Ah, Google Forms — so simple and easy for quizzes and surveys. Type in content by hitting some plus signs to add questions, find a link to share, and students are ready to get moving with the assessment or feedback. Truly, many teachers are ready to stop here. They don’t need anymore…they don’t want anymore. Their world is a happy place because it’s paperless, and in some cases, lightened by the addition of a grading add-on such as Flubaroo. However, by broadening their horizons, educators can make bigger and better use of Google Forms for student interaction and organizing their own work world.
First off, changing the way we think about how Forms are used with students can open a whole new world of ease and relevance. For example, if class members are preparing presentations, use Google Forms to create peer assessment opportunities.
Pair individuals or groups together and allow them to provide feedback prior to the final presentation, so that presenters have a chance to improve. Google Forms could also become a Self-Assessment Checklist, say for group work, or a feedback tool for a final event.
Another excellent use of Forms is data collection, along with running records, gathering resources, and any creative use that can be imagined. Science teachers can create a form for students to input data as part of a science experiment, while high school foreign language teachers require students to evaluate French or Spanish websites. Other ideas include online reading records/journals — name, title, author, type of books, pages read, comments, etc. — reporting on group projects, graphing data, generating a “choose your own adventure” story, collaborating on timelines, or compiling student notes.
Besides using Google Forms to increase student interaction and feedback, teachers will also find this tool beneficial when it comes to managing their own work in the classroom and beyond. With Parent Conference Night looming, who wants to stand at the copier printing off sheets to send home in student backpacks, all the while hoping that parents take time to fill out the sign-up sheet for a conference time? Uh, nobody. Instead, turn to Forms to expedite the process — they work great on mobile devices, you can share your calendar for parents to reference, and then Google does all the work of gathering those responses in one location.
There’s also the business of managing data in the classroom. With special education students, classroom behavior management, scoring rubrics, and other demands, having access to these tools can make life better. Take special education students with a variety of different goals who require monitoring on a daily, and sometime more frequent, basis. With a mobile device and a Google Form, the teacher is able to roam freely throughout the room recording information.
Another way Forms can be used is for a sign-in/out sheet. Consider all the data you can collect on which students leave your room each day, where they go (can you say bathroom?), and how long they’re gone. That information can be shared with parents, counselors, or administrators to paint a picture of a given student’s activity. If a child is frequently going to the bathroom, then an investigation as to the cause is perhaps needed. Such data points are important, too, when a principal asks teachers which students were in the hallways at a certain time of the day, such as when the Fire Alarm sounds … unexpectedly.
Implementing Forms with fellow adults is also beneficial, such as when the principal or coach asks for an overview of lesson plans along with standards. The old-fashioned plan book with its cramped grid format doesn’t quite cut the mustard these days when considering the amount of information demanded for even general lesson outlines. Creating a Form pre-filled with Common Core Standards allows for quick checkmarks aligned with paragraph sections where the broad ideas are noted. Share that document with an administrator with viewing rights means that he or she can access your plans on demand.
Don’t be afraid to think out of the box when it comes to using Google Forms. They are especially useful because they allow both students and teachers to provide feedback and manage workflow in a faster, more efficient manner. If you’re interested in additional ideas or the “how-to” part of creating Forms, just contact me or any of the District Technology Resource Teachers for assistance!