Episode 12: Importing the class results with TinkerPlots

NOTE: These videos were prepared when the Census at School Project was managed by Statistics Canada. Most of the information is still relevant.

Duration: 5:48  min.

In this episode, I'll show you how to import your Census at School data into TinkerPlots.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Angela McCanny. One fascinating analytical software program that works very well with the Census at School’s data results is TinkerPlots. TinkerPlots is distributed by Key Curriculum Press and it’s used by many school boards across Canada. It is very easy to use: easy for the teacher to import the data—and I’ll show you that in just a few seconds—and easy for the students to use, because it uses the “drag and drop” method to create graphs and analyse data.

In this episode, I’ll show you how to import your Census at School data into TinkerPlots. So to start, make sure that you have TinkerPlots on all the lab computers, not just the lead teacher computer.

Now, let’s look at three quick methods for importing your dataset into TinkerPlots. They’re all good, but one may work better than the others, depending on the set-up of your school computers.

The first method is importing using “drag and drop”.
Let’s start by opening TinkerPlots. Likely, you will find it on the Start menu, but if not, search your program files or ask the IT person for your school where to find it.
What we have here is a blank TinkerPlots window, with no data in it. We want to leave TinkerPlots open, so that we can drag the data into it. So, click on the left edge of the TinkerPlots window, and drag it to the right to make it take up about half your screen and just leave it open. It’s ready for us to import the data.
Now open your class database on the Census at School website. Go to www.censusatschool.ca.
In the left hand menu, select Teachers and at top of page, click Sign in. Use your e-mail address and the teacher password you received from Census at School when you registered as a teacher. At the bottom of the page, find the class whose data you wish to download and in the right-hand column, select Results and click on View. Your class dataset will open.
Now click on the right-hand side of your internet window and drag it so that it takes up the left side of your screen. You should have the class results on the left and TinkerPlots on the right.
Now, here comes the “drag and drop” part. On the class results page, find the internet address bar (it should be in the top left corner of your screen) and position the mouse over the internet symbol in front of the URL (or web address). Click the mouse button down and keep it pressed down while you drag the URL into the blank part of the TinkerPlots window. Now let go of the button.
It may take a few seconds for the data to import, but very shortly, your data will open on the screen, and that’s all there is to it! This little box contains the case cards for all of your students, one card for each of the students who completed the survey.
Now we’re ready for the second data import method: import with the URL.
So, if we are starting from the beginning, we open the Census at School class dataset. That is: go to Teachers, sign in and click on Results, then View.
For this method, we are going to need to copy and paste the URL from the internet address box. So, highlight the web address (or the URL), by clicking once in the internet box: this should highlight the full address. Now, use “Control C”: click down the Control button and the letter C at the same time. This has copied the address.
Now, let’s open TinkerPlots. On the File menu, click on Import from URL. A dialogue box called Enter Internet Location will open, so click in the white space and paste the web address by using “Control V’ — that is, the Control button and the letter V pressed down at the same time. The web address will appear, and click OK. Your data has been imported into TinkerPlots. Again, pretty simple.
So, let’s try the third method for importing your data. This method works very well for the international data on the Census at School website, so it’s a useful one to know.
We need to start by saving the class dataset as a comma separated values file (or a.CSV file), and then importing it into TinkerPlots later.
So return to the Results page and, this time, click Download. Do not select Open or Find if those buttons are available; instead, click Save.
In the Save in box, save it to a convenient location on your computer, where you will be able to find it for importing to other software. The Desktop or your teacher folder would be fine.
In the File name box, rename it so you recognize it. In the Save as type box, leave it as a .CSV document. Click Save.
Now, open TinkerPlots. At top of the page, select the File menu, pull down and select Import from file. In the Look in window, select the .CSV file that you saved. If you cannot find the .CSV file, go to the Files of type window at the bottom of the Select Import Files dialog box, and pull down on the arrow to select All files. Your .CSV file should appear. Click Open.
The data will appear as a new set of data cards in your TinkerPlots window. If you wish, rename the collection by double-clicking in box in the top left corner of the cards. Type the new name and click OK.
Now, save the TinkerPlots file using the File menu, then Save as, and renaming and saving to a location your students can access.
You are now ready for your students to open the file and learn how to use TinkerPlots.

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