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Data Collection & Questionnaires with Google Docs & Twitter

Interview Reflection: Part 2:

My interview lesson was rated as ‘good with outstanding features’ and as that was in part thanks to my network I thought it only fair I shared it with the World.

I chose to teach a lesson focusing on data collection using questionnaires. A tricky lesson to get right I finally nailed it!

I feel there were two keys to the success of the lesson:….

The Network & Tools:

I designed a questionnaire using the excellent forms function in Google Docs (Tom Barrett wrote a great guide on this). I then shared this with my Twitter network and asked them to fill it in during my interview lesson. The pupils also filled in this questionnaire during the lesson. One of the great features of these forms is watching the results feed into the spreadsheet in real-time. I must thank in particular those from the US, Australia, South Africa and other far-flung places, your results appearing during the lesson caused gasps of excitement! I’m convinced that bringing these global connections and dimensions into the classroom is a fantastic way to make lessons relevant and engaging. Every pupil voted for me at the end of the 4 interview lessons and I think this bit of ‘wizardry’ had a lot to do with it!

Learning from mistakes:
As I hope you noticed, the survey questions were deliberately poorly designed. The next part of the lesson involved table groups discussing one of the questions, identifying problems with the data collected and potential reasons for this. Finally each group wrote an improved version of their question and some of these were presented back to the class. Not a pedagogically groundbreaking idea, but one I often overlook. Starting from classic misconceptions and mistakes and working backwards is a powerful learning tool.

I was delighted with how well the lesson went. The data we collected showed all the problems I had hoped for, and illustrated clearly why carefully designed methods of capture are necessary. In particular I hinted throughout the lesson that the mysterious people filling in our survey for us were my ‘geeky’ teacher friends. This led into a nice discussion about bias inherent in my sample.

Thanks again if you helped out in the lesson 🙂

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