Monday, November 22, 2010

"Forms" - an easy way to collect data!

One thing I'm using more and more is the "Forms" feature in Google docs. (You will need a gmail account.) This feature allows students to fill in a record (ie. a line, or record) on your spreadsheet using a webform. Students can't see the completed spreadsheet, but each time s/he fills the form in, the data gets added to your Google doc. 

How can I use it?
You could use this to collect survey information, write a quiz, as a pre-test to find out what your students know, to collect "quickie" book reviews, as sign-in sheets, for journal entries, collecting anonymous tips, etc, etc.

There are some great ways to play with the data once you get it, (graphs, charts, etc) and you can export the data into an excel doc for even more options.

How does it work?
Go to google docs, create a spreadsheet, and then build a form that will "sit on top of" the spreadsheet. Once you have finished composing your form, you can get a link to email or put on a website, or even embed the form on a page you have created. If it sounds complicated, it's not. Just spend some time with the videos listed below and you'll be a forms "expert" in no time.

Here are a few video tutorials:

Getting Started with Google Docs Forms
Going Paperless with Google Forms
Google Forms
Using Google Forms to Create a online Quiz
Self-grading google forms

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Google Doc Viewer

Sometimes, when I've found a great presentation that I'd like to share with students or teachers, the only option seems to be to point them to the site with the PowerPoint download link. 

Unfortunately, this means a less-than-ideal browsing experience that forces the viewer to leave Firefox, download the PPT, and open a separate  application in order to view the content. Just the other day I was reminded of the power of Google Docs viewer. 

Google has provided a nice little page that will let you paste in the URL of the PPT in question, and the form generates an email link, a snippet of html to paste the link into a webpage, and the embed code to place the slide show into an existing webpage or blog post.

Check it out: this is a handy little tool!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Arkive: endangered animals

"With the help of the world’s best filmmakers, photographers, conservationists and scientists, ARKive is creating the ultimate multimedia guide to the world's endangered species."
The videos and images in this searchable visual database are perfect for animal research projects. Videos can also be embedded, downloaded and linked.