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Google Educast #074 - Smartie Sheets

Show Title: Google Educast #74: Smartie Sheets
Show Host:
Show Date: November 29, 2012
Show Contributors:
  • Kevin Brookhouser
  • Fred Delventhal
  • Juan De Luca
  • Chris Betcher

Segment 1: What’s New with Google

Segment 2: Tips and Tricks.

Segment 3: Ask A  GCT
  • A friend just got 5 Nexus tablets donated for her classroom. She's looking for resources for using Google in the classroom. Do you have any links to resources for using Google Docs she could benefit from?
  • Link about 2nd grades receiving Nexus 7 Tablets. Cusumano @edtech4theatre at 9:23 PM, 29 Nov 2012

  • Good Day,

I teach in a computer lab at an elementary school in Pennsylvania, USA. We have students in grades 2 and 3 which translates to ages 7-9 approximately in the USA grade system.

Last school-year I used Google Apps with 300+ grade 3 students. I taught them first to send and reply to an email in conjunction with Internet Safety lessons. They then learned to create/share docs and folders. Finally, they completed a project using presentation.

Our district admin created a separate subdomain for students in the district so different policies could be applied. For example, they can only send and receive email with teachers. We are working on changing that but CIPA is a stumbling block on our case. Our firewall is very restrictive even for teachers. (Teachers cannot get YouTube!)

Now my question. The syntax created by our admin for student users to log in to their accounts is a big clunky especially for young children. So, I began searching for some way to make that easier.  In the past I have used several LMS/portal platforms with students at various grade levels including,, Moodle, and EDU2.0(my favorite). Now I found Pearson's Open Class product that is supposed to integrate with Google Docs. It is FREE! And it comes from a reputable organization known to administrators. I installed it on my own Google Apps domain to give it a look. But, I have no experience using it with students. Have any of you used this product or have any information you can share about it's use with students?

Rock on!


Charlie Gerancher | Technology Instructor | Steckel Elementary School

Segment 4: Chrome and Android:

Segment 5: Classroom Applications:
  • This term I’ve been teaching spreadsheet concepts to my Grade 3 kids in their once-a-week computer lesson. The syllabus says they need to have “used spreadsheets” but in the past they’ve only done a really basic, highly scaffolded exercise where they make a simple graph in Excel using data supplied by the teacher. My feeling is that they leave not really knowing anything about charting, or about excel, or about the topic... it’s too scaffolded and they just type a few numbers in and follow some steps to make a chart without really understanding what they’ve done.
    This term I spent a number of lessons working with them to understand spreadsheets better, and we used Google Sheets for the first time instead of Excel. I thought it worked much better. For a start they didn’t need to worry about saving their work, so they concentrated more on actually doing the work I wanted them to do. Over the six lessons we learned the basics of what spreadsheets are about, made times tables, simple budgets, and the trusty old exercise of counting the Smarties (or M&Ms) and then entering their data into a shared Sheet. We then looked at the data to answer questions like “What is the most common color?”, “What is the least common color?’, “Does every box have the same number of Smarties?”, “What is the fairest way to divide them between the members of the class so everyone gets the same amount?”, and so on.  We did lots of “what if” with the spreadsheets, which is, I think, the whole point of using a spreadsheet.
    The shared sheet mode of Google Docs worked really well, and it helped us get through the mechanical parts of the lesson really quickly so were able to spend more time looking at the actual mathematics and computing aspects of the lesson, including a couple of different chart types to describe the data, instead of all the usual futzing about with individual copies of data saved on Excel sheets (if we were lucky!)
  • Here are the files I used during this unit.
  • I think this is the first time that I’ve seen Grade 3 kids demonstrate a real understanding of spreadsheets, with most of them able to clearly demonstrate or describe the use of SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT and COUNTA, as well as being able to write basic formulas for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. (CB)

Shoutouts and Feedback- always a good idea to let the audience know about sessions, workshops, keynotes- and events happening in International Education.