Google has recently added some new features to its Google Docs Spreadsheets that now allow you to pull collaborative data from Google Spreadsheets into gadgets for display on iGoogle and also for embedding into other platforms. The Google Docs Blog has a post that outlines the new features.
One way a teacher might use these tools is to create a spreadsheet and form that surveys students on a particular question or series of questions. Using the form feature, one could easily link to the form from a classroom blog or via email. Students could follow the link to the survey, fill it out and in real time the results could be available to the teacher, displayed on a web page, or displayed for the class via a data projector. If available, students could use their cell phones or other web appliances to access the form and enter their responses. Kind of a low cost "clicker".
Below is a simple example. Here is a link to the form I created called : Favorite Team. It is a simple one question form regrading your favorite Oregon college team. If you follow the link you can fill out the form and watch the totals change below. To get the totals I used the countif command. Update: I'm having some trouble consistently getting the data below to update, but I have also embedded these on my iGoogle page and they update automatically. Will do some research and see why they aren't updating below...
I am using something similar to keep track of my classroom visits and walk-thrus. I have created a Google Docs spreadsheet to document my classroom visits. I capture the date/time, teacher name, subject area being taught, and some other curricular information and also have a field for notes. I have the link to the form saved on my iPhone. When visiting classrooms I access the form on my phone and enter the information. Once I submit the form, the spreadsheet is automatically updated along with a bar chart that graphically displays the number of visits I have made to each particular classroom. Being able to visually see this running totals helps to guide my visits and assures that I visit each classroom.
The connected nature of applications, such as Google Docs, provides many interesting ways to collect, display and share data.