Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thanks again, Mr. Schwen!

I have been using googledocs for a while now, and thanks to Andy Schwen, I have some major upgrades to add next year. I had been making online quizzes last year, but I didn't know how to fix it so that they could be automatically corrected. Now, thanks to Andy, my kids will know right away what they got right or wrong, kind of like the explorelearning assessments, except I will create the questions instead of the nice folks at explorelearning. Not only that, but I will get the most GORGEOUS data - about each kid, or about each class, or about only one question...the data and the display are just amazing! This is all thanks to Mr. Schwen, who has already put all these features into some googledocs files, which he is sharing with everyone. You just have to follow a few steps to get it working for you and your students.

Andy very kindly put together instructions for how to do this, both in video format and text, which you can find at his blog I, however, being of a certain age and tech ability, (guess which is high and which is low), had trouble filling in a few blanks in these steps, so I decided, with his permission, to put my own step-by-step together.

Overview in a nutshell:
  • You will get 2 different files (from googledocs) that were created by Andy Schwen.
  • You will input class/student info into one of these files.
  • You will input quiz questions and answers into the other file.
  • Thanks to Andy's expertise, these files will automatically be linked so that each will get information from the other, in order to make your life easy!
Here's what will happen as a result:
  • Your students will access your quiz online, and answer the questions online. Here's a rough idea of how the quiz could look to them:
  • Your students will know right away what they got right or wrong.
  • You will also know right away what were the results for everyone who did the quiz. 
  • You will also get gorgeous infographic results by student, class, or question. Here is a shot of a sample supplied by Andy:
  • You will be able to make up new quizzes during the year, simply by inputting new questions and answers, and the whole procedure will repeat itself. Students do the new quiz, then they find out how they did, then you get to see all the results beautifully summarized. All the links will kick in and generate the data using the classes and names that are already there.
  • You will be able to give the same quizzes (or whatever type of assessment you want) next year simply by inputting new class/student info. Of course, you will probably want to change the questions every year, as any teacher one ever reuses tests, right? Me, never......ahem.
Okay, now here's how you get all that happening:

Step One: Google account, chrome, and browser windows:
  • First of all, have two completely separate browser windows open, one which will always display these instructions, and the other which will retrieve the various docs or go to various sites. The window without the instructions should be a google chrome one, because I found things worked better that way. I am not enough of an expert to know why, but I found that not everything worked right when I used other browers. So you might have to download googlechrome, which is free, and lovely.
  • The next steps are all to be done in the chrome window.
  • Get yourself a google account. This is not the same as a gmail account. Gmail is an email account hosted by google, but the google account gives you access to googledocs, which is what you really need. You will be asked to supply an email address, and it doesn't have to be a gmail one. And it's also free.
  • Login to your google account
  • Click on "more" at the top of the screen, and you will see this:
  • Click on "docs". You will see this, except there will not be any files listed, since you don't have any yet. I, however, have several, because I am a big shot.
Step two: Getting your classlist template
  • Now you are ready to download the files created by Andy Schwen. At the top of the googledocs screen, there is a search box, next to which it says "Browse template gallery". Click that, then type, in the search field, "classlists". You will see:
  • Click "Use this template"
  • You will see:
  • This may sound strange, but you must now close this file. I do not know why. After you close it, go back to your googledocs homepage, and you will see, at the top of your file list, Copy of Classlist Template, like so:
  • Click on that, and you will once again see the excel sheet above. Now it's time to make a copy of it and rename it. Click file > Make a copy, and this window will invite you to give it a new name, my suggestion for which you can see here:
  • Click Ok. Give google a few seconds to save if needed.
  • Now it's time to put your students' names into the appropriate columns. If you're like me, you don't know them yet, so for now, just make up some names, so you can see how it all comes together. I put 4 names into the period one column, and 4 into the period 2 when I first tried this out. Give google a few seconds, or click save if you're impatient.
  • Once it's saved, select the part of the url address that is after the "key=" all the way to and including the "=en", like so:
  • Note that the highlighted text you see here won't be the same as yours, that's ok, you have different names than I do.
  • Copy that for use in a few steps. This will be the link between these two files.
Step three: Getting your assessment template:
  • The next file to download can be found using the exact same procedure as above. Googledocs homepage, search templates, but this time using "public assessment" in the search field, and you will see:
  • Click "Use this template" as before. You will see:
  • At the top right, click "See responses" and select spreadsheet view. You will see another spreadsheet, but this one's got lots of tabs at the bottom of the screen.
  • Make a copy and rename as before, this time calling it "Practice assessment template".
  • Click on the tab at the bottom right called "Setup and results" You will see:
  • in cell D11, paste the stuff you copied before from your practice classlist like so:
  • Again, remember that your code will look different, but it should end in the =en. I have no idea what that means.
  • Now if you click on the "all classes" tab, you should see your practice names, like magic! This file got them from the practice classlist file! Cool, no?
Step four: Making a quiz:
  • I was able to follow Andy's instructions for this part very easily, so you should check them out here. You will be amazed!
Thanks again, Mr. Schwen!

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