Thursday, September 3, 2015

Explore in Google Sheets - A Helpful Data Visualization Tool for Students

Yesterday, Google announced a slew of updates to Google Classroom and Google Drive. My favorite of those updates is the new Share to Classroom Chrome extension. My second favorite of the updates is the new Explore function in Google Sheets.

The Explore function in Google Sheets will help students see and understand data sets in new ways. Now when students open a Google Sheet they will have the option to click the Explore function to have a set of suggested graphs and charts based on the data in the Sheet they're viewing. The Explore function is found in the bottom, right corner of the Google Sheet you're viewing. The Explore function won't work in every spreadsheet. It is dependent on the spreadsheet having data like locations, currencies, or demographics. See how it works in the video embedded below.

Applications for Education
Making sense of large data sets can be challenging to students. Some of the graphs and charts that Explore can provide could help students understand what they're seeing in a large data set.

Students don't have to generate their own data sets to take advantage of Explore in Google Sheets. They could upload spreadsheets from places like the Google Public Data Explorer to their Google accounts then analyze the data through Explore in Google Sheets.