We have made several of our hands-on experiments available on the innovative learning platform Google Workbench, and this new integration helps streamline data aggregation in biology classrooms.
Through the Google Workbench platform, instructors can share pre-built Google Sheets so students can analyze data and learn collaboratively.
“Data aggregation helps students understand the story better,” said John Melville, PhD, Director of Biology at Vernier.
Before coming to Vernier, Melville helped integrate data-collection technology into Oregon State University animal and human physiology courses in the 1990s. A lot has changed since then, including how students can use, access, and collect data to better understand scientific concepts. While the principles of data aggregation have changed very little over time, there hasn’t been a way to automate it until now.
“Traditionally, you’d aggregate data on a chalkboard or in a spreadsheet, but there’s never been a good way to expedite the process through automation,” Melville explained. “The instructor or teacher can now graph data and even perform simple statistical tests (e.g., students’ t-test) automatically.”
Often, class time is not sufficient for students to collect all of the data from an experiment. Students or groups may be assigned a specific parameter to test in class, but they still often lack the time to view the full results of an experiment. With Vernier experiments and Google Workbench, the data from each group can now be collected into a table or spreadsheet that the entire class can use to complete an activity. This form of data aggregation allows students to see the complete results of an experiment, even in a short class period. Instructors can use pre-built Google Sheets that Vernier educational specialists have created. This makes it easy for instructors to aggregate class data, and they can even perform simple statistical tests and create bar graphs automatically.
“For students, one of the biggest benefits is that it decreases ‘busy work’ and allows them to see the full results of a complex experiment rapidly,” Melville said. “Furthermore, it allows them to perform more complex analyses that they normally wouldn’t be able to do in a class period.”
The experiments are available on the Vernier content channel of Google Workbench. Teachers can easily copy, customize, and implement these lessons and assign them to their classes with the built-in Google Classroom integration.