An area I’ve always wanted to do better was to help our students leaving our school transition their data from our school account to a personal account (most likely a personal account since they probably won’t have their new school account yet. As you can tell from the title we use Google Services (recently rebranded to Google Workspaces). Our students use Google Drive to not only create documents but also as a place to store their files.
For safety reasons we limit all sharing of documents and emails to be restricted to our domain, but at the end of this year we decided to try and do a better job of helping out students transition their data from their school account to a personal account.
I thought it would be as simple as having students go into the sharing settings of individual settings, share it to their personal account and then go back into the sharing settings and change the ownership to that account.
The Pear Deck add-on is very popular amongst teachers. It allows them to bring interactive elements into their Google Slides presentation. Check out the video above to get a better sense of what Pear Deck offers and whether or not it is right for you.
OK – to be fair, you need Google Sheets and the Flippity add on, but still, this is pretty handy, easy to do and works really – really well. I’ve seen a couple of articles about this on the web but I’m going to go a little deeper and walk you through from start to finish.
In this example, we will be doing some language learning though I can think of this being used for math problems and vocabulary as well and much, much more. So let’s get started.
Google Translate in Sheets
The first thing we need to do is open Google Sheets and get ready for some magic! We will be translating words from English to Spanish. I will be using specific words and not phrases. As we all know translating longer pieces of text can sometimes lead to unexpected results 🙂
As you can see, I have 10 English words about the Spring season. I could look these up, but I will let Google Translate do it for me.
In cell B2 I will type this formula which will translate it from English to Spanish automatically.
=googletranslate(A2, “en”, “es”)
So let’s break this down. =googletranslate will let Google Sheets know that it needs to use Google Translate – pretty straight forward. Don’t forget the comma!
A2 tells Google Sheet where the word is that needs to translated.
“en” (yes you need the quotations) lets it know what language the original language is.
“es” (again don’t forget those quotes) let’s it know what it needs to translate it to. (ES = Spanish by the way)
So this is what it will look like.
Now all we need to is move your mouse to the bottom right hand corner of cell B2 (it should turn into a + sign) then click and drag down like in the GIF below.
Google Sheets (any spreadsheet program really) understands the pattern and automatically replicates the googletranslate formula all the way down properly changing the cells as needed.
Now we are ready to turn this into interactive flashcards
The next thing we need to do is get the Flippity add-on. To do this open a blank Google Sheet and then click on Add-ons from the menu bar. Then select Get Add-ons.
A new window will pop up and from here search for and add Flippity to Google Sheets. You only need to do this once. After you’ve added it, every new Google Sheet you open will have the ability to utilize the Flippity add-on if you want it to.
To activate the Flippity add-on, click on Add-ons and select Flippity and select Pick a Template.
The template you will want to chose is, surprise – surprise, Flashcards. Go ahead and click Use.
Flippity will do some magic and then create a new worksheet with whole bunch of info that you do NOT want.
Do not be alarmed. This is merely an example of how and where to put your data. So go ahead delete all of their information and copy and paste your data. Your data will be on another sheet (probably called Sheet 1 like mine). You can find this at the bottom of the page.
You may also notice that you can customize the flashcard color and the text color. This is not necessary but a nice touch. Here is my finished flashcard spreadsheet.
To get to the flashcards, click on Add-ons, select Flippity and then select Flippity.net URL.
A pop up will appear with a web address. You can click that and it will take you to your very own custom made flashcards!
You can also check out my flashcards and get your Spanish learning on!
You can do this on Quizlet, but I find the translation part much faster with Google Sheets and with the URL you can easily share out your flashcards with multiple people and there is no need for an additional account (though you can sign into Quizlet with your Google ID) tp sign into.
All in all – this took me around 5 minutes to make and I think you can make this as large or as small as you would like – have fun with it! It could be a good activity for a class or a group of students to help study and quiz one another.
Flippity can also make some other cool things like a Jeopardy so be sure to explore and see what else you can do with Google Sheets and Flippity.
When it comes to Google Sheets, small mistakes in the formula can lead to big errors so it is always good to double check the translation and make sure that it is indeed correct.
I am often shocked and amazed at the prices people are paying for subscriptions/services. Believe it or not, schools pay different prices for the same products. There is usually a deal to be made, and here are a few simple tips to make certain you are getting the best deals out there.
