Saturday, March 29, 2014

What's a Google Form Good For? (Part 2) Collecting Data and Assignments

Student Data Form
Last week someone asked me this great question and I am still working out new ways to answer it.

Collect Data
One way I have used a form every year since 2009 is to collect information from students at the beginning of the year when I am getting to know them.  I can use this to collect email addresses, ask about favorite books, interests, and even learn what kinds of digital tools they already use.  I keep a link to this data form on my class blog and whenever I get a new student (quite often) I can have them fill it out right away too.  See my student data form. 

Google forms save me a lot of time because I can make a form as fast as I can make a paper questionnaire, faster if you count time not spent in the copy room. Then my students enter their information right onto the form and I get the results in a spreadsheet. Once I have the data I can sort it, review it and even grade it much faster than I can with paper.  (More on assessment in part three of this series.)

Collect Assignments
Another kind of data that I know many teachers use forms to collect is assignment links.  We are coming to a place in time where more and more student work is done online and often the product of that work is best found through a URL (web address).

For example, my students write book reviews on Goodreads, a networking site about books. When their review is complete they get a link to it. I use a form for them to turn in their links to me. They fill out the form with the names of the books they read and include links to their reviews.  Their submissions end up in my spreadsheet as clickable links and I can click my way to their work easily. This is much faster than my old method of finding each of them one by one on Goodreads.
Spreadsheet of book review links

The screenshot has their names and emails hidden, but you'll notice the time stamp on the left tells me exactly when they turned in their work. Also I've added multiple tabs across the bottom. Each grading period I add a new tab and copy/paste their submissions over to the tab for that month. The new entries keep coming in on sheet 1, but I've essentially archived the older submissions by moving them to the other tabs and then deleting them from sheet 1. Occasionally having the old submissions comes in handy. You can view the form students use to submit their book review links here. 

Using a form to collect links to student work will come in handy if your students are doing video projects, using Docs Story Builder, creating websites or blogs or any other online work.  See also: What's a Google Form Good For (Part 1) 
And What's a Google Form Good For (Part 3)

Need help getting started with forms? Check out this great tutorial from my friend Joe Wood.