There's a lot of learning happening in today's classroom and in turn lots of discussion of how we can best showcase that learning for the students' and teachers' reflection on their practices. The buzz word has become digital portfolios! There are many reasons a digital portfolio is a useful way to showcase what is happening in the classroom and no one reason is the best.
You have many teachers wanting to focus less on grades and more on conceptional learning and what better way to still have evidence of how your students' are accomplishing this then by having each individual create a collection of their best work to showcase to parents, teachers, students, and the public alike!
Project-based learning is another great concept in education that has been gaining momentum and by using a digital portfolio you can easily collect and display all the great work that was happening throughout the project as well as the end result. A great example of what project-based and more specifically, student-led, classrooms and digital portfolios can look like lives in Paul Solarz' classroom and website. Check out his book Learn like a Pirate to learn more about his awesome strategies and all the great work he is doing with his students.
Post-secondary education prep has become so crucial in our education system whether that is college or another trade. Using digital portfolios to help students create effective resumes for college or other institutions.
These and many other reasons are great justification for the use and practice of digital portfolios. The question then becomes which tool or medium is the best way to create digital portfolios for students. These suggestions below are not a fully comprehensive list, but should give you some ideas on how you could get started or modify your own version:
Thinglink- This website allows for easy creation of interactive pages that students can link various resources or digital media to in order to create of collection of work that can be easily shared with others.
Google Drawing- If you are using Gsuite then you can mimic a tool like 'Thinglink' with Google Drawing. Students can place text or images on a Google drawing page that can then be linked to other student work. An awesome AMS 6th grade teacher, Mark M., has instituted this method with his own class with great results.
Google Drive- Another simple way to collect student work. Create a folder in a student's Google drive that can have sub folders for various subjects. Students can then simply drop in work they would like to be part of the portfolio and keep a collection going throughout their time in school. Though the collection is easy some downfalls are effective ways to display the information once collected, ability for students to reflect, and the easy of saving items that aren't savable file types, like a link to a web resource.
Google Sites- Gsuite users should definitely take advantage of the easy and beautiful new Google Sites as an option to create great looking digital portfolios. Websites are great ways to collect a body of work, provide reflection, and showcase it to the public and in the case of Google sites, the sharing permissions can be locked down for younger students who aren't quite ready to be fully out into the internet.
Weebly/Wix- Much like Google sites, Weebly and Wix offer easy to use platforms to create beautiful looking websites that can be used as digital portfolios. They both have very simple interfaces that allow for quick editing that doesn't require a lot of website building experience. Students can collect all types of work and post on the website One of the AHS Business teachers, Sheri S., has her students create websites to help build their 'brand' and use as a piece of an application or resume.
Adobe Spark- This is a great suite to make a lot of different web-based projects and the ability to make a digital portfolio is definitely one of those options. Accounts are free to create and gives you the ability to make videos, pages, and posts. Be sure to check it out for portfolio options or just a great tool to create digital media.
Blogs- There are so many tools out there that can help you blog. Google sites, Wix, Weebly (which you are currently reading), and many others all have options to add a blog section and there are specific tools that pare down a full website to a simple blog interface like Blogger or Wordpress (also a robust website creator). A blog works well for a digital portfolio because it allows a place to collect work, provide reflection, receive feedback, and share with the world.
As I mentioned earlier this is a short list and in no way the full quiver of tools and programs you could utilize to create a digital portfolio, but they are a great place to start! Please comment below any tools not mentioned that you have had experience with creating digital portfolios or just your thoughts on digital portfolios and their benefit in education.
Being an avid GAFE (Google Apps for Education) user it only makes sense that I utilize Gmail as my email service of choice. With my district being a Microsoft user before starting the transition to GAFE the move to Gmail as an email option was not easy. Systems we have in place to connect our voicemail to email (Unified Messaging), and our Active Directory to manage and create user accounts made a jump to Gmail difficult. With some convincing (and obvious needs in a GAFE world) our IT department enabled dual delivery to Microsoft Exchange and Gmail and has started to put systems in place to sync the accounts so Gmail use could be more wide-spread. If we are going to be all in on Google then we needed to be able to use the communication tool that works best with the rest of the suite!