Make some online connections who also work at schools. Setup a shared spreadsheet. Have people add the products they use. Do not ask them to list prices, many terms of service prohibit publishing that type of data. When you see people using the same solutions that your school uses, privately confirm what pricing they are getting.
Dealing with sales people is easier if you already know the answer to the questions.
Ask for MultiYear Deals
Any service or subscription that your institution considers a core solution should not be on an annual renewal. Not only are you wasting time and paperwork, but you are wasting money.
Ask for pricing for one year, three years, and five years. Look at the terms of payment and cancellation. It is often very surprising what the final cost is compared to the simple annual renewal. I usually look at three year deals as they are usually more flexible.
Find Competition, and Make it Known
Regardless of how much adoration there is for a service, remember, business is business. Services close down and sell-out all the time. When a company sells-out, they do not call your school to ask what you think. Companies are in business to stay in business.
Schools should always look for competition for products and services they are using. Schools should always have someone doing research and demos before renewals. Schools should not pay invoices because of an emotional connection.
It is an excellent idea to inform companies that you are looking for other solutions and doing due diligence.
Sales people know the game, and know who they are playing against. Most good sales people tend to know their competition’s pricing models and margins. Sales people will make better offers, package additional features, and push for better terms from their bosses when they know a competitor is involved.
Avoid the Shopping Cart
The listed website price is rarely the best deal. In fact, many good products require a quick form/survey to be completed before they issue a quote. These companies want to have the chance to offer not only the best price, but the best options; options that someone buying from an online shopping cart may skip.
I am not saying this is always the case, but I always contact the sales team to reconfirm the pricing, and deals.
Skip the cart, send a message first.
Need help or more information dealing with a vendor/service? Have a service you need to move away from, but you feel locked in?
Send me a personal email and we can review some additional strategies. (email@example.com)
*NOTE: I ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED THIS ON MAY3 BUT THERE WAS A MISTAKE WITH BASIC ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKSHEET/ I HAVE CORRECTED THIS AND SINCE UPDATED IT TO WORK AS PLANNED.
The journey continues and this marks the hump point of this series. Just a quick recap. In Part 1 I wrote about how I was using Google Forms and Sheets to create an auto calculating scorebook and the services and skills I used. In Part 2 I talked about how I created the Google Form and got it to do what I needed it to do. We also had Google set up a spreadsheet with our data from the form as well.
Here we are in Part 3. Here we are going to set up specific worksheets for each event. Before we start adding functions to a worksheet let’s take a look at the data we have. I went ahead and filled out the form. I have 4 teams and 4 events.
That may be a little small so click this link to get a view only peak at the data. Again, this was all organized by Google automatically. The data is nice, it is organized and it makes perfect sense. What we are going to do now is create additional worksheets in this file to help us filter the data and allow us to organize it for each specific event.
Just a note. If you get stuck and frustrated don’t worry – especially if you have never done any work in a spreadsheet. Stick with it, be patient with yourself and reach out if you need any assistance. Learning something new isn’t always easy.
OK, now we’re ready.
Naming that data
From the Form Responses 1 worksheet we are going to name all this data. This makes it easier to reference it back when using functions in other worksheets. To do this click the empty box below the fx symbol near the top left hand side of the screen. This will select all the data.
Now we need to name it. To do this select Data from the top most menu bar. Then select Named ranges…
Now give it a very simple name with no spaces. Spaces apparently will break it. I also like to keep it lower case. I don’t know why, maybe it is just me but I always make my named ranges lower case.
I called this data olympic. It is simple, easy to remember and hard to misspell.
Create a new worksheet
This might sound like we are going to create a whole new file but no. Spreadsheets have the ability to add different worksheets. Not being a spreadsheet master I feel this is a way to reference other data from other worksheets while at the same time filtering or showing specific data in a particular context.
Doing this is super easy. Open up your spreadsheet. You can get to it through the Google Form Responses page by clicking on the Google Sheets icon (see Part 2 of this series for a screenshot). Then click on the plus button down in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.
If all goes well you should see this! You can rename any sheet by double clicking on its name in the tab. I am calling mine Event 1.
Now to go to that sheet (if it didn’t do it automatically) by clicking on the tab, like a browser tab. You will see a blank worksheet but that will change shortly. You will notice that the columns are labeled as letters and the rows are all labeled as numbers. This is used so we can reference specific cells known as cell reference.
We will start our journey in cell B1. Here we will add a Query function.
