As educators, we're always looking for new tools to use. Whether we are looking for new tools to use in our personal lives, our professional lives, or with our students, I feel we always have our eyes and ears open to something new. Last week, I saw a tweet refer to Google Forms. Maybe it's not even called Google Forms - maybe it's the Forms section of Google Docs. For now, I'm calling it Google Forms. I had heard a little about this and thought I'd take a peek at it. After discussing it a little on Twitter, I figured out I could make up a quick survey for my staff and let Google take care of the rest. Even though Google didn't accept me to the Google Teacher Academy coming up in Chicago, I wasn't going to hold a grudge. I like a lot of Google products and I use many of them on a daily basis. I wondered what I'd think of this new tool. What I didn't realize right away, was that it was part of Google Docs. I thought it was a separate program, like mail and calendar. Once I figured that out, I went to work creating a technology survey for my staff.

I'm planning on holding after school technology learning sessions for the staff in my building on a monthly basis, roughly. I thought I could use the survey as a way to find out what my staff knew, what hindered them from doing more with technology, and what they might want to learn. After getting some help with ideas for questions from several people in my PLN, I came up with a brief survey and created it using this new tool. Once I had the survey they way I wanted it, I sent it to myself to see how it would look and how the results would be tallied. Wow, was I impressed. With the exception of a few snags in formatting and rearranging questions, I really liked what I saw. I proceeded to send the link out to our staff and wait for the answers to roll in.

I had no idea how or if I would be notified when people completed the survey, which disappointed me a little bit. I had to check the document to see the responses. Perhaps there's a setting where a notification can be sent, but then again, if you're sending a survey out to a lot of people, do you really want an email every time a person completes it? That might drive someone a little crazy! Anyway, as I was checking responses, I noticed how easily the information was displayed and how it could be sorted. This was pretty impressive. I'd use this again anytime I needed a survey. I'm sure there are people out there who have more experience with this than me, but after my first attempt, I'm really pleased. If you have any insight to share about Google Forms, please leave a comment.

I do want to share some of the information I've gained from my little survey. I did make a mistake when creating the survey and didn't realize it until it was too late - I forgot to have people put their names on. Now, maybe people will be more honest on an anonymous survey, but I guess I wanted to put data with bodies so I could tailor the classes more appropriately. Oh well. As of this post, 15 people have taken the survey. This number is a little disappointing because it's less than 50% of our staff. The survey took about 2 minutes to complete, but I'll make another push in the next few days to see if more people will respond. Of the 15 people who responded, only 4 have heard of the term "Web 2.0" - this surprised me, even though it probably shouldn't. When I listed a few Web 2.0 tools, the one that most have heard of and some even used, was YouTube. Others that people were aware of were blogging and FaceBook. No one mentioned Twitter or Plurk. All but one showed interest in attending the sessions, which I'm sure depends on the topic, but the initial interest is very encouraging. There was a wide variety of things people were looking to learn - from creating spreadsheet in Excel and newsletter in Word to learning about SmartBoards (we have none) to digtial video production. We'll have our hands full, but I think it's going to be a blast. I think my first session, which will probably take place the week after next, will be delicious! (and I'm not talking about the snacks I'll be providing!)

4 comments

  1. Tammy Worcester // September 14, 2008 at 9:55 PM  

    I am also just beginning to discover the power of Google Forms. I hope you'll continue to post your ideas and procedures for using it.

  2. JenW // September 15, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

    Smies -- just did a training tutorial on how to embed Google Forms onto a wiki!! -- (or blog) and will post it soon.

    As for being notified on postings -- haven't figured that one out yet, but I am so sure that people DO fill it out, that I check ever few hours.

    Talk soon! Take care!!
    Jen

  3. Ben Wildeboer // September 15, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

    I've used Google Forms for quick surveys with my students several times as well. They're easy to create, the data is easy to sort and read, and overall it's a great tool.

    Here's a link to the technology survey I gave my students earlier this year to get a read on how tech savvy these kids were.

  4. Second Grade // September 16, 2008 at 12:04 AM  

    I just did the same thing myself- sent the fac tech survey out today- got a couple of responses back. I use the google gadget on my homepage to keep track of responses- it just shows the number of responses on the survey- but it's helpful. The link to it is usually on the bottom of the email you get when you send out your survey.

    This is the link to the one I sent out http://bit.ly/4tEwfR.

    I also forgot to have names on mine the first run through. I had some trouble when I changed the order of the questions- it didn't always work, but eventually I got it.

    My biggest problem is time- of course. When is all this training supposed to happen?

    I also revised and used Cory Plough's basic parent permission form that he made on docs to send to parents as a supplement to our standard AUP, since I'm using ning and student email in classes this year. I've gotten good responses from parents, but it since it comes from google docs, the parents with aol mail and a few others, find it in their spam box.

    But so far, so good. I like it better than survey monkey and waay better than the questionnaire module I have used in moodle.

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