A wee while ago Tim Gander asked me if I would be interested in being part of a TeachMeetNZ for physical educators. I had heard of TeachMeetNZ but had never made the time to sit down and watch one live and the idea of presenting something in a short time frame appealed.
The theme was ‘Innovation in PE for 2014’ and being a reader of Tim’s blog (NZ TEACHnology) I straight away thought that something to do with Google Apps would be cool, so decided on a Google Apps script called Doctopus that I have been using this year.
On the actual day, just before the hangout (NZ TeachMeets are conducted using Google Hangouts) I was getting quite excited and nervous! As this wasn’t quite a ‘normal’ TeachMeet as one of the participants (Julia Breen) was at the PENZ Learning Conference in Auckland, so there was a room of people watching the hangout as well.
We started at 3.30pm on the dot. I was the third to present (after Aaron Mead) and probably went a bit over time. It was a bit odd not being able to see the people I was talking to and this threw me a bit. However, the technology worked fine, presentation went well and I was buzzing afterwards.
I was buzzing about the experience for the rest of the day. How cool to be in Wellington and be presenting alongside others from around the country (Paraparaumu, Gisborne and Auckland) and streaming live to who knows how many via Google Hangouts and YouTube (Google hangouts can be steamed live through Youtube as well). The Youtube recording is also on the TeachMeetNZ wiki.
Twitter was also very activity during the hangout – #TeachMeetNZ & #PENZ.
As I mentioned my presentation was about Doctopus, which is a script that automates functions within Google Apps. I first found out about Doctopus from Stephanie Thompson at EducampWLG in May, who uses it and others scripts with her students.
I had been stressing out about how I was going to explain Doctopus in a few minutes until the night before when I did a Google search and found this post – Let Doctopus unleash the power of Google Docs. Thanks to the power of Twitter I asked and got the okay from JR Ginex-Orinion to use parts of his Google presentation. I think it is a good visual representation of something that isn’t easy to explain without actually running the script and seeing it in action.
So, it you use Google Apps and want a easier way to manage documents with students, have a crack at using Doctopus. Also, have a look into the other scripts that are available to help you with your management of Google folders, and documents – Top 10 Google Apps Scripts for Education. Google+ Communities – gClassFolders, Apps Scripts for Education – Builders and Users.
On the TeachMeetNZ PENZ page you will find the YouTube recording as well as links to all presentations. Here is mine presentation, the last slide has a few links to videos and ‘how to sites’ for Doctopus.
Here is the Google Hangout link.
Thanks to Tim for the invite and to Sonja van Schaijik (@vanschaijik) who organises and coordinates the TeachMeetNZ sessions. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in either a TeachMeet or Google Hangout, I would highly recommend it. It was great to be part of something new (ish), learning focused, technology based and exciting.