The Query function will allow you to pull specific data from the From Responses 1 worksheet. There is a reason we are putting it in cell B1 and not A1 but that will become clear later on. So we only want the Event 1 data in this worksheet.
Here is what you will need to type in cell B1:
=query(olympic,"SELECT B,C,D,E WHERE B='Event 1'",0)
Let’s break down this formula so you can understand what is happening.
The = sign is what is needed to start all functions. This lets the spreadsheet know that it is performing an action and not just holding data.
The word olympic refers back to all the data on the Form Responses 1 sheet.
The comma breaks the function into a different part.
Select B,C,D,E tells us that we are only going to display the data in these columns.
WHERE B=’Event 1 tells us that column B must have those exact words and based on that will show the information in those rows corresponding to columns B,C,D,E
When all is done here are the results!
I am sure there is a function that will sort based on two columns but I do not know it. However, I do know how to sort values in one column. So what we are going to do is convert the minutes and seconds to seconds in Column A.
To do this I typed in this function in A1:
What this does it take the value in cell D6 (the number of minutes) and multiplies it to 60 (converting minutes to seconds) and then adds the value in E6 (the number of seconds) to that total.
Now copy that formula for the other teams. Be sure to change D6 and E6 to D7 and E7 and so on and so on.
Here is what you should have now.
Ranking with the small function
Now we need to rank them or put them in order from fastest to slowest. I am sure there is a way to do this more efficiently but as I have mentioned earlier, I just don’t know how and so I am working with what I know and what I can do.
First I want to highlight the total seconds column and name that range, I don’t want all the data in this worksheet just the total seconds in Column A so that is all I highlight. I called this data event1sec.
Then in Column G (I want to leave column F alone just for aesthetics) I will type this formula:
I’ve made a mistake – we need to put this in column H1 not G1. I’ve updated the post and pictures to reflect this change. Everything up to this point is correct.
The small function returns the smallest value in a set of data.
event1sec is the data it is looking a.
1 this means I want the smallest set of data
So for the next row down here is what you would type: =small(event1sec,2)
The 2 means it wants the second smallest number in that data set.
So this is what your spreadsheet should look like now.
We are nearly done!
In column I, I will simply add the scores. I just type in the numbers into the cell manually. There is a way to write an if statement to get this automatically but this seems a little simpler for me. H1 = 4 H2 = 3 H3 = 2 H4 = 1
Now that we have the numbers ranked you could look back and match up the numbers mentally but it would be best if the country is next to its score. We will be using the vlookup function here and we will be putting that function in cell G1.
Before we add the vlookup we need to name another range. Here I will be highlighting A1 to C4.
I will name this range event1pts. The process is the same as before.
Now let’s add the vlookup function in cell G1 (as I mentioned before).
Now here is what is happening with this formula.
H1 is the number it is looking up.
event1pts is the data that vlookup is looking at.
3 is looking at the third column (so in this case column C of that data set) and that is what is will be shown depending on the value in G1
0 means that it wants an exact match
Here is what that should look like.
Now for the next row (G2) you will want to type this function:
Then use G3 and finally G4.
Now I went ahead and inserted a row at the top and here is the final worksheet.
Duplicate and update
This is the last step and it is pretty easy. We can duplicate this worksheet and only change one function to make it all work for the different events!
Here we go, in the worksheet tab at the very bottom left hand corner of your screen right click the tab for Event 1.
You should see a menu appear. From here select Duplicate.
A new tab will appear and it will contain exactly the same data as the Event 1 worksheet.
From here I will rename the Copy of Event 1 tab to Event 2.
Now I will go to the Event 2 worksheet and find my Query function. It should be in cell B2.
In this function I will change B,C,D,E to B,G,H,I. B stays the same because that column holds the which event it is in the Form Responses 1 worksheet.
Then I will change WHERE B=’Event 1’ to WHERE B=’Event 2’.
Here is an image of the new formula.
=query(olympics,"SELECT B,F,G,H WHERE B='Event 2'",0)
And magically the data should update! Awesome.
Now let’s do it for Event 3 and 4.
Duplicate Event 2
Rename it to Event 3
Change the query function to this: =query(olympics,"SELECT B,I,J,K WHERE B='Event 3'",0)
Duplicate Event 3
Rename it to Event 4
Change the query function to this: =query(olympics,"SELECT B,L,M,N WHERE B='Event 4'",0)
If you’ve been able to follow along and all of your sheets look great well done. If not keep at it. This is a lot to take in and again, if you’ve never dabbled into spreadsheets this could take a while to wrap your head around. I’ve tried to write this post in a way that I feel most people can follow but again, it is almost 2000 words and there are a lot of steps. If there is something you don’t quite get please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help.
