For each of the next several posts, I will be discussing one particular Google Apps function and explain how to use it in a real classroom setting. I think knowing what a tool will do and understanding just how it can be used in your classroom are two different things. Please feel free to give feedback as you wish.
Practical Idea #3: Create a quiz or response for students to use in or out of class.
This is something I have used a lot. The FORM function in the NEW menu for the Google Docs area will lead you to a editing page where you can create a variety of response questions. These can be multiple choice, check all that apply, or short or long answer. Once you create all of the the questions you want to ask (don’t forget to ask the student’s name, it doesn’t add that automatically), you can choose a theme for the form to sport when the students use it. This can work pretty well with objective test questions or essay tests.
Once you finish the form, you save it and go back to the Docs menu. Once you find the file for the form you made (hopefully, you titled the file), you can open it. What you will see is the spreadsheet view for the form, that is, the spaces where the responses will fill once they come in. If you would like to revise your form, you can go to to the FORM sub-tab (between FORMAT and TOOLS, to find EDIT FORM.
Once your form is ready for use by students, you have a few delivery methods. Using the same directions above to find GO TO LIVE FORM, under sub-tab FORM, you copy the URL from your address bar when viewing the live form (It will feature your chosen theme now). From there you can post this URL on your web page, or you can email it to students.
Once they hit submit, they cannot get back into the form, and they will only be able to see others’ responses if you also post the link to the results page.
One other trick: On objective tests where there is only one correct answer, you can use the FORMAT sub-tab on the spreadsheet view to highlight the column containing responses and “change colors with rules” to identify the lack of a correct response, thereby marking incorrects for you. The form is not really well suited for this, but it can be done with certain types of answers.
I do all of my book reviews with this now. Instead of assigning a paper that parents tend to help too much with, I have them come in on a certain day, and write essay responses to questions I ask. Then it is just a matter of reading the responses top to bottom and grading the responses.