Cool Tools for Schools, You Pick: Google Data Studio!

For the last several years, inspired by a Cool Tool topic I had worked on, I have been creating monthly library reports for my principal. I’ve been using Piktochart and have loved it-I was able to customize my report template just the way I wanted and reuse it month after month. My principal loved getting them as well. Unfortunately, I received an email that Piktochart was going to making some changes and my free account was about to be a lot less awesome. I will be limited to 5 visuals as of May and that’s just not enough for someone who likes to make (and save) monthly reports! As such, I’ve been on the hunt for something new to use for the last few weeks. Recently, a colleague went to a training where they learned about making reading dashboards and when they sent out there sample to the rest of us, I was delighted to discover there is a Google product I’ve never heard of called Data Studio. I couldn’t wait to try it out and see if it could be my Piktochart replacement!

One of my past Piktochart library reports

Things I liked:

  • Step by step getting started tutorial (almost too in-depth)
  • We’re already a GAFE school so it blends seamlessly with other products I already use on a daily basis
  • Template gallery so you don’t have to start completely from scratch
  • Maybe it will inspire me to log more traditional data

Things I didn’t like:

  • Template gallery isn’t very large
  • Templates provided by others weren’t searchable
  • Community templates aren’t all available to make your own copies from
  • Doesn’t have Google Images built in like other Google products (I had to find, save and, upload my own images when I wanted to add or change them)
My first attempt at using Google Data…

There’s definitely a learning curve to work with and it doesn’t completely operate like other Google products I’ve used but, I think I’m going to stick with it. I think the more I use it the better at it I’ll get and I don’t feel like I’ll have to worry about it suddenly becoming a paid feature like the other products I’ve used in the past. I’ve included the template I made for the April library report using Data Studio as well as the a past report using Piktochart. My latest version lacks some of the pizzazz of the past ones but, my first few attempts with Piktochart weren’t exactly top notch either! I’m sure like Piktochart, I’ll just keep tinkering and getting better. And I’m looking forward to getting more creative with some data I can add as well. I’m thinking I’ll tinker with the data I can download from circulation and see what I can do with that for our end of year report…and if anyone else does library reports (monthly, quarterly, whatever) I’d love to hear what you include!

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