  in each graduating class.  This information would be the student's first name, last name, and Google Drive account.  Once information is exported from PowerSchool, it is then imported to gClassFolders, which allows one to set up class rosters, as these class rosters will be used in Doctopus, an "add-on" in the Google App store for Google Sheets.

To learn how to set-up gClassFolders, check out .  To learn even more about gClassFolders, check out .

Once the gClassFolders are set up, then it is time to "install" Doctopus as an "add-on" in the Google App store for Google Sheets.

Click on this link  to learn how to install and operate Doctopus.

Check out this YouTube video to learn more about Doctopus!

Check out the pictures and screenshots I have taken of what I have done with gClassFolders and Doctopus!

Setting up gClassFolders is the first thing that must be completed!  This screenshot indicates gClassFolders is set up, using Google Sheets and appears in "My Drive" on Google Drive.

I recommend creating a folder within "my drive" for those assignments that I will be using with Doctopus.  This picture is a screenshot of the folder I created titled "Student Assignments Spring 2014."

Within the folder I had created (see step above) to house Google Drive Apps that I share out using Doctopus, then I created other folders for each student assignment,. within that folder!  This is a screenshot picture showing three assignments I have shared out with students, using Doctopus!

A few days ago, I blogged about 4th grade students using Google Drive and CultureGrams to research, summarize, and take notes for a report about a country.  You can click here to read all about it.

To expand upon how I have used Doctopus to "share" a Google Doc, I am going to use "Country Notes Form 4th Grade" as an example for the rest of this blog.

Once a folder is created within the folder designated for Doctopus shared assignments, then you are ready for the next step.  In this folder (within the overall Doctopus folder), the document you plan to share out AND a Google Sheet (spreadsheet) must be in that folder.

Here are screenshots of what the Country Report Notes Doc looks like that I shared out with 4th grade students!

Here is a screenshot of the Google Sheet (spreadsheet) I created using Doctopus!

Some awesome features of the Google Sheet with Doctopus is...

  • You can enter the student's grade and feedback on this spreadsheet, and it will immediately be included in that student's Google Doc that was shared with them.
  • With one click on the link on the spreadsheet, you can access the student's document.  This is a great way for organizational purposes and saves time!
As one can see, Doctopus is an awesome "add-on" feature!  It is definitely worth using, especially when dealing with multiple class sections and many students!  I highly encourage the use of gClassFolders to set up your class rosters, in order to make it a easy, user-friendly, and a major time-saver for Doctopus!