Below are some of the settings, add-ons, and other Google tools that I've found useful in making Gmail work for me:
Inboxes- You have the option to sort your mail into multiple Inboxes or change the format of your inbox entirely to help keep you organized. You can have 5 inboxes working at once (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums) I found using that many to be a bit overwhelming and even more difficult to keep track of all my messages. I ended up settling with just using two (Primary and Social) to keep some of my messages sorted, but not beyond retrival. You can also change the type of inbox you use to change how messages are displayed and if you'd like to give more priority to messages you've marked important, haven't read yet, starred, or a combination of all your sorting options.
If you haven't already, definitely go play around with all your Inbox options to find the right combination that supports your work flow and organization.
Labs- Gmail offers many experimental features called "Labs" that you can enable to enhance your Gmail experience. I have found a few favorites that I think make my Gmail experience more enjoyable:
"Preview Pane" is a great lab that creates a preview screen of your messages and simulates many other mail clients view. I like the ability to see an entire message every time I click on a message so this lab is a must for me. It also helped many of our Microsoft Outlook users ease into the transition from Outlook to Gmail.
The "Unread message icon" is a very simple lab that provides a quick visual in your Gmail tab of how many unread messages you have in your inbox. If you're like me and have multiple tabs open all the time the ability to quickly view if you have any messages is a great time-saver.
If you're using Gmail then you are probably using Google Calendar to keep track of your schedule. The "Google Calendar Gadget" is another useful lab that brings your schedule easily into view in your Gmail tab. No need to switch tabs to check your calendar, simply check the bottom left corner of your Gmail tab to see your availability.
Labs are constantly being updated and changed, so try not to get too attached as they may change or be removed at anytime. Don't let that stop you from finding and using great additives to your Gmail experience. Labs that do really well often end up becoming permanent features.
Boomerang- I love this app/add-on for Gmail! Boomerang allows you to easily send messages at a later date, "Boomerang" messages back to your inbox in a designated time frame, if none of your receipts have opened or clicked the message, or if no one has responded to the message. It's a great way to get a bunch of emails done on the weekend or evening, but schedule their delivery to a high traffic time when you know they'll be seen.
The other piece that proves really useful is the Boomerang Calendar element. If you are in a position like an Edtech Coach, and are constantly scheduling appointments via email then you will really appreciate the clarity this option brings. Now with the click of a button in your email you can insert your schedule over the next couple of days or week and even give the recipient options to pick an appointment slot that will then register on both your and their calendars. Events already scheduled simply show up as "Busy" to keep information confidential.
*Pro Tip- Make sure when you have all day events scheduled in your calendars you designate whether your are 'available' or 'busy' as that will affect how they show up in your email via Boomerang. If you have an all day event scheduled as 'busy' then you will see a block covering the entirety of that day as opposed to marking it 'available' if it's simply a reminder of something happening that day and you have other items on your agenda.
There is both free and pay for versions of Boomerang you can opt to use and depending on your needs as an individual or organization you may find the extra features and functionality necessary
Google Calendar- If you are using Gmail then you shouldn't stop there! Take advantage of the compatibility with Google Calendar to keep your schedule organized and easily accessible. Sending and accepting event invitations is quick and seamless when using both Gmail and Google Calendar. Tools like Boomerang and labs like Google Calendar gadget (mentioned above) are great add-ons that really take advantage of the two tools together and can up your productivity. View your calendar in day, week, month, 5 day, and agenda views depending on your preference. Multiple calendars can be created and shared with others to help sync up schedules. When your calendar is too overwhelming you can temporarily turn off specific calendars to help you focus on important events. One of my favorite options is the 'Tasks' feature which lets you create a list of tasks that will display on the right side of your calendar and if you put a due date on a specific task it will also be inserted on that day in your calendar. Google Calendar has enough meat to it to warrant its own post, but just know that using it in conjunction with Gmail can really boost your productivity and keep you organized.
So there you have the reasons I'm all in with Gmail. As I said earlier, you can't fully take advantage of everything GAFE has to offer unless you use it all. If you are an avid Gmail user and have any additional advice or great tools to enhance your use please leave them in the comments below.
