Recently, I started exploring Google Docs in the classroom. My experience so far has been mostly with forms. I have found a variety of uses for them. Below are some examples and links to the actual forms.
Diagnostic Survey – I used this survey at the beginning of the year to determine students’ access to a computer and the internet at home. In addition, I asked the students to check off the states they have visited. This is important information in that I know who I need to provide extra time using in-school technology and who I can count on to extend their exploration of technology at home. Since we are beginning a unit on the United States, asking the states question gives me a better understanding of students’ background knowledge.
Learning Styles Inventory: I used this survey to record students’ responses to an online survey called Abiator’s Online Learning Styles Inventory. Students recorded their responses to questions on a worksheet as they took the survey. Although I could have collected the paper copies and had all the same information, collecting their answers on a Google Doc was easier and much more meaningful. I could view their individual results in a spreadsheet, but also important, I could view the results as a whole class, too. This gave me a better understanding of the overall learning style preferences of the class and their multiple intelligence results, too.
Pick a State to Research: In this survey students are asked to rank their top five choices for states to research. The goal is for each student to research two states, with no states being repeated. This is a simultaneous project that goes with our class election. After I teach the students about the Electoral College, I explain to them that their class vote for our classroom president is worth the number of electoral votes of the two states they have researched. In the past, I had students write their choices on a piece of paper. I then tediously entered all of their choices in a spreadsheet and analyzed which state should go to each student based on their choices. With the survey, most of that work is done for me.
Just today in class, I introduced our final project for the animal classification webquest we have been doing. Students will work in groups of five. Each member will research one of the five animal kingdoms and together the five of them will create a project that includes all five kingdoms. On the spur of the moment, I decided to use a Google Doc Form to determine the animal kingdom each student would prefer researching. By the time students had retrieved laptops, turned them on, and logged in, I had created the form and placed a link to it on our wikispace. Five minutes later, all twenty-two students had logged their preference. My job now is to form groups based on their choices so that each group contains a member from each of the animal kingdoms.
The more I use the Google Doc Form, the more ideas and uses I come up with for it. I already know they are useful for gathering and analyzing a body of information in a short amount of time. How else might I use them? Have you used Google Docs in your classroom? How have you used them? Please share your ideas with me. I would love to hear them!