Friday, August 26, 2011

Google Forms: Connecting with Parents and Students

This year I'm using Google Forms (a component of GoogleDocs) to gather personal information about my students from their perspective and from their parents' perspective.  I've always done a personal information worksheet with students, but this year I decided to go paperless.  It's my first time doing a parent form and I'm really excited about the responses so far.  The online format makes it easy for everyone: they can fill out the form anywhere at their convenience, and all their data is put into a nice spreadsheet for me to read easily!  Moreover, the forms are super easy to create!  All you need is a Google account and you can make a form!  (See the screenshot on the left.)  Creating the form is really simple: you can enter your questions and select from a variety of question types -- more on this below!

Most of the parent responses have been really thoughtful and insightful.  Parents really want to tell you about their child and work with you to have him/her be successful.  Here's a snapshot of some of the data I've gotten from parents:

As you can see, the spreadsheet generated by Google is easy to read and the information the parents gave is detailed and useful!  I love how the one parent told me their child was a "jewel". Such responses show me that the parents are glad I'm asking them about their children!  The students have been giving me similarly important information from their perspective.  It'll be nice to have all the info on my computer instead of on a million pieces of paper!  The spreadsheet is even searchable so you can easily find a certain child or piece of information.

From the parent/student end, the forms are simple to fill out.  There are "themes" you can use when you create them to make them visually appealing.  On the right is a screenshot of part of the parent form showing several question types.   (You can choose from fill-ins, drop-down, checkboxes, and more!)

I'm excited about how this great tool is giving me easy access to the information I need to know about my students.  It's also a great way to let parents and students know that I care about them!

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