Thursday, March 18, 2010

Google Forms does it again!

We recently had our Middle School Olympics; a whole day event for all 450 of our middle school students which started with an Olympic ceremony first thing in the morning followed by the three rotations (track and field, team sports & team challenges) and culminated in a tug of war competition. Although I wondered if it was worth the enormous amount of time in terms of organization, the response from the students at the end of the day makes me firmly believe it was worth every second of time we put in.

In the past we have always kept team scores (all the students are placed in four even teams) during the day by having a number of runners bringing the scores from all the events to three staff members collating scores, adding with calculators, entering into sheets, adding, counting, adding counting... until finally we managed to come up with a final sum for the day and let everyone know which team won.

This year we wanted to streamline the points gathering process and turn it into a real-time event, so again I used a Google form to achieve this. We realized we didn't care about keeping clear records of what event scored what with regards to the amounts of points (although there were clear guidelines for each person at each event so the points were even). The main aim was to get a running total during the day and have kids seeing it, instead of having them all wait till the end of the day for when we produced this ridiculously detailed document about all the scores for every event... basically we were turning the points into a formative assessment of their teams efforts instead of a summative assessment!

Here's how we achieved it:
  1. I created a Google Form for gathering the four colors scores at each event.
  2. I entered some fake scores into the sheet and submitted it to test it. I then entered an extra line above the fake scores and put in the 'sum formula' for each column (e.g. =SUM(B3:B9999) to sum column B)
  3. I then created a second sheet on the form. In this sheet I created a table which collates the sum from each color's column from sheet one (e.g. the formula for column B is: =Sheet1!B2), this provided us with a running score.
  4. We used an LCD projector and a mac laptop to project this. We also ensured the laptop was hidden from the students.
  5. We zoomed in on the table so that the LCD projector only displayed the table (use two fingers and control on a mac to zoom in on your screen). Final product and final score...
  6. Enter data into the Google form and you have an instant live score.
The really groovy thing about this was that we used a variety of ways to enter the scores. One group of teachers at the track were entering the scores on a laptop which was picking up the wireless signal. Another teacher was using her iphone, I was using my Nokia phone using my web browser and I also used a desktop when I dropped into the office. What happened is that students could always see the scores, always see them changing and hence there was huge excitement and motivation to go harder during the day.

It was so simple, so efficient and so effective. A great example of Technology really being useful within a sports day.

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