6/19/2012

Summer improvements

Source: Plik:Wikinews collaboration logo.svg

Finally, summer vacation is in full swing around the country. Well, as far as I know no one is still waiting to begin break. That word "break" is a bit of a misnomer for many of us in education since summer is really a time for us to reflect on learning outcomes and use the data to alter instruction for the coming year.

A great way to work collaboratively on data interpretation is by using Google Spreadsheets. Collaboration is an important part of data interpretation since it requires us to infer what has worked and what needs to change. Software, algorithms and spreadsheet formulas are great for doing math, but they'll never give us the explanations or guidance we need improve outcomes. No, that takes human intervention. With Google Spreadsheets, you can upload any Excel document that contains assessment data. Once it's uploaded, change the privacy settings to Anyone who has the link can edit. Email that link to your colleagues and you can all start sorting through the information together. There is no need to have a Google account, they just need the link you've provided. 

If your colleagues do have a Google account, then you have an even better opportunity to work with the data- Google plus. While continuing to collaborate on the Spreadsheet, up to 10 people can video chat about the information through Hangouts. Essentially, you'll be having a virtual PLC which saves everyone time and gas money.

This summer, don't just work solo. Get together with others in your department over a Google Spreadsheet and come up with some great ideas. You'll be sure to see great results in the coming year. And, hey... you'll also have something to brag about to administrators.