DiigoNotes - Using Google Docs in the Classroom by Tom Barrett

    • Today we explored resting pulse rates and we used an online spreadsheet to share our results, hence the title of the post. (This work is similar to some online spreadsheet action we had last year with my Year 6 class) I decided to use a Google spreadsheet as I have been using the Google Docs application for a while - but you could have easily used EditGrid as an alternative.

      I set the spreadsheet up so that all of the children’s names from both classes were present in the first column. Then 10 other columns were labelled, “Resting Pulse1, Resting Pulse 2…” It was in these cells that the kids added their resting pulse after counting for 30 seconds and doubling.

      I then accessed the same spreadsheet through my Google login on all 8 laptops (per class) that I put around the room - so in effect I logged in 16 times (plus my PC and SMARTBoard, so 17) to the same document from different locations.

      We talked a little about how to find our pulse and then asked the children to record 10 readings of their resting rate into the spreadsheet.

    • It was great! With the live update feature we were able to see individual results popping up all over the place and even from next door in Rick’s class who were doing the same. Google Spreadsheets has an Auto Save option which makes life much easier and gives you the opportunity to see the live data. Not only did the hardware hold out fine, but accessing the spreadsheet was excellent - even with 17 simultaneous users on a single login. The children really enjoyed seeing each other’s work and it gave them a great overview of not only the class year group working together, but also to the sorts of data people were adding. With the IWB on I could see at a glance who and what was going on in different groups. Children from the other class were nipping across the corridor and questioning the validity of results from children in my class.

      Within the space of about 40 minutes, perhaps less, we collected approximately 600 individual results all in one file. No doubt they will be quicker next time. This method of data collection also allows us the ability to then manipulate the results afterwards, working out averages of the whole year group etc. I would highly recommend doing this if you have the reliable kit in your classroom, we have already said that it will be an excellent data entry method for our maths lessons on data handling.

    • The sharing functionality was proven in this activity and the next step for our year group is to share a similar data pooling task with other schools. With this success very much in my mind I woke on a recent Saturday morning to find an email from a teacher in a British school in Muscat, Oman. He had seen a past post on my blog about using EditGrid and sharing science investigation data. I emailed back and before long he had created a Google spreadsheet with my EditGrid work in it. I received an email from him to collaborate and before long I was sipping my second cup of coffee whilst chatting and live-editing a spreadsheet for our classes to work in!

      From email and eye rubbing to collaboration: less than 10 minutes. I have never met, spoken to or emailed this teacher before but here we were 2000 miles from each other editing a spreadsheet together.

    • Sharing and working collaboratively has never been so easy. Google spreadsheets has a discuss/chat window allowing for a simple dialogue, as you see above. This will be excellent for children to use to communicate as they work. Along with a third school in Scotland we will be collaborating on a simple exercise / pulse rate investigation using the spreadsheet. I am in no doubt the children will be able to better understand the importance of multiple sets of data for accuracy when we share our work and hopefully continue to question what they see.

      The walls of the classroom tumble much easier these days.

    • Tom Barrett

      ICT Subject Leader
      Assistant Headteacher
      Priestsic Primary and Nursery School

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Chris Daniel said…
Your work on Google spread sheet has helped me a great deal. Thank you for sharing a good info on EditGrid you have used as an alternative. I will definitely be on working it

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