Friday, February 19, 2016

An Interactive e-Library of Student Work Using Google Apps

This post describes a Google powered system to showcase digital student work. It allows a school to collect and display published student pieces for the whole community or for each class. The process is centralized, so students only have to submit once to publish in both places.

Awesome Table
This is an Awesome Table build. For step by step information on using Awesome Tables, you can reference one of my recent posts or use the official support site. In this workflow, submissions from the form directly feed the Awesome Table. The table is formatted by an HTML template stored on the “Template” page. The questions not used in the template (Teacher, Genre, and Topic) filter and sort the table. The HTML template requires three variables: a link to the published document, the document title, and a link to an image representing the document. The published document can be anything with a web address. I used Flipshack to publish our Google Docs and copied the shared URL from there. The image representing the document is less intuitive.

Batch Process PDF to JPGs
When my older students self-publish, they’ll screen capture the covers to make an image file.  I prepared eBooks for two grade levels (2nd and 3rd) and using a screen capture for each one would have been a laborious option. Instead, I used a tool named PDF to JPG to easily batch processed the book covers into JPG images. Once the images were ready I uploaded them to a Google Site so that they had a static web address.

Creating Multiple Tables for Different Classes

The main form response sheet is used for our library website, creating a sortable Awesome Table for all submitted work. When work is submitted, the student’s teacher question is used by the spreadsheet to organize student work into class pages via a query. The query is easily customized by anyone using the sheet, simply add your teacher’s names to the formRanger variables sheet. Then, click cell B1 of each class page to select the appropriate teacher for that page. Simply copy the class page to add classes. Don't forget to add these names to the teacher question in the form, I recommend using the formRanger addon it keep it updated ;).

Future Plans

As it's currently designed, this system is meant for teacher submissions. I can foresee using some kind of moderation, like the FormMule powered process used in the Book Review Site, to make student submission possible. I’m also impressed by the expanding cards on this Awesome Table demo. I would love students to use this feature to introduce their work. Like everything, this is an ongoing project and I’m excited to see what the next iteration looks like. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.