Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Power of a Voice though Google Forms

In educational circles and many meetings I have been involved in lately I keep hearing statements about the number of surveys we are asked to fill out.  With the use of Google Apps for Education in the district we are seeing even more as we become familiar with the ease of use of Google Forms.  I got to wondering about Forms and Surveys in general.  Some questions came up in my mind like:

  • Isn't it good to ask an opinion, give people a safer way to share their thoughts or be a part of a conversation?
  • Is a survey or form a digitized worksheet?
  • What do we gain from gathering opinions if we don't then use the results?
  • Why do people get upset by filling out a form?
  • Do students and adults feel the same about filling out a form?
  • If students are more willing to fill out forms, why is that?
  • Why do people like to create and send a form to others as a means of gaining opinions or information?

I am not sure I have answers to these questions nor do I think the answers would be easy to find, but I do know some the answers to some and specifically the last one.  Creating a Google Form is a great way to gather feedback from a sometimes unwilling participant (think middle school kids).  A Form will allow a student to take risks, have purpose when using the Internet, and most importantly, allows the respondent to respond in their thinking time frame as opposed to the time frame allowable in class.  On the receiving end of the data and information that is collected through the form, it becomes easily manipulated, sharable and easy to read.
I wonder if we underestimate how exciting Forms are for students.  I think they enjoy them a lot more than we do.  If the feedback is explored, analyzed (possibly to plan for future lessons or improvement) or used to develop interest in the classroom, then I don't think forms are just a digital worksheet.  I think forms are an underused tool in our classrooms.

A great tour of Google Forms is here:  

Some great Google Form Ideas might be: (Links below are from the Template Gallery)

A survey of the effectiveness of group work after a project is completed.
A personal reflection on a book, project or field trip.
An exit survey after an important lesson (perhaps a kid review notes to complete it - Even better!)
To collect science observations and then work with class data when complete.
As a parent information collection at the beginning of the school year.
As a Book Log for the year.
As a Parent Communication Database
Book Report

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