Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Using Google forms for data collection

As I previously mentioned, I am a user of Google Docs (hence this blog being hosted on blogspot) and I am a massive fan of Google Forms and use them all the time to gather data. For those who haven't used this feature, I strongly suggest you give it a try. It is similar to Survey Monkey etc. in that you set up a form with a series of questions (these can be text, drop down and choose, ratings and many more) and then send a link to the URL the form can be accessed from. As the form is filled in, a spreadsheet is automatically generated with the responses from anyone who has filled in your form. Brilliant. You can download the spreadsheet as an MS Excel file for further analysis or use Google Docs to do this and because it is already in your Google account, you don't have to download it or move it if you don't want to. I recently used one with year 7 to do a Student assessment of how well they thought they where doing in ICT. The results where very illuminating to say the least, most year 7's have no idea what the various levels in ICT actually look like (no idea what the level descriptors are or what they mean) and wrote stuff like "I am working at level 5 because I do all my work in ICT. Hmmm, methinks I need to do some work on what level we are at and what we need to do to move on a level. Anyway, my form that I created is here if you want to have a look:

Student Assessment Form

Doing this got me thinking, wouldn't an IOS device be a great way of collecting data "in the field"? Teachers could set up a Google form that asks a series of questions that the students answer as they walk around. For example, a series of Maths challenges or problems could be set up around the school (measuring, answering questions, solving problems) and the answers could be recorded in a google form that can then be submitted. By the time the students arrive back at the classroom, the teacher can have all the students answers in the spreadsheet displayed on a whiteboard ready for discussion or for downloading (see previous posts for solutions) and further analysis. Students doing questionnaires for Product Design, Business or Food Tech could set up their own forms, then take an IOS device with them as they gather the data. Much better than the usual paper versions they do at the moment and no need to write up the results as this is already done by Google. Sorted!

You could then use your spreadsheet to generate a Bento Database and sync to Bento on your IOS device but that is for another post.

Edit: Just discovered you can actually set up forms on an IOS device, just log onto Google Docs as normal:

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Desktop:

Click on Continue to desktop version:

Then select create new and choose form, just like you would using a normal browser:

Brilliant, now you can set up forms on your IOS device, then take it out into the field to gather your data. Sweet! You can even view and edit your spreadsheet when you have finished.

If you want to get the sheet from Google docs to your iPad, click on download, select Excel and it will open in a new window. In the top left hand corner you get the option to open in Numbers. Now, who said you cant do any real work on an iPad?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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