The more you work with Google Apps for Education, the more quick hacks and tricks you find to make them work best for you. As much as we all love GAFE, no tool can do it all, and you need to be adaptable in order get things done that help you and your students succeed. If you're like me, you been shown, and discovered, some quick tips and tricks for many of the GAFE components. I thought I'd start a list (that will inevitably grow) of some of the ones I've found most useful:
1. Force copy - Unless you are handing something out through Google Classroom you've probably run into the trouble of making sure other people are making a copy of your work and not editing your original or have trouble with the process of copying. Use force copy to shorten the process and ensure the recipient has a editable copy of your document all to themselves. All you need to do is replace the end of the link from your edit screen with the word 'copy' and copy that link to anywhere easily accessible to your desired audience.
I have used the force copy link to share out templates with students and to allow professional development participants easy access to documents they can customize or take notes on. You can use the force copy trick for just about every GAFE tool (Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Drawings) So stop worrying about outsiders ruining your documents and start spreading the love!
2. Tables in Google Docs - You are probably familiar with the ability to insert tables in a Google Doc, but have you redesigned the purpose of this ability? When first implementing Google Docs many teachers jumped at the chance to create digital worksheets, but quickly had issues with where the content created by students should go to make the activities easy to view and provide feedback for. By creating a simple 1x1 table underneath a question you require a written response for, you now have a text box that will grow with any amount of content and keep answers organized on the page.
No need to stop at a 1x1 table. Inserting a mute-cell table enables you have students respond to more complex questions and help continue developing critical thinking questions and answers.
3. Page size in Google Slides - Adjusting the page size in Google Slides is a quick and easy way to adapt the standard presentation format into something different and engaging for the students. A simple change to 8.5in x 11in will create a great magazine template that can be easily shared and worked on by an entire class.
One of our AHS English teachers used this formatting trick to create a wonderful literary magazine (Nepsamerg 2016) that her students were able to quickly and easily edit and publish. The formatting made basic graphic design easy for all students and enabled each one to put a personal touch on the final product.
4. Google Slides backgrounds in Google Drawings - If you have really taken on the use of Google Slides as a presentation and student-work tool in your classroom then you need to take advantage of your ability to customize the backgrounds using Google Drawings. Change the page size to match your slide and create a slide background that cannot be manipulated or erased by another user (unless they change the background as a whole...). This is a great way to make assignments using Google Slides that can be shared out via Google Classroom.
Make sure once you have created an image you want to use as a Slides background that you download it as an image file type (preferably a .jpg or .png) or Slides won't recognize it as a viable option.
5. Pre-filled Google Forms - Are you using Google Forms to collect all types of information from staff and students? In the case when you want to collect some individual information, but also have pieces that will be the same for anyone submitting you can utilize pre-filled forms to get what you need and keep a consistency for certain questions. Our district has found this extremely useful when creating registrations for in-district courses for staff. The pre-filled Google form creates a great roster that can then be shared with HR.
This is used in my district to have staff create registrations for in-district course offerings that require rosters for HR. Course Instructors can then easily collect information from interested staff members while keeping some of the important information for HR consistent.
6. Photo editing in Google Drawing - Photo editing can be complicated, but if you're in need of basic and simple changes insert you picture into Google Drawings for a quick way to resize, crop, fade, brighten, contrast, or recolor.
This skill set is very similar to creation of Google Slides backgrounds mentioned in trick #4. One thing to remember is to make sure to download the file as a photo (.jpg, .png, or .svg) in order to have it be recognized by other programs as an image.
7. Limiting Sharing Options - When you want to share a document with your colleagues or the world you may be hesitant to put it out there for anyone to take share with others or create their own copies and use your work without giving you credit. Recently added are two options to limit others abilities to share you documents. When you go to 'advanced options' options you can now select to "Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people" and "Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers".
These options are great for sharing sensitive information that you would only like a specific group to see or safely sharing others work with a larger audience without the worry of work being taken without permission.
