Thursday, April 16, 2015

Adding Color to your Data in Google Spreadsheets to Show Growth

I enjoy analyzing data.  I love color.   Recently I discovered a new Google Sheets feature that uses color in a new way to look at data.

If like me, you like to combine data and color, you are probably already using Conditional Formatting.    Recently I noticed a new feature when I clicked on conditional formatting-- COLOR SCALE.  It seems to have snuck in there quietly, but boy is it awesome!

Here's a quick snapshot of how to use this feature.

How would you use this?  Lots of ways,  but here is one of the ways I use it frequently to help students see the growth in growth mindset in a very concrete way.

I start the beginning of a workshop or course with a Google Sheet where I
-- add a list of learning tasks we will complete in Column A
-- add a skill we will gain from completing the learning tasks in Column B
-- ask students to pre-assess  their skill level by placing a number in a column
       (1) no experience  (2) Aware of skill  (3) Practiced this skill (4) Confident in this skill already
-- use conditional formatting feature of Google sheets to assign a color to each value

I make a copy of the sheet and then ask them to do a post assessment on the copy

This makes it so easy to see the growth in confidence (or skill level) of our cadre of learners. 

The old way to do this was to add a new rule for each possible value. 

But with the new color scale feature,  you simply select a range and assign a color to the lowest and highest value.  Google Sheets does all the math and coloring for you.  And playing with color combination is a breeze. 

For more ways to use conditional formatting,  check out Alice Keeler's recent blog post:  Be Data Driven, Use Conditional Formatting.   

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