Monday, December 14, 2009

Using Spreadsheets in US History

From my days working in the corporate world, I am haunted by spreadsheets. For the last six years I have blissfully avoided creating spreadsheets. That all changed last Wednesday at the Google Teacher Academy. At GTA, Ronald Ho, product manager for Google Docs Spreadsheets, showed us some of the many creative and awesome things that can be done with Google Spreadsheets. Later that same day, Kern Kelley showed some us more functions of spreadsheets. I took my new perspective on spreadsheets and applied to to my US History classroom on Friday morning.

On Friday morning I took the concept of a wiki and applied it to spreadsheet use. My two US History classes that morning were divided into a total of twelve groups. Each group had the task of thematically outlining causes of the Civil War. In order to make data collection and comparison easy, I created an outline form using Google Docs Forms. The students entered their various outline information into the form. When they submitted their information it was displayed in a shared spreadsheet. All of the information was automatically arranged thematically. In the next class meeting we'll be analyzing information contributed by all twelve groups.

Update: I've had many requests to share the spreadsheet, I will post it after my classes are done manipulating it tomorrow afternoon.