There you have a few ways to get the most out of your GAFE tools. The more we use GAFE the more ways we find to make sure they work best for our needs. I have no doubt that I'll be updating this post with more tips and tricks as time goes on, but if you have any that work for you, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
I have written about the autoCrat add-on before in my "What Google Sheets and add-ons can do for you..." post, but I really wanted to spend some time diving into the great ways myself and my district are using this versatile add-on to help automate, streamline, and uniform how we format and share information from our Google Apps for Education (GAFE) with our staff. The process of autoCrat is really just a version of a mail-merge tool, but with the added power of GAFE, (specifically Forms, Sheets, and Classroom) you are really able to create and maintain a workflow that better helps the transfer of information between everyone.
I have used it many times with my co-integrator, Anita Moose (@amooseIT), in order to create and share certificates of completion for our technology-based professional development with our staff. This process has allowed us to use an existing roster of participants collected from a Google Form registration and create custom certificates that serve as record of participation, completion, and in-district credit. We also then have a spreadsheet containing all the relevant data and links to the certificates to share with HR in order to qualify staff for salary advancement and keep their records digital and searchable.
Anita has used autoCrat to create progress reports for middle school students as they self-evaluate on a rubric designed to evaluate character using Google forms. Grades 5th-8th are enrolled in a Google Classroom per grade-level and expected to complete the self-evaluation each quarter The results are then pushed to a running progress report that is printed and included in report card envelopes sent home at the end of each quarter to help students see their progression throughout the year.
Our district has started to move several of their processes to a digital/GAFE format and we again found great use for autoCrat. With the large amount of professional development opportunities our staff take advantage of during the school year and summer, we wanted to streamline the process of approving relevant PD and keeping track of completion. All approvals are now done through Google forms as well as completion certificate submissions. This makes record keeping for our District office much easier and a quicker turn-around for teachers and staff to have the information they need.
So now you can see how much autoCrat can improve your workflow. If you are a Google school you need to start taking advantage of this FREE add-on and become far more efficient with how you can collect, format, and share information. There are lots of great tutorials out there, but below you will find one that walks through the latest version of autoCrat by Brent Coley that is well done. Please don't hesitate to contact me for help getting started with autoCrat and feel free to comment below on great ways you have found to use this amazing tool!
I'm a big fan of the EdtechTeam and the great ed-tech PD they put on for educators across the country and even world-wide. In last month's post I showcased a local summit my colleagues and I put together, modeled after the EdtechTeam summits I have attended in the past and gained so much knowledge about effectively using technology to enhance student learning and teacher delivery of content using all the great edtech out there.
This year I decided to take the plunge and put in a proposal to present at the 2016 Breckenridge summit. I submitted two proposals because I hoped they could find one of them worth accepting and then I was surprised with an email letting me know that both had been accepted! It was exciting and nerve-wracking to be selected to speak to fellow educators about what great things you've learned and worked with that could help them. Just like teaching a group of students you want your presentation to be engaging, informative, differentiated, and useful, which we know are not always easy to put together in one neat package. My topics were customizing Google Chrome and Google Forms, two tools I had a lot of experience with and had already discussed with my own staff many times. I put together two presentations that I tried to overload with information to enable advanced folks to work ahead and beginners to continue to digest well after the summit.
The summit was fantastic and as always I walked away inspired by the people I met and learned from, and with a head full of new great ideas to bring back to my own district. When it came to presenting, I think the biggest take-away is to not be afraid to put yourself out there and engage with your peers. Fellow educators are always so appreciative and excited to learn from one another and there is a recognition that we are all in the same boat and just want great things to make our students more successful and our teaching more dynamic. That sense of community and desire to continue life-long learning is what makes summits like these so successful.
Below you will find my two presentations which you can feel free to copy for your own learning regarding Forms and Chrome. Take a look and don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Diving Deep into Google Forms looks at the customization that can be done in the old Google forms and what your options are in the new Google Forms. Take advantage of all the great advanced question features and add-ons to really make Forms an amazing tool!
Making Chrome Work for You is a quick guide to how you can customize the Chrome web browser to work for you and use the multitude of apps and extensions to work smarter, not harder.
