Our staff was looking to find out what was the community inventory of technology. So rather than me putting together a survey and sending it home to families, I took advantage of the fact that I get to work with an advanced group of mathematicians. This group of gr. 7 students really enjoy being challenged.
We met in the, soon to be dispersed, computer lab around a table and brainstormed strategies for attacking this problem. First issue was what does a survey look like. So rather than reinvent the wheel, the students jumped onto the internet and began using the boolean searching skills they had just learned the day prior. As each student found good examples of questions that we could use for our technology inventory survey, they posted them to a del.icio.us account that one of the students had created. The rule was that each student had to annotate the link so that the other students could evaluate the value of the link. Once they were satisfied with the variety of survey questions, their homework (over the weekend) was to log onto Google Docs and collectively build a 30 question survey.
Originally, the Google Doc was going to be printed off and sent home, but instead, one of the students was simultaneously typing the questions in to surveymonkey.com as the group was adding them to Google Docs. On Monday, the students presented me with a survey that was both in hardcopy and as a link from our school web-page. All I had to do was send out an email request to the parent-listserve asking them to respond to the survey and bingo bango, surveymonkey collected and collated the data over the next two weeks. In two weeks we had a large enough sample to be able to make some decisions.