Oct 12 2012

Google Apps for Educators Workshop – Using Google forms to gather and analyze data from your students

Part 1 – Demonstration:

As a teacher of a subject in which data forms the basis all understanding, I like to put my students to work finding and analyzing the data most relevant to our subject. In my unit on Macroeconomics (the study of entire nations’ economies), I teach that the primary objectives of government and central bank policies is to achieve four goals. These are:

  • Price level stability (low inflation)
  • Economic growth (increase in income over time)
  • Low unemployment
  • Relative equality in the distribution of income
Each of these objectives can be measured using data recorded by every nation in the world which are, fortunately for me, made public through many online databases. The one I find most useful is the CIA World Factbook, which publishes economic data for all countries for which it is available. The link below will take you to the CIA World Factbook, where you can find economic data for your own country.
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The CIA World Factbook
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One of my favorite lessons at the beginning of my Macroeconomics unit is to have students find their own countries on the CIA World Factbook and enter the data relating to the four macroeconomic objectives into a Google Form. To demonstrate how this works, follow the link to the CIA World Factbook above, find your own home country, click on the “Economy” section and find and enter the data requested in the form below:
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Macroeconomic Indicators Around the World – Google Apps for Educators Sample Form
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The cool thing about Google Forms is that the creator of the form has total control over the results as they are submitted by students. For example, as you and the other attendees of this workshop are submitting your results, I am examining the results in real time. Every time the ‘submit’ button is pressed, a spreadsheet of all the form results is updated in real time right in front of my eyes. Now, I can begin to organize the results of this data into interactive charts which we can then analyze as a class. For instance, here are some  charts showing the results from the submissions by students in my year 2 IB Economics course this earlier this semester:

Now, as a class, we can gain a deeper understanding of some of the most important macroeconomic indicators using current data from our own countries, researched and aggregated using Google Forms, analyzed using Google Spreadsheets and the charts it can be used to create.

Part 2 – Brainstorming

As an Economics teacher, there are loads of data relating to nearly every topic I teach available online for students to research, aggregate and analyze. But what about in your subject? The second part of this presentation requires you and some of your peers here today to get together and brainstorm how Google Forms and Spreadsheets could be harnessed in your own subject area. Please get together with two or three people around you and discuss the following questions.

  1. What do you teach or what is your role in your educational community?
  2. What role does data play in your field?
  3. How could you harness Google Forms and Spreadsheets to more efficiently and effectively collect and analyze data either for educational or productivity enhancing purposes?

Take 10 minutes and discuss these questions with the people around you. Once you’ve discussed the questions, follow the link below and share your your thoughts on how you could use Google Forms in your role as a member of a faculty or staff in an educational community.

Brainstorming Form – How can I use Google Forms to enhance data collection and analysis in my classroom or workplace?

At the end of this session, the results from everyone’s brainstorming session can be viewed publicly by clicking here: Google Forms for Data Analysis – Brainstorming Results

If you have any questions about how I use Google Forms or other Google Apps in the classroom, please send me an email at welkerswikinomics@gmail.com. I hope you enjoyed today’s presentation, and thanks for coming!


About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author


One response so far

One Response to “Google Apps for Educators Workshop – Using Google forms to gather and analyze data from your students”

  1. ftreuon 29 Oct 2012 at 9:50 am

    Your example data set looks interesting.

    But the title of your post is: and how to analyze it.
    How do you analyze qualitative data produced by Google Forms ?

    How do you produce, for instance, a crosstabulation of Role of Data Played by Subject Taught using your own data ?

    Google has put a lot of energy in conceiving Google Forms, and few when it comes to more than a simple frequency counts of numeric answers.

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