If you have access to GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and haven't taken advantage of Google Classroom yet, what are you waiting for?!? Classroom is a great way to organize a Google workflow with your students without the headache of trying to manage sharing options for Google apps back and forth.
Being one year removed from the classroom since the introduction of Google Classroom I cringe at the thought of the old system I had set-up with my students, attempting to utilizing folders within folders and individually going in to set sharing settings for each folder and document (Ughh!) Now Classroom makes the process so much easier and organized, a completely digital and paperless classroom is not such a crazy idea.
As useful and amazing Google Classroom is for working with students in my role as a Technology Integrator, which involves a lot more staff interaction and training , I have found using Classroom as a conduit for getting information and resources out to fellow staff members is just as productive. Instead of sending and receiving a barrage of emails or losing items in the 'Shared with me' list in our ever-growing Google Drives, the important resources, links, documents, etc.. can be placed in a Classroom that will keep it contained and organized for people to access before, during, and after a training or meeting.
Teachers vs Students: One important consideration is who will be a teacher of the Classroom and who will be a student. The ability for teachers to interact with various elements posted is somewhat limited compared to students. If you want to fully take advantage of some of the collaboration pieces (questions and assignments) you'll need to have the majority of participants as students in the Classroom.
In my district the Technology Team has created a Classroom for each building (AES, AMS, and AHS) and had all the teachers and staff enroll as students. This enables us to easily deliver content and get feedback from all the teachers as well as give them unlimited access to resources, links, documents, agendas, etc.. after we have finished a training.
Most useful elements: There are several components of Classroom that I have found most useful when interacting with peers.
About Section: This section lets you post 'static' information to your Classroom students. Any important documents, links, or videos you feel will be a constant reference should live here. This way participants always know where to get them and won't have a scroll down a ever-growing stream as you post more and more in the Classroom.
Announcements: The announcements are one of the all purpose elements of Classroom. They let you post web links, file attachments, YouTube videos, and Google Docs. This is the go-to element I use when sharing resources with staff. It's a great way to have documents available for staff to follow along with as you're presenting with them.
Assignments: The assignment is a great way to hand out individual copies of a document or resource without the recipient needing to go through the process to make their own copy. One thing to keep in mind is not setting a due date if you're not expecting anything to be returned (this will avoid those late notifications). Assignments with or without documents attached are also great ways to collect items and keep them organized in one place easily.
Questions: The newly created question element of Classroom is a great way to quickly get feedback or promote group discussion. Depending on your settings when you create the question, you can either have answers only seen by teachers to provide anonymous feedback or you can let students see and reply to each others responses creating an online discussion to further any work done in a meeting or training.
Google Classroom has proved to be an extremely versatile tool when it comes to working with students and staff. If you have any experience utilizing Classroom or another edtech tool for alternate purposes leave a comment below and share the wealth!
One great adaption of using Google Docs in the classroom is the ability to transform the way you deliver content. Creating Hyperdocs and Multi-media text sets is a great way to deliver curriculum material, supplemented with the wealth of resources you can find online, especially if you have begun working in a GAFE environment and taking full advantage of Google Classroom.
Don't let the names fool you! They are incredibly easy to create and as long as you put some thought into what your desired outcomes are and what students can achieve they prove to be incredibly effective! I'm a big proponent of working out from the academic standards you are trying to achieve with your students and building a lesson from there. This always helps me keep my goals in perspective and really utilize technology to enhance student learning as opposed to simply shock and awe engagement for using some fancy new tool.
I was first introduced to the concept of Hyperdocs and Multi-Media text sets from working through the new and improved Google for Education training program. They give you great examples of each which you can access here (Hyperdoc and Multi-Media text set) and use as a base to begin to create your own based on your specific needs.
Though I feel these two tools are somewhat interchangeable in their name and purpose I think the main difference to keep in mind is that a Hyperdoc is a digital document used to replace a more traditional worksheet that enables you to add a slew of elements and resources to your instruction to engage and enrich your students' learning. A Multi-media text is more of a focus on gathering digital resources and materials students can use to learn about a particular subject all in one location. Interactive elements or critical thinking questions can be added for students to process or respond to after consuming the content you have curated for them.
