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 🙂