Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Google Forms Really Work in the Classroom

There are many uses I have found for Google Apps for education, but one of my favorites has been to use Google Forms to collect information from my students and their parents.  Below are a few of the ways that I use them in my classroom.

What it is and How it Works:

Google Forms basically allows you to create a basic webpage for collecting data.  There are many question options and customizable features, but the best part is what it does with the data once it collects it.

For every Google Form you create, a separate Google Sheet (Google’s version of Microsoft Excel) is created automatically which collects the data and organizes it into categories corresponding to the questions asked.  This data can then be easily reviewed, downloaded and even applied to gradebooks depending on the software used.

Form Uses for Teachers

Google Forms offers many great features for teachers to use in their classrooms, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Self-grading quizzes: have an assessment that you want to give and grade it fast?  If it is multiple choice, Google Forms is an excellent tool to use, especially with the Google Sheets add-on Flubaroo, which does the work for you by grading the test itself.  If it is long answer, all responses are still collected into Google Sheets, so you can read each response quickly and without fear of losing your eyesight from your student’s handwriting.
  2. E-mail/data collection: At the beginning of each year, I collect e-mail and contact information from parents of students so that we can keep in touch throughout the school year about important events or student concerns.  I’ll explain this further below.
  3. Bell ringer/exit tickets: For quick access at the beginning or end of the class, students can type into Google Forms or click on a few multiple choice questions without students wasting paper, or teachers struggling to collect typical exit tickets on post-it notes or scrap paper.
  4. Surveys/check-in activities: Want to know how the students are feeling about your classroom setup?  Wonder if parents are happy with classroom expectations?  What about a student reflection activity on their progress so far?  All again are very easy options to create and collect using Google Forms.

Here are two images of an example quiz and the accompanying Google Sheet below:

Google Form Quiz

An example chapter quiz using Google Forms

Google Form Quiz Response

The Google Sheet that is automatically created and populated once students enter their information (names removed for anonymity)

How to Make a Form

New to forms?  Try the following simple steps below to quickly make an awesome form for your classroom:

1)Go to Forms

Type the URL https://forms.google.com -or- Under Drive, click the red ‘New’ button on the upper left side of the screen, scroll down to the ‘More’ option and hit ‘Forms’.

2) Make your form!

You can choose from a variety of question types, including short answer, multiple choice, or check box responses.  You are also able to decide whether you want to make the question a required one or not, meaning that the user cannot finish your form without answering that particular question.

3) Change the theme

Think your form lacks flair?  Then mix things up by clicking on the ‘change theme’ button at the top of the screen.  There are a variety of options to choose from to make the ultimate form to match your personality.

*Note: In order to track the name of each student, make sure to either collect the e-mail addresses of each participant or to require the first question be “Your Name” so that you will know who submitted each set of answers.

E-Mail/Data Collection

As a teacher, I like to keep in communication with the parents of my students.  Whether it is for individual student concerns, upcoming major assignments or important events at school, having direct e-mail access makes a big difference in keeping parents in support of our classroom.

As a Google School, all of our students are supplied with G-mail e-mail addresses, but how would I contact the parents?

In the past, I had 2 options: 1) use the MiStar grading system to attempt to access e-mails, some however are outdated, missing, or only gave access to one parent in a household, not ideal for the realities of homelife today. 2) Ask each parent to write out their e-mail address on the bottom of my syllabus.  Then I could spend several hours identifying poor hand-writing and manually typing out an e-mail address for everyone.

With Google Forms, all of this hassle has been taken care of!  Here are the steps to making an e-mail distribution list:

  1. Create your own Google Form following the steps above.  You can see my example here.
  2. Click the ‘Send Form’ button at the top right of the screen, underneath where it displays ‘link to share’, click the ‘Short Url’ button so that you have a smaller link to the form to share.
  3. You can display the link on your class webpage, or add it to the bottom of your syllabus at the beginning of the year.
  4. Every time a participant visits the link and fills out the form, their answers automatically populate to the corresponding Google Sheet.  The Google Sheet will have the same name as your Google Form with the word (Responses) in parentheses behind it, and it will be located in the same place in your Drive folders as well.
  5. Monitor the sheet and check off every student.  You are able to type in information manually into the Google Sheet also in case anyone experiences a technical difficulty.
  6. Once your sheet is completed, click the ‘File’ tab on the top left of the screen and select the option ‘Download as’- you want to download it as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) File.
  7. In your Google E-mail account, open your contacts list by clicking on the ‘Mail’ icon at the top left of the page, scroll down until you find the option ‘Import Contacts’, import the CSV file you just saved and let it do its magic.
  8. You will now have a list of all the names that you just uploaded, change the name of the contact group to whatever you will remember (I label it ‘parents’)
  9. You can now e-mail your entire list simply by typing in parents in the ‘TO’ field of an e-mail! It’s that simple!  You can also message individual parents simply by typing in the name of the contact.

And it is that simple- the saying goes “work harder not smarter”, and Google Forms allows you to do exactly that.

Any questions, concerns, or thoughts on the subject!  Please comment below:-)

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