Monday, June 8, 2009

BMS: When/How Do You Use Google Spreadsheets?

Today Rita Hennessey, LMS and I with Jeremy Royster, 6th grade social studies teacher, worked with a class to test a 6th grade orientation session for next year. This was our second time working with a 6th grade class to create their own rubric to assess websites. We used a Google Spreadsheet with the students, ONE for each of the 5 groups.

We learned something that was not surprising -- if you introduce Google Docs to a group of students for the first time as a vehicle to accomplish a task; the task may not be as important compared to the fun of playing with Google Docs --- changing other people's answers, adding random colors, etc. We decided that the next time we use Google Docs we will limit the number of students in a Google Doc during the first session and provide better guidelines for its use.

(NOTE ABOUT GOOGLE SPREADSHEETS: Last summer I started having a serious problem with Google Spreadsheets. I would prepare a spreadsheet for a workshop, and even after selecting "open for viewing and editing without the use of a password" -- particpants in the workshop would click on the link and reach a password protected page. It became so problematic that I stopped using Google Spreadsheets with groups that I knew did not necessarily have gmail accounts. It was impossible to use them with students. Recently Scott Johnston who works for Google (a friend of Bryan Davis's, a social studies teacher at CMS) solved the problem. It is a bug that will be fixed in the future, but for now, if you are using a Google Spreadsheet link that has been opened to edit without a password, you have to FIRST go to GOOGLE (, which places a cookie on your computer. Then you can click on the Google Spreadsheet link and it should open. If it does not repeat the process a few times, and it will!)

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