“Do your job.” That was the mantra that Patriots adopted on their way to their win in Superbowl XLIX. Team first. Maximize talent. Take home the Lombardi Trophy.
“Do your job” is also a way to summarize the functionality of Google Forms. Forms is a role player on the Google Team. It plays well with with all the all the other Apps and it allows for collection of data that you can use in other third party apps.
Here are five ways that I have used Google Forms to track growth, assess understanding and help students guide my planning.
1. Create word clouds
I have used this activity with beginners in the first week of class as well as more advanced students any time during the year. Prompts can be creative or interpretive. Responses can be at the word, phrase or clause level. Whatever the prompt and response, I take the responses from the Google Form and paste them—a whole class at a time—into Wordle. I have done this next day and real time, as preview and wrap up. The visualization of vocabulary reinforces the meanings and connections among words and concepts.
2. Create Exit Tickets
Completing exit tickets using Forms lets students reflect on lesson and assess their own understanding.
The more we learn about learning and the brain, the more we see the value of reflective writing. On understanding. On process. On past and future outcomes. A single question could be the prompt for an exit ticket. What worked for you this week/lesson/semester? What do you need to know? What do you want to know? What could you do differently next week/lesson/semester? These responses could come with a name attached to track specific students’ understanding or without to gauge the group. If you set the form to allow multiple responses, you can keep a log over the course of the lesson, semester, year.
Using Forms to create polls is simple. From simple lessons like what is your favorite season/color/sport to more sophisticated discourse (politics/news/current events), Forms is an easy way to capture and display.
The functions above work right off the response spreadsheet. There are powerful ways to sort and share the data. Beyond the spreadsheet view lie a number of other ways to view the data. The best of these for non-statisticians like myself is “Show summary of responses.” (Form –> Show summary of responses). This view can summarize responses as pie charts and bar graphs. I’ve used this for opinion polls and conversation starters. This also works as a tool to get students thinking about the Why? How? of the answer over the What?
4. Informal/Formative assessments with Flubaroo
Flubaroo is an “add-on” script that allows teachers to give instant feedback to students on assignments that they complete using Forms. I have used it primarily for vocabulary and grammar activities. I have done these as graded exercises for homework, practice in class and previewing in the language lab. There are many other possibilities as well. Students have responded well to the direct feedback.
Flubaroo takes a bit of getting used to, but once you are familiar with the interface it is easy enough to navigate. After the script runs on the form, it produces a second score spreadsheet as well as a grade report that can be emailed to students.
5. Collect input for future lessons
Forms can be used for formative assessment for teachers as well. Pulse checks, check-ins, short or longer feedback forms. How are we doing? What can we do differently? Better? What’s working? What’s not? In this model we can look backwards to make adjustments. There are other ways to use Forms to look ahead.
I recently wrote about how I used Forms to give students choice about how we used review days. I can imagine situations where one could use Forms as a way to allow for student input about evaluations (what kind? rubrics?), time use, group assignments, etc.