Fluco Toolbox: Draftback

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to view revision to a document over time? Review changes students have made to documents to check for plagiarism or cheating?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Draftback

First, the basics:

Name: Draftback
URL: bit.ly/2R95NBK
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Play back the revision history of a document from its creation to the final state. A great way to check for cheating/copying in students, but also a great way to check progress over time.

Draftback is an extension that can be added to the Chrome browser. This extension will then appear as a button in Google Docs. It can also be disabled from Docs and activated only by clicking on the extension’s button in the browser. Draftback will show a video history of all revisions that have been made to a document. It also will create revision video snippets that can be viewed as well.

I found this extension while browsing r/Teachers on Reddit and immediately saw that it would have use for any teacher that assigns essays or research papers. Teachers would be able to easily see the revision history played back to them, as long as they have access to edit the file. For some, this may be easier than viewing the document’s version history. Plus, it creates a more fluid visual aid for checking the history.

To get started, use the link above to install Draftback as an extension. Give any necessary permissions. A button will now appear in any loaded Google Docs file


Clicking this button will create a visual rendering of all changes to the document since its creation. As you can see in the image above, the document I selected has gone through quite a bit, more than I would have expected!


Once rendering is complete, the option to view the finished rendering becomes available. Take some time to watch one…it’s fascinating to see the document being created! The visual view makes it very easy to see the sections that were copy and pasted. The document I selected had pieces I’d copied over from an older document, and I could easily pinpoint those changes.

Need a visual snippet of the changes to share with others? In the upper left of the screen is a blue link to “Begin Extraction for Embed”


Click this link, and then press play. The link will update as the video history plays. Pause at any time to stop recording. Then click “Finish and Publish ### Revisions” An embed code will appear. This can be copied and pasted onto a site. However, tucked in the embed code area is a blue link “Preview embed”. Click this to open a new tab. The link can now be copied and used for demonstrations.


Need even more data about a document’s revision history? In the upper right corner of the original Draftback link, click “Document graphs and statistics”. A new tab will open. Here, a chart showing editing appears, but the information at the bottom of the page is even more valuable. A listing of all revision sessions is available, along with the length of each session, the revisions made, and who made the changes. If changes are made later on, make sure to re-render the visual by clicking the button in the document.


Hopefully, this will be helpful to a lot of teachers! It really has a lot of potential, and is a great way to check student workflow on documents.