Below you will find two images of Hyperdocs/Multi-media texts I've created for teachers in my district to help them teach science and social studies standards. Click on the image to access a fully functional doc that you can copy and use as a template to begin to create your own library of curriculum resources.
Now get out there and start to redefine your teaching and students' learning by taking some time to redesign how you deliver curriculum and accomplish your academic standards. Please comment below with any questions or additional information you may have experienced with using these tools.
One of the biggest buzzwords flying around the education world is "Flipping" the classroom. When you Flip the Classroom you attempt to enable students to learn concepts at home (or anywhere) and come to class prepared to take the next steps in the learning process. This strategy is a great way to cover a lot a content in a limited amount of classtime or re-enforce concepts to individuals or the whole group. You can also differentiate for small groups or individuals.
Edpuzzle is a free service you can sign up for (In addition to email you can use a Google or Edmodo account to register) and create classes/groups that can then be assigned videos from a large list of video databases. (Youtube, National Geographic, Kahn Academy, Vimeo, etc...)
Once you have picked a video with content that meets your students needs you can trim the video in order to focus on specific ideas or content. You can only trim from both ends of a video so be careful of what you are removing.
If you prefer to customize your video's audio you can record your own narration over the video content. If you start your own narration you do have to record over the entire clip so make sure you aren't removing any original sounds or narration you want to include.
Throughout the video you can add audio notes for your students to listen to as they watch the video. They can be added at specific points in the video to allow you to highlight ideas or concepts in the video.
One of the coolest features is the ability to add questions throughout the video at specific points to assess if students are understanding the content they are watching. You have three options: Open-ended, Multiple Choice, and comment. Answers are collected and can be graded and sent back to students.
Finally, you can assign your video to one or more classes/groups and enable or disable your two 'Superpowers' which can prevent students from skipping around in your assigned video and set a due date.
No teacher has enough time in the school day to teach everything, so make sure you're taking advantage of great free tools out there like Edpuzzle to easily flip the classroom and customize learning for students in a variety of ways that can best meet their needs. Comment below any great ways you've used Edpuzzle or any other useful flipping tool.
Last month I wrote a post about the massive potential for Google Forms in education and you can't really talk about Forms without mentioning Google Sheets. Though Sheets is its own application within the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) it is the default collection spot for Form responses and is still the best choice when looking to sort and analyze data you've collected.
When Form data comes into a Sheet it is organized by TimeStamp, Username (if you create it under a organization account and opt to require and collect it), and then each question's response. The order of the responses going left to right across the sheet matches the order in which you created questions on the Form. A great new update is the ability to move the columns (aka the question/responses) to any location on the x-axis. This used to be prevented because of the connections between the Form responses and the Sheet, but now you can arrange the responses how you see fit without out affecting the Form.
Here are some great add-ons and tools you can use in Sheets to work with Form data:
Flubaroo: Great add-on that lets you create an answer key and grade submitted forms. The grade report is created on a separate tab for easy viewing. An answer report can be emailed to the Form respondents identifying their correct and incorrect responses. After you run Flubaroo once you can set it to auto-grade any new incoming responses.
SuperQuiz: A more in-depth tool to work with Forms and Sheets to create quizzes and assessments. Check out this video to get a full explanation of how to set it up and make it work for you and your students.
WorkFlow: A new add-on that helps increase the productivity and collaboration of working with information on a Sheet. The WorkFlow add on lets you send an approval request to someone to let them know they need to look at something contained within your Sheet and respond which in turn lets you know they've seen it. If you start to explore the use of forms as a way for staff to register for events and PD using WorkFlow is helpful to keep all interested parties informed of changes and stay updated on incoming information.
Autocrat- This is an amazing mail merge add-on that lets you create form letters and customize them with information collected in a Sheet. It works really well to send confirmations of Form data when you want your respondents to be aware or remember the responses they gave you. (i.e. reminding respondents who have used a form to register for an event) It allows for a PDF or Google Doc letter created and the ability to automatically email your merged document.
