First launched in 2011, Flubaroo now has hundreds-of-thousands of installs with 41,000 active monthly users (March 2016). And it was a major influencer towards Google EDU's recent launching of "Quizzes in Forms".
Here are some recent stats on Flubaroo's impact based on 6,800 survey responses of K12 users/teachers:
The Flubaroo Team
Flubaroo was created and is maintained by part-time teacher Dave Abouav. It's also largely supported (via the support forum) by volunteer Joe Schmidt. Learn more about both below.
Dave Abouav is a Google Employee and part-time physics teacher. He started and maintains Flubaroo as a "20% project" at Google for the benefit of overburdened teachers everywhere. Dave lives in Mountain View, California with his wife, daughter, and 2 dogs.
Joe is a retired I.T. professional who volunteers his time to help teachers all over the world with their technology troubles. At this point, he's answered thousands of questions from users across the globe. He says he's blessed to be able to help Flubaroo users, and that "it beats gardening". Learn more about Joe in his own words.
If you're a Flubaroo user who's interested in how Flubaroo got started, please read-on!
The Story of Flubaroo:
In 2009 I was teaching a night-class in physics for the first time at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, CA. Overloaded with work to create lectures, exams, and homework, I didn't have time to also grade homework for 60+ students. Since it was a survey course for non-STEM majors, I decided that multiple choice homework could work. I had recently been introduced to Google Forms by my friend (and rockstar teacher) Roni Habib, so it seemed like a good fit.
Lecture hall where I first taught
I used a script on my home computer to compare all submissions to an answer key, and generate HTML output which I shared with my class like this:
Roni suggested I make this available for other teachers, whom he thought would definitely benefit from it if I could make it easier to use. I figured maybe there were 10 other community college teachers out there like me, and that it might benefit them. I love building things, so I set out to make it a reality.
Like any good tool, this one needed a name. My wife and I were at the time watching old re-runs of the Cosby Show for nostalgia's sake, and I overhead the use of the made-up word "flubaroo" in one episode. I liked how playful and approachable it was, and found that flubaroo.com was available. I now had a name and began work.
I worked on Flubaroo in my own spare time, but not long after was lucky enough to join Google in January 2010. Once there, I was able to secure "20% time" to work on Flubaroo a few hours per week. The first version of Flubaroo (never released) was a website that looked like this:
It mostly worked, and I even demonstrated it to an early group of Google Certified Teachers at Google in 2010 to much excitement. But for many technical reasons I decided to redo Flubaroo as a Google Apps Script / Add-on. Here is one of my white-board sketches from an early planning session:
Flubaroo officially launched in February 2012 (after a year of part-time development). It's first iteration was a Google Apps Script you had to install:
I was incredibly surprised by the rate at which Flubaroo was adopted by teachers. I recall the shock and surprise early-on when I found out that it was being used 20 times per day, and that someone had even made a YouTube video about it! Also surprising was how many different uses teachers were finding for it. Among these surprises were the use of Flubaroo in lower elementary grades and the use for adult training and certification (firefighters, traffic school, fair workers, etc).
As Flubaroo became more and more popular, I began dedicating more time to it. I eventually worked my way up to 1-2 weeks each quarter dedicated solely to its development.
Flubaroo development day in the "Coffee Lab" at the Googleplex.
Creating and maintaining Flubaroo has been the biggest joy of my career and the professional accomplishment I'm most proud of. It's very fulfilling to think about the many hundreds of thousands of teachers (and students) I've been able to help and make a difference for. I thank Google for the opportunity to work on it on company time, and those teachers and colleagues who I've closely collaborated with in its development. Special thanks goes out to Joe Schmidt for his unfailing support of teachers in our support forum. And thank you to all the users who have faithfully and zealously evangelized it!!
An amazing gift from a group of CUE Rockstar teachers