Part 4 – Setting up the team worksheets coming soon!
In Part 1 we talked about the broad strokes of creating a scoring system for my school’s Olympics games. We talked about the services to utilize, how it was basically set up and what skills I used to make everything talk together to accomplish our goal.
This post is all about Google Forms. This is the easiest part of the whole shebang. We willl make a form that lets you pick an event and based on that choice will take you to the event to enter their score or time.
You just need to think about who needs access to the form, how easy will it be for them to fill it out and all that good stuff. When I talked to the organizer of the event he said that he was going to be the only one using the form. This makes a lot of sense for a couple of reasons.
All the events are outside and our campus does not have outdoor WiFi set up. Staff may not want to use their personal data for a school event.
Since he will be the only one entering the form, this is smart as it will cut down on mistakes or duplicate entries.
Some of our events deal with water and some staff may feel a little uncomfortable using their smartphone where there is a chance it could get doused.
So he and the IT team will be the only people with access to the form and the spreadsheet. Again, the fewer people who have access the better. Less chance of any screw ups or unwanted changes to the form or accidental deletion of formulas.
Making the Form
Obviously having a Google account is necessary here. Your school does not need to be a G Suite school but it does help when it comes to sharing it with other staff members.
To start a new form head on over to https://forms.google.com and sign in. Once there click on the plus symbol in the bottom right hand corner to create a new Google Form.
Once you get in, you will find it is pretty straightforward.
I suggest making all your questions either multiple choice or from a dropdown menu.
DO NOT LET THEM TYPE IN THE EVENT OR COUNTRY
Allowing people to do this will break your form GUARANTEED! People will accidentally misspell the country, abbreviate it or not type the whole name. All of these variations will make tracking the data impossible.
By making all questions multiple choices you eliminate this nightmare situation. They must select a choice provided. This will make all the Google Sheet work possible.
Rather than have all the questions on one page I decided to make a section for each event. A section is probably what you would imagine. It is a separate section that holds only certain questions. That way the organizer doesn’t have to scroll and scroll and scroll to find the event he needs to enter.
Instead, he clicks on the event (which is question 1) then the form goes to that section for that question. This is known as branching.
So here is what my form looks like right now.
Now I want to make a new section. This is very easy. Just click the new section icon on the toolbar next to the question editor.
Now that the section has been created here is what it will look like.
Now I want the person entering the form to enter a number for the event. I want that to be an integer (not words) and I want some limitations. I don’t want someone to enter in a negative number or say 3 minutes and 62 seconds. 😦 That just doesn’t work for me.
Luckily Google Forms has something called Response Validation. This can let you put some restrictions on what is inputted into the fields.
Google Forms is pretty smart. For me it automatically knew I wanted a number and went ahead and added the data validation, but if it doesn’t here is how you enable it. Click the three buttons icon in the bottom right hand corner of the question.
Then select Response validation.
A new area will be added to the bottom of your question.
Now that it is there I can set some restrictions. For minutes I will make it a number between 1–30 (I know that is the limit for each event).
Where it says Number and Between – those are drop down menus and can be changed.
Now I will add another question to ask for how many seconds it took.
OK that section is done. If you have only races (most of our events are races) then you can just duplicate each the section to how many events you have. Doing this is very easy just go to the top of that particular section, click the three dots and select Duplicate section option
This is very easy. Now that the sections have been duplicated it is time to do the branching. Basically in section one, depending on what event the person filling out the form answers, we want them to go to that section and skip all the other sections. It sounds complicated but is super simple.
Let’s go to the very top in section 1. Now to enable this feature click the three dots in bottom right hand corner of that section. Then select Go to section based on answer.
Now the multiple choice question will change a little. It will add drop down next to each question. This is a drop down menu and you simply select the section you want it to go to.
Now go to each section and at the very bottom change it to Submit form. This will make sure that the form submits after that section is complete and you can start the process over again.
Make a spreadsheet
Last step. Click on Responses tab at the very top of the Google Form. Then click on the Google Sheet icon. This will create a Google Sheet where all the data is stored.
That’s it. It seems like a lot of work but it is really not too difficult especially if you have experience with Google Forms.
