Sunday, 8 June 2014

Mapping Water Quality with Google Maps and Spreadsheet Data

Uploading spreadsheet data onto Google maps is dynamite! As a science teacher, I've done this a few times and having the spreadsheet of data for comparison on the map under the "style" icon is great for analysis and review. Here is one we did last week for water quality testing around Ho Chi Minh City. I'm hoping that I can connect with some other educators that might have an interest in collaborating over such projects in the future so we can collect and compare data through "connected classrooms."
Here is a tutorial that walks you though using geo-location (latitude and longitude).

To any science teachers that might be interested in collecting and sharing some data like this in the future, drop me a line at

Related Posts
Two Great Uses of Google Maps in Science
Take a Trip with Google Tour Builder

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Peer Assessment with Google Forms and Filters

This article first appeared on Fractus Learning on June 4th, 2014

An online querie from a fellow student enrolled in an online class with me asked "How do you use peer assessments?" which I thought was a dynamite question. As educators, I think sometimes we undervalue and overlook the role that peer review has on helping other students learn from one another. Some notables:
  • "Peer relationships are more balanced and the partners tend to bring similar levels of ability, reasoning and skill to their interactions." (Ladd)
  • Peer evaluations have shown to be a significant indicator on student's academic performance. (Gibbs)
However, they are tricky. How do you structure peer assessments in ways that they don't create resentment among groups of students? I find Google forms awesome for this.  For my graduate class on COETAIL, we used Google forms quite often to evaluate the work of our peers and I found that my middle schooler are just as adept  as using this tool. As my students are presenting digital stories on different strands of earth's history this week, I created this form to evaluate the work of groups after they presented. This has a number of great features and here are some things I've learned to use them more effectively:
  1. Evaluation forms are more engaging than merely asking the class: "Do you have any questions for the presenter?" which may offer only a small number of responders. This digital interface makes feedback more accessible.
  2. The forms can be submitted anonymously so students can be more honest with one another.
  3. Paragraph responses can allow for formative writing pieces and freedom to address key points from the presenter or teacher.
  4. The spreadsheet of responses can by filtered for the specific presenter/s to copy and paste in emails to students.
  5.  Having the first question as a "warm and fuzzy" usually helps the presenters warm to critical feedback by making them feel at ease. I've found that a 'sandwich' technique with feedback-positive, cool, positive can elicit more conductivity.
On the spreadsheet of responses, go to the data tab then "filter"
On the spreadsheet of responses, go to the data tab then "filter"

Filtered columns can easily be copied and pasted into emails to the presenters.
Filtered columns can easily be copied and pasted into emails to the presenters.

"Using Assessment Strategically to Change the Way Students Learn". Gibbs, Graham "Children's Peer Relations and Social Competence: A Century of Progress," Ladd, Gary