Sunday, October 5, 2014

Google Sandbox: a Google skills testing application

In September 2014 the Russian Google Educators Group has launched a Web application “Google Sandbox” that is used to teach our new educators basic Google skills, such as creating a Google account, sending messages with Gmail, sharing documents with Google Drive, performing Google search on texts and images, creating Google sites. The Web application is built as a Google Site enhanced with a Google Script and contains 16 tasks with instructions. To begin using the Web application, which we called Google Sandbox, a learner is supposed to authorize the script.

For each task we have an instruction, explaining the way it should be performed. After reading the instruction the learner is supposed to perform the task (send a message to a designated address, create and share a document with another user etc) and then run a checking procedure with a button that starts a script. The script checks if the learner has actually performed the task. If the task is performed correctly, his data is written to a Google spreadsheet, and the learner receives a notification. If he has done a mistake he is suggested to read the instruction again and redo the task. The learner has completed the Google Sandbox only if s/he has fulfilled all the 16 tasks correctly.

At the moment we have been testing Google Sandbox to see ways to improve it, optimize  the script and make the instructions more transparent. Of 610 educators who started using Google sandbox more than a half have successfully completed all the tasks. At the moment Google Sandbox is available in Russian, but we have plans to translate it into English after the testing phase is completed on November, 1.