SaveAsDoc: If you've ever tried collecting paragraph style answers in Forms you know how difficult it can be to try and efficiently review the responses without giving yourself a headache. Using the SaveAsDoc add-on can save your eyes and sanity by taking each set of responses and created a running Doc that is much easier to read and can even be easily printed out if you want respondents to review their answers. Each question becomes a bold heading with the responses below.
Notifications: By going to the 'Tools' menu and selection 'notification rules...' you have a few simple options to have emails sent you when any changes are made or when a user submits a form. You can receive these notifications in an immediate email or in a daily digest. This is a great way to keep track of Form submissions without having to leave the response sheet open and keep refreshing.
Conditional Formatting: Conditional Formatting is a built-in tool that allows you to color code Sheet cells based on a value, or range of values you identify. This is great to identify specific or correct answers quickly as responses come in or to go more in-depth with your analysis of any amount of data by creating flags for certain benchmarks.
Sorting and Filtering - Every column allows you to do a simple ascending or descending sort A-Z, but you can also enable the 'Filter' feature for a more in-depth sorting to help organize the data you want to see.
In addition to collecting Form data, Sheets works as a cloud spreadsheet that can be used to collect, organize, and analyze data. Graphs and charts can be created to make visual representations of data collected. You can even make the visuals living documents so they grow when new data has been added. In the past I've had students record their monthly math fact scores and track their progress. The Specials teachers in my district use a form to collect behavior data from each class and chart their progress to reward positive behavior.
If you're not sure of how to best chart or graph the data you have collected in a Sheet, Google has added the 'Explore' feature that suggests various ways to chart and analyze the data you've collected.
Pivot tables- This is a whole other beast when it comes to sorting and organizing data within a Sheet. The Pivot table allows you to reorganize massive amounts of data and add various values and fields to shape the data in a way that works for you. In order to achieve the growing/living chart for Specials behavior as I mentioned earlier a Pivot table was needed in order to separate the grade-levels and teams so the data was useful and specified enough to allow teachers and students to quickly look at their progress.
Now that you have several tools and places to start, don't be shy about getting into Sheets and using it to really dive into your data analysis and make some good decisions about your next steps. Feel free to comment below any additional tools or strategies you've found to be helpful.
The information and data you can collect with Google Forms is astounding! They have become so versatile that the uses in education seem to keep growing. Now with Google Forms one thing that needs to be remembered is that your responses are often collected in a Google Sheet (look for a post about the great add-ons and uses for Sheets coming soon!). You can now opt to see the results directly in "Summary of Responses" from the "Responses" tab.
You hopefully are familiar with the various types of questions you can ask in a Form (Text, Paragraph Text, Multiple Choice, Checkboxes, Choose from a List, Scale, Grid, Date, and Time.) Each question type can serve a unique purpose to helping shape the type of data you're collecting and how it can be used. Let's go over some of the advanced features you can enable for certain question types:
There are several add-ons you can use in Google Forms to make them more dynamic and useful. Here are some of my favorites and what they do:
CheckItOut- Allows you to modify several question types to create a dynamic system of check-in and check-out items. I have personally used it to create a Chromebook check-out for students in my high school.
Choice Eliminator- This add-on lets you pick or create a question with a set of answers that can be removed from the list as they are picked. Great for sending out a sign-up for snacks for a class party or time slots for a conference. You can even set the number of times an answer can be selected before being eliminated.
Form Notifications- Quick and easy way to have emails sent to one or multiple people when a certain number of responses have be collected with your Form. Respondents can also receive emails with custom messages after they complete the Form.
formLimiter- Lets you set a number of responses or set a specific date and time of when your Form is no longer accepting responses. Very useful if you are using a Form as some type of sign-up and need to ensure you only allow a specific number of participants.
formRanger- allows you to populate multiple choice, list, checkbox, and grid options from columns in any Sheet or Doctopus roster. When you've already done the work once use formRanger to ensure consistency and not retype the same information you have.
So if you haven't jumped into all the amazing uses of Google Forms, go a little deeper and see how you can utilize this amazing tool for the betterment of your teaching and your students learning!
Tech Integration Specialist at the Aspen School District. Level 2 Google Certified Educator. Former 4th grade teacher and Spartan for life! Go Green!