20 practical ways to use Google Forms in class, school

Google Forms gives educators a powerful data collection tool. Check out these 20 ways to harness its power in school. (Google Forms logo used under fair use)

Google Forms gives educators a powerful data collection tool. Check out these 20 ways to harness its power in school. (Google Forms logo used under fair use)

Everyone wants data. Schools want it to track student performance. Companies want it to learn about their customers.

We track data in our own personal lives (fitness data, banking data, even social media data).

Teachers and students have their own data gathering and tracking tool that’s free and easy to learn — Google Forms.

Google Forms lets you create a survey with lots of different kinds of questions:

  • Short answer
  • Long answer
  • Multiple choice
  • Check boxes
  • Drop-down menu

… and more. You can distribute these surveys to anyone — students, parents, even yourself — and track the data in the Google Forms app itself or in a spreadsheet.

Teachers have used Google Forms to do quizzes and assessments for a while. But that’s not the only way it can make our lives easier and better!

Here are 20 ways to use Google Forms in the classroom and in schools:

Procedural stuff

1. Opinion surveys — Want to get to know your students better or learn about their preferences? How about parents? Create a simple survey. Add a short answer question for the name, or if you want to keep it anonymous, leave it out.

2. Quick poll — A simple one-question Google Form makes getting the pulse of the classroom quick and easy. Closed-ended questions can be displayed as graphs immediately in with the “Responses” tab in the form.

3. Late work submission (with email notifications!) — When students use this form, they can provide assignment details and a link to any digital work to turn in. You can receive an email when they submit the late work form. In Forms, use the “Responses” tab and click the three dots menu button. Select “Get email notifications for new responses”. It will automatically send an email to the account you used to create the form. Here’s an example of a late work submission form you can use.

4. Sign-up sheets — Need students or parents to sign up to bring something to class, work the concession stand, etc.? Have them sign up in a Google Form! Want to eliminate a choice once someone has taken it (i.e. remove a time slot when it’s been claimed)? Use the Choice Eliminator add-on to remove that choice after someone makes it (so nothing gets claimed twice!). Check out the Choice Eliminator page to see how it works.

5. Sign-out sheets — Ditch the sign-out sheet when students leave and return from the room (or when they check equipment in and out). Use a Google Form instead! Use the CheckItOut add-on. It uses multiple choice, list or check boxes questions. When something is signed out, it moves to another question — the signed-out group. When it’s signed back in, it’s moved to the signed-in question. Create a “Name” short-answer question and you can see the paper trail of who checked equipment in and out and at what time in the spreadsheet of results. This YouTube video (less than two minutes!) makes using the CheckItOut add-on crystal clear. Click to view what the form would look like, or click to make a copy you can edit yourself.

6. Lesson plans — Want to quickly create detailed lesson plans with standards, learning objectives, activity descriptions and more? Add all the parts you want included in those lesson plans in a Google Form. (Add all of the individual standards as check boxes.) Then view your own form and start filling in information. Use the Autocrat add-on to turn your responses in the Google Form into custom-created documents. You’ll have a document with all of your lesson plan information for each day! These are great for turning in to administration, leaving for substitute teachers or filing away for next year. See the blog post I wrote with detailed step-by-step directions here!

Assessment

7. Autograded quizzes — If you create a quiz or other assessment with closed-ended questions, Google Forms will autograde it for you. Create your quiz and click the gear (settings) button. Choose the “Quizzes” tab and turn on “Make this a quiz”. You have some options in that window. Then, go through your questions and select the correct answer (your answer key).

8. Quizzes with Flubaroo — Flubaroo is an add-on to Google Sheets that can create a detailed grading summary with student results from an assessment. When students complete a quiz/assessment in Google Forms, click the “Responses” tab and click the little green Sheets button. This will create a spreadsheet of results from the quiz/assessment. Open that sheet. Flubaroo’s official user guide walks you through the steps of setting Flubaroo up to autograde your assessment. It creates a summary that shows average student grade, individual student grades (plus which questions each student got right or wrong), questions students struggled on, and more.

