The Start of a Swivel Project w/ Google Docs Mixed In

Atomic Radius and Electronegativity by Element

So I worked with a great ITRT and former science teacher, Gaynell Lyman, to look at ways we might use both Swivel and the googlelookup function in google spreadsheets to see what we could do to save time and get to the actual learning.

Concept

We wanted students to be able to see how various factors changed as you move across the periodic table and how they interrelate. The goal was also to have them look at the charts and manipulate them to figure out these concepts on their own.

Steps
The idea was not to get them to look up data from a chart and re-write it in another chart so we opted to try using google’s lookup function. It performed pretty well but wouldn’t look up some of the values we initially started with and with some of the others it opted for slightly different formats for the same concept (like 185 mu or mu 185). A minor issue but one to look for.
What we did was list the elements in column A, in column B we did a googlelookup of atomic radius with the formula =googlelookup(A2,”atomic radius” and then a similar formula to get the data for electronegativity. We were hoping to get a bit more data but the lookup function, while neat, is still pretty limited.

So, we then fiddled with the data a bit and then exported it as a CSV file (Swivel doesn’t quite deal with other formats too well but there’s some neat options they’re working on).

The import into Dabble was easy.  Then it takes care of chart generation all by itelf.  It makes all kinds of charts automatically.   I liked the extra touches- you can pick a flickr photo to associate with your data and it auto tags your data with a number of keywords which you can then add to or remove.

The Future?
What I’d like to do in the future is use this for collaborative projects, the kind of project you’d like to do but having everyone do each step would take too long.  You could set up teams within the class (or by classes, or in different schools).  Each team would complete related experiments so that all the data would be relevant to each group.  They’d upload their data to Swivel and then use the accumulated data to complete the project.
Swivel is neat because it allows you to easily layer different graphs in order to compare the information.  The power in having students do this is multiplied because they have to figure out what data needs to be compared and then how that data should best be presented to get the information they need.

I’m looking into doing some county wide surveys so that students can use the data to explore statistics.

Try Swivel.  I think you’ll be impressed and I think it’ll get you thinking.

Comments on this post

  1. Dmitry Dimov said on December 22, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Tom,

    My dormant chemistry knowledge is all coming back to me now. Something along the lines of, “Keep your electrons close to your chest or you’ll lose them.” Your graphs caught my eye a couple days ago, in the sea of economics stats, demographics data, and poker tournament results.

    The googlelookup thing is awesome, I’m glad you I learned about it from you, I’ll definitely go play with it some. Once we get the basics down, we’re going to look at ways to make transfer of data between Google Spreadsheets and Swivel easier.

    Thank you for this review and please keep telling us what we can do better.

    Dmitry Dimov
    Product Chief & Cofounder
    http://www.swivel.com

  2. Dmitry Dimov said on December 22, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Tom, Gaynell,

    Greetings from Swivel again. As you can tell, I was impressed by how ingeniously you used Google Spreadsheets and googlelookup to get data into Swivel. That graph is now featured on our home page. If you don’t mind, I would like to talk about this on our Swivel blog. It would be great if I could point our readers to the original spreadsheet you created &mdash do you think you can share it? If you have any suggestions on how I can best present your use of spreadsheets and Swivel, please let me know.

  3. Chris Grisanti said on March 19, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Tom,

    I noticed that you posted a graph from Swivel a while back. Thanks for linking to us! I wanted to invite you to come back to Swivel and check out all of the great new data and graphs since you last posted. Also, we will be releasing a several new features over the next two weeks that better integrate Google Spreadsheets and Swivel. We appreciated your hard work to be a trailblazer in this integration. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or suggestions!

    Thanks,

    Chris Grisanti
    Swiveler
    chris@swivel.com

  4. zeka oyunlar? said on May 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Greetings from Swivel again. As you can tell, I was impressed by how ingeniously you used Google Spreadsheets and googlelookup to get data into Swivel. That graph is now featured on our home page. If you don’t mind, I would like to talk about this on our Swivel blog. It would be great if I could point our readers to the original spreadsheet you created &mdash do you think you can share it? If you have any suggestions on how I can best present your use of spreadsheets and Swivel, please let me know.

  5. Tom said on May 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Zeka,

    Feel free to talk about it. The published spreadsheet is here and the sheet here.

    Tom

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