Spark Suite Add-ons for G Suite

September 26th, 2017 Uncategorized

Hub and Deck: The Two You Need

With the Spark Cards, we can create an instructional sequence for our students to follow. The Add-ons of Spark Suite automate this sequence and make it easy for teachers and students to focus on what matters: their ideas and your feedback. Imagine two forms: one for learners to submit their artifacts of learning, and another for teachers and mentors to respond with their feedback. Teachers and mentors can also leave points or trigger a “rewind” if they want the learner to reiterate on their work. This idea wouldn’t be necessary in a classroom with a single simple project, but our goal is inquiry.. We want to give our students voice and choice. We want to give them options, and perhaps increase the number of opportunities to learn and display leadership. Spark Suite is more than a few apps, it’s a way to organize the critical Feedback Cycle that is a key component of inquiry. Let’s begin by focusing on the two you need: Spark Hub and Spark Deck. Go ahead and take a minute to add these Add-ons to your account.

Begin by creating a folder in your Google Drive to keep your files organized. Inside this folder, create a fresh Google Sheet to be your Spark Hub. Open this sheet, select “Spark Hub” from the Add-ons menu, and give a name to your project initiative. Selecting “next” will install Spark Hub on this sheet. A menu will present itself, with a video on how these functions can help you manage your project initiative. You can close the menu, but keep the tab open for quick reference later.

Next, create a fresh Google Sheet for every Spark Deck in your instructional plans. Select “Spark Deck” from the Add-ons menu and fill out the form and click Submit. This will partially fill out the sheet with information. Resist the urge and do not edit anything in the grey cells! Fill in the blue cells with information about that particular Spark Deck including Card TItle, Guiding Statement, type of card, and the email of the person who is going to assess the student work for that card. When this is complete, return to the Add-ons menu to run Spark Deck again. This step will complete the installation by creating a form for students to submit their work. Each card will have a unique link and this can be found on the last column. You can share the first link with your students, but keep the rest a secret. They will be automatically sent to them at the appropriate time. This will force your learners to stay on the path you agreed upon when you created the Spark Decks.

Last step! Take the URL of each Spark Deck Sheet and list them in the first column in the ‘Spark Deck’ sheet of your Spark Hub. You will know that you put it in the right place because the column is shaded blue. Open the Spark Hub menu and select “Add New Spark Deck”. This will complete the link between the two sheets. They will pass data back and forth, facilitating the feedback cycle. You can add as many Spark Decks to your Spark Hub as you wish. We haven’t found a limit yet, but we estimate that these add-ons will work fine up to 200 projects.

The Others You Want

Hub and Deck are a streamlined pair, but we wanted to make something for teachers who love to get down to business! To keep Hub and Deck fast and reliable, we separated a few key features that can really boost your project initiative. Each of these is very simple to install. Simply copy and paste the Spark Hub URL into the right place, and the rest is automated. Here is a quick run-down of your options

 

Leaderboard: Calculates and displays a leaderboard sorted by point total.
Badges: Displays a point total and badges/awards to a user. Also can include project status.
Feedback Hero: Will list every submission assigned to a mentor or teacher that is waiting for their feedback.
Project Tracker: Will display a table for every project with a list of students and their progress.
Community Builder: Promote leadership and excellence by displaying the best student submissions for each Guiding Question or Statement.

 

Badges and Leaderboard work hand in hand. Create a fresh sheet and activate SSG Leaderboard from the Add-ons menu. Paste in the Spark Hub URL and you are good to go! Every hour, this sheet will pull data from your Spark Hub, do some accounting and sort with the highest point total at the top. By default, column “C” is hidden, but feel free to unhide it to display the completed projects for that user. Share this sheet view-only with at the level you see most appropriate. Link-sharing across your domain is the most common setting for this sheet.

For your students to view their Badges, you will need to open the Spark Badge script, written in Google Apps Script, and make a copy. Change the name in the same manner you would any Google Doc, Sheet or Slide. Locate line 4 and paste in the complete Leaderboard URL between the ” “. You can do the same with the Spark Hub URL, a project title, and the homepage for your project initiative. Especially if you are new to GAS, be very careful that the first and last characters of your inputs are quotation marks. For example:

var badgeSheetURL = "https://drive.google.com..." 
var hubURL = ""
var projectTitle = "Fall Semester PBL" 
var sparkSiteURL = "www.robbinshs.org/pbl" 

*hubURL refers to the Spark Hub URL, which is optional for Badges

The last step requires that you “Deploy” your Badge script as a web app. This might sound complicated, but is the easiest thing you will do today:

  1. Look in the menu under “Publish” and select “Deploy as web app”.
  2. Find where it says “Execute the app as:” and change it to “User accessing the web app”.
  3. Find where it says “Who has access to the app:” and change it to “Anyone”.
  4. Select “Deploy”

You will be greeted with a URL link to your new Badge site. Post this link for your users, and they will be able to see their point totals and accomplishments with the click of a button.

Feedback Hero works almost exactly like Badges. It is a script written in Google Script, and needs just a few bits of data to do it’s job. Open the Feedback Hero script and make a copy. Change the name in the same manner you would for any Google Doc, Sheet or Slide. Locate line 4 and paste in the complete Spark Hub URL between the quotation marks. You can do the same with the project title and the homepage for your project initiative. Again, be careful to include quotation marks at the beginning and end of what you pasted. For example:

var hubURL = "https://drive.google.com…."         
var projectTitle = "Fall Semester PBL"
var sparkSiteURL = "www.robbinshs.org/pbl"

The last step requires that you “Deploy” your Feedback Hero Script as a web app.

  1. Look in the menu under “Publish” and select “Deploy as web app”.
  2. Find where it says “Execute the app as:” and change it to “User accessing the web app”.
  3. Find where it says “Who has access to the app:” and change it to “Anyone”.
  4. Select “Deploy”

You will be greeted with a URL link to your new Feedback Hero site your teachers and mentors can use to keep up with the submissions that need their feedback.

Project Tracker is a Google Sheets Add-on that makes it very easy to see student progress on a given project. Activate this Add-on on a fresh Google Sheet and paste in the Spark Hub URL. While installing, Project Tracker will create a sheet for each project and with a table that displays the steps (or cards) and a list of participating students. Once every hour, Project Tracker will fetch data from the Spark Hub and place a student’s given score in the appropriate cell to indicate progress.

Community Builder is a Google Sheets Add-on that collects and displays examples of student submissions as selected the teacher or mentor. Activate the Add-on and enter the Spark Hub URL. When it is finished installing, Community Builder will create a separate Google Sheet from a template for each card or assignment. Once an hour, it will search through the Spark Hub for submissions marked “For Promotion to the Community” and add them to the appropriate document. This is useful for learners to see quality examples of student work.

Spark Suite connects learners, teachers and mentors by organizing the data they need to be effective participants in the Feedback/Reiteration Cycle. See it in action and reach out to us at SparkSetGo.org/support for answers to your questions.