9. Exit ticket/bell ringer — Have students answer questions at the beginning or end of class with a Google Form. Add images, links, videos and more to the form to make it a richer multimedia experience. Then gather all of the student responses in a spreadsheet.

10. Quick grade log — To quickly mark a grade for simple assignments, create a Google Form with every student’s name. When I did this, I walked around the room and had the form loaded on my iPad. I put each student’s scores into that form. Later, I pulled up the responses and transferred them to the grade book. Here’s an example form of what that might look like that you can copy into your Drive!

11. Flipped classroom assessment — The flipped classroom comes in many different shapes and sizes, but many teachers have students watch a video and then answer some comprehension questions afterward. This is easily done in Google Forms. Create a form with a YouTube video (created by you or found on YouTube) and questions. Here’s what a form like that would look like when students loaded it.

12. Rubrics — Create your rubric in a Google Form to make an easy place for you to assign grades and provide feedback to students. When you’re done grading and writing feedback, use the Autocrat add-on to turn all that feedback into a document. Share that document with students (or parents too!). Here’s what a rubric form could look like when you load it (click here). Here’s the document generated with the feedback for students (click here).

Learning and creating

13. Logs (for exercise, nutrition, reading, etc.) — If students need to submit information in logs to track progress over time, Google Forms can capture that information easily. Create a form with the student’s name and all the information he/she needs to submit. Each time he/she submits, it’s logged into a spreadsheet where students can review that data and submit it to you.

14. Choose Your Own Adventure stories — By using branching (the “go to section based on answer” choice in the three-dots menu in a multiple-choice question), you can create fun Choose Your Own Adventure Story-type activities. Create them for your students or let students create their own! Here’s a math example from Mandi Tolen’s class.

15. Sharing examples in professional development — Teachers can use Google Forms to share their learning, too! During professional development, direct teachers to a Google Form where they can share their ideas, reflections or experiences from the classroom. Provide a link to the spreadsheet of results to everyone in the group. That way, when everyone’s done, each teacher can see everyone else’s ideas all in one place!

16. Answer with an image — With younger students, the old version of Google Forms was tricky because almost everything used text. Now, you can ask questions AND provide answers with images! Teachers can cue students verbally and they can answer by choosing the correct picture. When creating the form, just click on the answer to edit it and click the image button at the right. Here’s a VERY simple example of how to use images as an answer (click here).

17. Brainstorming with a word cloud — Provide a simple Google Form where students can reflect on what they’ve been learning, either with a sentence or a few individual words. When they finish, copy all of their responses from the spreadsheet and paste them into a word cloud generator like Wordle or Tagxedo. It will show the most common words larger in size than others, sorting the reflections of the class in a fun, visual form.

18. Personalized guidance via e-mail — Do your students (or teacher participants in professional development) need answers fine-tuned to their unique needs? Create a Google Form to let them choose the type of feedback they need, collecting their answers in a Google Sheet. Then, the Form Mule add-on can send them a custom e-mail response based on their answers. Basically, you write an email for every possible answer, and Form Mule sends it to them automatically when they submit the form. See more about Form Mule here.

19. Writer’s conference schedule — If your students need to schedule a time to meet with you to discuss their writing, the Form Limiter add-on can help. Create a form in Google Forms and it will gather the data you’ll need (name, class, time, etc.) in a Google Sheet. Form Limiter will stop accepting responses when specific Google Sheet spots are filled. No double-booking! Marek Beck explains how it works in this presentation at Google’s Education on Air conference.

20. The Amazing Race, Google Style. This game is an intense mashup of Google Slides/Documents, Google Forms and Google Maps (optional). Students must complete several challenges provided by the instructor using Google Slides or Documents. Once the complete the first challenge in the slide presentation or document, they submit the link to the presentation/document in a Google Form. Once submitted, the link to the next challenge in the game is in a link on the confirmation page for the form. Clear as crystal, right? No? Check out this outstanding example by Michelle Green. Once you get it, this activity is super engaging.

Question: How have you used Google Forms? What suggestions do you have? Which of these ideas are you most likely to try? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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