Who cares how you get to school?!!
Having to create a survey and analyse the results can be quite a tricky and time consuming business. Therefore, students are often given data sets of ready made, often fictitious, answers. Also the same old themes seem to be used over and over again. To be frank, very few students are interested in how children travel to school!
Online surveys are a great way to enable students to generate and analyse real information from people that actually exist anywhere in the world. They can also empower students to research issues that they are actually interested in.
There are now a number of quick and easy to use sites that enable teachers and/or students to create a survey and then collate the data into a file for analysis. One of the best free sites I have found to do this is surveymonkey.com. It enables the user to create a 10 question survey for up to 100 responses. For the last three years I have been using SurveyAtSchool. There is a small charge, but it gives the user more control and features to use.
KS3 ICT unit 7.5 introduces students to generating and analysing survey data. Our Dept. has adapted the QCA sample resources to make it a project on ways to save energy. By analysing the data students can then suggest ways to reduce our energy consumption.
Another unit that we have adapted from the KS3 ICT strategy is 9.2b Online Surveys. After creating a project plan our students record their assumptions about how the lives of young people in the UK and USA differ. From these initial ideas they create hypotheses and then questions to prove/disprove them. We then compile the questions into one global survey and invite our link schools to participate. This year 1238 students took part!
The survey data is compiled and saved as a .csv file (comma seperated value). This can then be imported into a spreadsheet to be filtered and analysed. This year we taught the students how to create pivot tables. To view an example of how we analysed the data click here.
It is interesting to note that a number of our students’ stereotypical impressions of life in the USA were proved to be wrong. For example, on average, UK students ate chips more regularly and more of them had their own website than students in the USA.
As the students had thought of the themes and questions themselves they were much more motivated to analyse the data in detail and produce reports on what they discovered.
Our Y10/11 students also use online surveys as part of their AiDA course. This is an effective way for them to gather research from a large number of people. Our Y10 students are currently gathering information on whether parents are concerned about their children’s use of screen based media. To view their surveys and help them in their research click here. We’ve come up with a great formula to help count results when using filters. To view an example exercise in how to do this click here.