Next post will be Part 3 – Google Sheets – Setting up the event
OK and just a fair warning this series is going to get a little technical with formulas and linking multiple worksheets together to get a scoreboard of sorts for an “Olympic” event our school is putting on. I’ll do my best to break this down and try to help you connect the dots but if you need some help reach out to me and I will be happy to assist
This first post is just the background info and some basics that you should know or need to learn about Google Forms & Sheets before going forward. so let’s dig in.
A lot of schools do this and call it different names. I’ve heard it called field day, activity day, royal rumble and so on. Basically it is a day where the school breaks into teams and performs events, either head to head or individually and then at the end of the day a winner is awarded based on their performance.
So this part in itself is busy enough and has a lot of moving pieces and it takes a certain person with good organizational and leadership skills to pull this off. My hat is off to those people.
At the beginning of the year those people came to the IT department and asked for a way to automatically calculate points for each event. What was happening was that calculating and organizing the results was taking too long at the end of the day, and, well, when you have an event like this, 30 minutes of downtime can spiral out of control real quick, so they needed a better solution and we have created that.
Our set up is pretty simple. We have 15 countries (teams) and 15 events. That means that each team will do each event individually. So we need to be able to capture those results and have a real time calculation of these events. The team that performs best at an event is awarded 15 points. Likewise the team that performs the worst is awarded 1 point.
The solution is Google Forms. I’ve made a very simple Google Form. The first page asks what event is being scored.
Then the second page asks for the country (team) name and how they performed.
We will get into making the form itself on the next post but even if you have never used Google Forms before then you should have no problem figuring this out. It is pretty simple.
For those who do not know, the results of a Google Form can be saved onto a Google Sheet. Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program (like Excel). Here is my example I worked on to give you an idea of what a spreadsheet looks like.
This is where the real magic happens. To put it simply all the results from the Google Form are saved on a Google Sheet. All the heavy lifting is done here through a variety of different Google Sheets functions.
So I have four different types of worksheets. A worksheet is a different spreadsheet within the same file. So in the picture below you can see seven of the worksheets in this file.
Here are the four different worksheet types I use.
1. Responses – This one worksheet is where all the form submissions are saved. They are sorted by time but really you will not be touching this data much at all.
2. Event types – I made a worksheet for each event. This data is fed from the Responses worksheet. So in total I made 15 total events but really it is a lot of copying so not a bunch of work. Each event will house all the results for each country in that event
3. Country totals – I made a worksheet for each team. This will house (you probably guessed it) all the results for that particular country. Again, I made 15 worksheets of this type but again, it was a lot of duplication so not a bunch of work
4. Totals – This last type is just one sheet. It shows all the point totals for each team and then ranks them.
When researching this I saw a number of examples but many had people inputting their own scores directly into a spreadsheet which helps a little but was not enough of a time saver for us. I saw others that wrote their script for Google Sheets. This is a bit beyond me at the moment so I decided to try and build my own (which I did) and here are the skills I used to build it.
How to create a form that “branches.” This is very basic and took very little time to learn (15 minutes)
Google Sheets Functions – Functions are commands that tell the sheet to do various tasks like add a column of numbers, look up other cells and report them back into another cell and so on.
Named ranges – This is very simple. You select a range of cells and then you can name that range. So when you want the data from cell A1 to cell D30, you can highlight all that data and name it. Then you no longer need to type out that range over and over again. This is especially helpful when working with multiple sheets (15–30 minutes)
Query – This pulls and filters data from the Responses worksheet onto a new worksheet. It is one function per sheet and updates automatically when a form is submitted. This is a little tricky but definitely learnable to someone with little spreadsheet experience (1–2 hours).
Vlookup – I learned Vlookup when teaching Excel. It basically looks for a reference number in one column and then reports back a value in a different cell. Confused – so was I. This takes a good a little while to learn if you’ve never done it before (1–1.5 hours)
Small and Large – These functions lets you “order” by smallest or the largest. It is very easy to learn (30 minutes).
Sum – Super duper simple. This will add the numbers up in a variety of cells automatically. It is usually one of the easiest and first functions most people learn.
Now take these times with a grain of salt. You may be pretty good with Sheets and these times may be 0 minutes for you. Also understand I am not an expert here. I had some basic knowledge, a goal and determination and I was able to learn how to create this. I am sure there are more efficient and better ways to do this and I look forward to learning those.
Part 2 of this post will be setting up the Google Form. It’ll be out tomorrow or Wednesday. So look out for that.