Friday, October 24, 2008

Yet Another Google Docs Success Story!

One of the things I enjoy most about my job as an instructional technology coordinator is working alongside teachers to dream up creative, out-of-the-box projects for our students. I really enjoy the process of brainstorming ideas, implementing the project in the classroom, and then sitting back to see what unfolds. Sometimes, though, technology coordinators have to do the little things to help out around the school. This was the case for me when I was recently asked by the 9th grade class to help them with a system to facilitate the annual Halloween Cupcake Sale. They wanted a program that would allow them to collect information about who the cupcake was purchased for, what grade level that individual was in, and the name of the person purchasing the cupcake. The program also needed to be able to eventually print labels to go along with each cupcake, sort orders by grade level, and help the 9th graders figure out if there were any students who did not receive a cupcake. Last year they used a filemaker pro solution written by an employee who was no longer here, so I suggested that we develop a google form to collect the data. And because the data automatically populates to a spreadsheet, we could do some type of mail merge with a word processing program and print-out the cupcake information on avery labels. Today we battle tested this process during our morning break time. We had two students taking orders via the google doc form and a few students taking money. I gotta say that the process worked incredibly well and the girls did great managing the sale.

I suppose the most challenging thing on my end was entering all of the student and faculty/staff names in the form as options in a drop down list. Unfortunately the school roster that I received for our business office was alpha ordered by grade level, which meant that the names in the drop down list weren't alpha ordered across grade levels. This presented a few challenges to the girls as they entered sale information into the form. Finally, one other thing that I learned is that the forms can select at least 429 options in the drop down list (I was a little worried that there would be a limit on the number of options).

To borrow a phrase from Lee Lefeever at the end of his awesome Google Docs Commoncraft Video, "Google Docs Rocks!"

1 comment:

  1. mollyL8:39 PM

    I think that was a great project to integrate technology into. In today’s world students need to learn how to use programs such as Google Docs to make their projects more manageable. We have so much technology out there, but do not know how it can be used. By using the Cupcake sale, students are learning hands on how real businesses control their inventory. The information they have learned from you will definitely help them transition into the career world easier. Having experience in the business world, I can definitely relate. Business are cutting back on expenses such as paper processes and moving towards electronic processes instead.
    You have also allowed students to take control of their own learning. You mention how you brainstormed ideas and then sat back to see what unfolded. This allows the students to see you only facilitating their learning and not controlling it. It allows all the students to work at a pace that best meets their individual learning needs.
    As an educator, I have to make sure that I introduce students to the new technologies and see how they can adapt them to their own needs. This will prepare them for the ever changing world of technology.