My Love for Google Forms Increases

Mar 26, 2010 by

To tell you that I’m just a “little busy” right now would be a massive understatement.

I’m currently teaching, have just come off of helping plan one of the largest teacher conferences in the Midwest earlier this month, trying to be a good dad to my 4 year old and 4 month old, trying to be a good husband, taking master’s classes…..you get the idea. To top it off, the set of students response units (clickers) that I’ve come to depend on during this time of year for student feedback on presentations is being used by another teacher in the building (who coincidentally totally deserves to use them, so don’t think I’m whining).

So to take a little bit of stress off my shoulders, I found a way for my students to still submit comments on their presentations while my clickers are down the hall in the hands of other eager young learners. Using my Google account, I set up a simple form from Google Docs. Nothing fancy, just went to my Google Docs home page, created a new form with just one question. I set it up as an open paragraph response, in case the students wanted to write a lengthy response to another students’ presentation, made sure to include some simple directions (comments need to be positive, focusing on one aspect of the presentation they enjoyed, and more importantly why). I embedded the open-ended question on my website and magically, the comments kids were sending in went form just a few words “u R a great presenter, nice pics” on the clickers to “I really like your hotel, it looks like a nice place to stay. Glad you includd [sic] info on how much kids cost to stay” by using the Google Form.

I’ve been asking the students about this all week, especially since we’ve been using the clickers for two years now, and they’re all very well versed with texting. Their answers? “It’s easier Mr. Rimes, and it’s hard to text lots of large stuff on the clickers” pretty much sums up their responses. I was floored! In just a few days, one simple little empty box and a keyboard was able to provide the clearest example, and best as of today, of what I’ve been telling my students for three years now; typing, real typing, using the homerow matters. WHen done right, it’s quick, allows you to get your thoughts on the screen as soon as you think them, and you don’t have to deal with the frustration of those small buttons.

Yes, believe it or not, my students actually SAW the benefit of using the “stupid, old-man like typing lessons I’ve been having them practice”, and were actually quite happy to send in their comments using the Google Form. I don’t know if it was just the mindset of them using the clickers (hey, it’s like a cool phone thingee, let’s go ahead and just send in superficial, text-speak comments), but moving over to the keyboards was wonderful breath of fresh air for both me and the students. When asked if they would like to use the Google Forms again, it was a resounding yes 🙂

I don’t have the control over the comments as I did with the clickers. If a student were to send in an inappropriate comment or phrase I couldn’t track down which one of them said it like I can with the clickers, but thankfully a lot of the work I’ve been doing with online collaboration and digital citizenship in 3rd and 4th grades has paid off by the time the students get to 5th grade. I only had to take away a half dozen clickers this year during presenter feedback as opposed to the dozens I had to take away with last year’s 5th graders.

But I digress, as the real purpose of this post was to show my growing love for Google Forms. If you aren’t using them in your teaching yet, give it a try, see what happens 🙂

6 Comments

  1. ursula accumanno

    Hi Ben,
    I have been using gmail forms for my proposal submissions for our conference. It has been a blessing!

    Do you use an online registration system for your event, if so, which one?

    Have a great weekend.
    Ursula

  2. We do use an online registration system for the annual MACUL conference, but it’s a home-brewed one done by our conference managers, the University of Cincinnati. Which actually isn’t entirely correct as this year we finally got our own in-house registration system that was developed for us by a web application design firm here in Michigan.

    Which of course, probably doesn’t help much, but you might want to check out Regonline (http://www.regonline.com/), they seem to have a pretty robust system for online registration, payment management, and other goodies 🙂

  3. Such a simple use for Google Forms, but so appropriate. I’ve used it a lot to get student feedback for me on projects, but I like this idea of using Google Forms for students to get feedback. Do your students have laptops (oh I wish we did) to do this?
    .-= Karen Bosch´s last blog ..Invitation to Classes Studying Explorers =-.

  4. No, unfortunately my students don’t have laptops, but since I teach in a computer lab, I have 1:1 with all of them. Next year will get even better, because all of the students in the district will have access to their own gmail address provided by the school, which means I’ll be able to take this a step further; I’ll be able to put the form up only for registered accounts holders, and give some accountability for those submitting the feedback.

    I might also have the students develop their own feedback forms next year, so they can customize their surveys and get access to some information that goes beyond what my rubric can provide.

  5. Thanks, Ben. This sounds like a great way to get feedback on presentations. I may give it a try for our next project.

    Thanks for checking out my blog as well. My students would love it if your class has time to leave some comments. If you do, could you have them go to the link for the Veldman class because they haven’t had any outside comments yet. Just took a look at your explorer videos and we will definitely take a visit there after vacation. Neat project, and I like the way you set up the commenting there as well.
    .-= Karen Bosch´s last blog ..Invitation to Classes Studying Explorers =-.

  6. In my school, we have gone out of our way to get kids using those forms. We do voting for different school elections, feedback on assignments or school events, and exit interviews with seniors. We have even dabbled with using them to write quizzes and tests, and then using the “change rules” function on the spreadsheet to mark correct answers. Works ok for essays, too!.

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