While desperately looking for statistics for a unit on Travel I realized that I was ignoring both a source of information (my classes), and a powerful tool for both gathering data and sparking discussion. So off to Google Docs and its great Form option. I already use it to collect student information at the start of the course but generating relevant statistics for a unit is a new twist for me.
Why a Google Docs form for this?
Technology Constraints: I choose Google Docs because we are not school where all kids have input devices for phone-text surveys and because I use the produced data for further detailed class discussion (not just instant feedback). The ‘Summary’ option in the generated spreadsheet is great for this.
Easy to Create – “Once created never lost (but editable)” When you are practiced at creating them structuring the form takes minutes to do. I choose to embed them in my own website. The travel survey will be there for future units and modified as needed. The information will always be up to date reflecting current student trends.
Review/Learning Opportunity – The survey requires my Japanese language students to understand the questions and answers in order to complete it. Then the students see the vocabulary again during the analysis stage; multiple passes at concepts and key vocabulary.
Discussion Opportunities – By graphing the results (again easily done!) students had a source of information that promoted a 30 minute discussion in their Second Language class – perfect.
There are times when global statistics are relevant and needed. But the information generated by students can have an even more powerful impact.