As the start of the new school year approaches it is the administrative tasks that can bog us down in a pit of doom. The challenge has always been for me, how to create recurring events in the calendar which take into account the professional development days, holidays, breaks etc etc etc. In the UK my life was simple I had a two week timetable which just restarted every other Monday. Now that I’m in Canada my life isn’t so simple, 6 day cycles, 9 day cycles, a whole plethora of periods, its just impossible with recurring events.
I was hoping that Google would come up with a solution as part of the Apps for Education suite, but they haven’t got anything to offer apart from recurring events. So at the GAFE bootcamp in Montreal in December last year James Petersen and I set out to try to rectify this. Our solution is not that pretty, but it works, and it is modular, it allows you to add attendance into your calendar, to track students, whatever you want to add on its possible (if you are happy to find or create it).
We essentially created a spreadsheet which with the help of a few scripts and formulas, takes your classes, cycle days, holidays and professional days and assigns each one a time and date, and then pushes this information as individual events to your calendar.
To get started you will need to open this document and choose one of the methods:
- Intermediate allows you to configure everything yourself
- Beginner gives you everything in a pre-configured format.
Make a copy of the Google Sheet that you are going to use (the links are in the guidance document).
Once you get going follow all of the steps in the initial document. You will find that you simply have to make a few changes within a spreadsheet, tell the sheet what class you teach of which cycle day, and mark in your holidays and Professional development days. We recommend if you have days which are anomalies, that you mark them in as a holiday and then go and edit that event after you have pushed the events to your calendar. We also recommend that you create a new calendar for your timetable, this way if you make any mistakes then you will be able to delete the calendar, rather than spend hours going through and changing each calendar entry!
Finally if you find that you want to use a different number of cycle days, or you need more periods you can do that by watching this YouTube video:
You can find out how it works here:
Some people have experienced an issue with formMule on install of the script. The error states that “Cannot find function createDecoratedPopupPanel in object UIApplication”. This occurs because Google Updated their script library and removed decorated pop-ups. To fix this, either copy the sheet again if you are using the beginner version, or re-install formMule if you are using the advanced version.
If you already have the calendar set up you can fix it manually by doing the following:
- In your google sheet click on Tools > Script Editor
- Choose formMule from the list
- On the left choose formMule
- Use Ctrl + F or Cmd + F to open the search box, and search for decorated
- remove the word decorated from the script and then save the script by clicking on the picture of the floppy disk
Andrew Stillman explained the process here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1glUBjquor79HEzNmTTFuEK44yIFPlDttgo55u3y59Pk