Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Discovering the Power of Autocrat


We've reached the point of the year when there are many school and classroom celebrations happening. Along with those programs comes the responsibility of creating individual certificates. But, instead of hand typing all of the names and numbers in by hand, let Google do the work for you by using a fantastic add-on known as Autocrat. In short, this is an add-on for Google Sheets that takes data from a column (or row) in a spreadsheet and merges it into a Google Doc. By far one of my favorite add-ons, the steps below outline how it can be used in the school and how it can ease your workload.

Getting Started

In order to get the most out of Autocrat, the easiest way is to begin with a Google Sheet. Create your headings that your data will flow into. Once that has been created, fill it with the appropriate data.This can be hand entered or copied and pasted in from numerous other sites. Having this information clearly labeled and organized will make it easier for Autocrat to run.

Dressing up the Data

Looking at a spreadsheet isn't the most appealing thing. However, creating a destination for that data in a Google Doc or Google Slides presentation will ensure a professional look. This is where you can create a certificate, form letter, or other design that can easily import the data from the Sheet to its desired location. The way this is done is through the use of a Merge Tag. An example of a merge tag is "<<Date>>." You will notice that the data is set in between the merge tag signs. Having that on a Google Doc or on a Google Slides ensures that all of the data in the "Date" column of the Sheet will flow into that location thanks to the merge tag. Continue this for all of your other data entries, and the project will be complete in no time.

Integration with Google Forms

The beauty of Autocrat is that is can be used across several different platforms. For example, using a Google Form would be an easy way to gather data. If you're collecting names that way, spelling will be ensured correct, and the list of data would auto-populate. Then, once all of the data has been entered and submitted, create a Google Sheet from the results. Then, by using the merge tags in whatever Doc or Slide you're working on, the documents and/or certificates would be created.

Autocrat Uses in the Classroom and School

Feedback Form - This could be used for administration as well as teachers. If there are certain items you're wanting to make feedback on, typing them in a Google Sheet may be easier for data collection and having them centralized. Then, Autocrat can make individual copies of everything in order to chart that data.

Project Choices - If students are completing a Google Form ranking their project choices, this could easily be turned in to a list using Autocrat.

Certificates - This is probably the biggest use of Autocrat. Create a "template" and then lwt Autocrat flow in whatever information you have desired.

Form Letters - Need to send a letter home to students full of individual data? Set up a template and let Autocrat merge it in.

Reminders - Use Autocrat to merge form data and dates to create the perfect reminder letter to send home with students.

As mentioned, Autocrat is easily one of my favorites add-ons because it has the ability to streamline things so well in classes and at school

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