Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Making Personalized Surveys with Google Forms

This is the fourth post in a series on Google Docs. Hopefully by now you have checked out its brilliant sharing function and real time accessibility with documents and presentations between two or more people. There has honestly never been a better time for collaboration between colleagues or teachers and students. Well, other than being in the same room, of course.

This post on Google Docs is going to focus on making surveys for your colleagues or students. There are number of survey-creating websites out there today, some really good ones too, like Survey Monkey. However, if you are using Google Drive already for creating documents and presentations, why would you go anywhere else? All of your files would be in the same place. Plus, with the Google Drive app available on all smartphones and tablets, you can truly access your files and surveys from anywhere in seconds. If you were to use another survey website, you would have to use the web browser on your phone or tablet, which takes much longer and uses up your battery life.

So, the next question is how is making surveys for my students or colleagues beneficial for me? To begin with, I will ask you another question: do you ever wonder what your students are really thinking? I want to emphasize that last part, really thinking. To be honest, it is probably somewhere between, 'How many minutes are left in this lesson?', to, 'I wonder what's for lunch today?'. All joking aside, students do have moments of true brilliance from time to time, but the problem is that many students might be afraid to tell you what they really think because of your status or age difference. For example, we have been with our students this year for 20 lessons a week for nearly four full months, and a few of them are still shy about speaking and sharing their opinions with us in class. This is where Google Forms can come in extremely handy. It is gives every student a chance to have their say. Moreover, because the surveys made on Google Forms are submitted anonymously, students feel even freer to give honest feedback. To give you an example, check out the video below where many students and their teacher talk about this very subject.

In the end, it is all about personalization, which is one of those buzz words that has been going around the education sector for the past few years. Basically, the idea is that we try to make what we teach more about the students and hope to get them to take their education beyond the classroom. We shouldn't just expect them to memorize information that has no meaning in their lives. They can certainly do it, but then they will forget that same information after a few days. We need to take the subject matter and transform it into something they have to think about and transfer into their own lives. A simple example might be: a teacher might ask his / her students , 'In which year was Shakespeare born?  Certainly no disrespect to the Bard intended, but is that really necessary for students to know? However, if were to ask them, 'Why are the topics that Shakespeare wrote about nearly 500 years ago still relevant today?', this will get your students to think deeper about the topic and reflect on their own lives to see examples of characteristics of human nature that Shakespeare wrote about.  

Personalization is without doubt a hot topic that could be discussed for hours, but the point here is that we want to get our students to express their opinions more often, and Google Forms can help you accomplish that. With some of the surveys that I will show you below, you can not only get to know your students better, but also they will feel like they have a say in your classroom.  Furthermore, you can save and share all your survey results with your colleagues and administrators, which will definitely impress them!

How to Do it

Step 1:Sign into Google Drive by using your Gmail address and password.  If you don't have one, you can sign up for free in only a couple of minutes.  With your free registration, Google Drive also gives you 5 GB of cloud storage space where you can save all your other files!

Step 2: After signing in, click the red 'Create' button on the left side of the page and then click on 'Form'.  This will take you to the basic set up page to make your surveys.

Step 3: At the top of the page, give your survey a title and a short description.

Step 4:Type your question into the given space, and then choose the question type.  You can choose from a short text, paragraph text, multiple choice, checkboxes, choose from a list, and scale or gridMy suggestion here is that you refrain from using either texts options because it is more difficult to extract the data from themIf you choose the other options, you can receive a summary of the data in seconds on a lovely pie chart.

Step 5:  Once you have finished typing in all of your questions, click on the 'Theme' button at the top left-hand side of the page.  This allows you to choose from 97 different eye-catching backgrounds which will give your surveys a bit more personality.

Step 6: Share the survey with whomever you like by clicking on the 'Email this form' button and entering in your contact's information.  If you are creating a survey for your students, I highly recommend copying the URL of your form and then posting it on your PLN, such as Edmodo or Moodle.  That way all of your students can access the survey from the same place, and it will save you time for entering in all of your student's email addresses.

Step 7: Once the data comes in, your form will now appear as a spreadsheet. You are instantly able to see all of the information from your students or colleagues.  

Step 8: Finally, click on the 'Form' button at the top of the speadsheet and unclick the 'Accepting responses' button.  After that, click on the 'Show Summary' and you will be immediately shown a set of pie charts based on the data!

There are literally thousands of different ways that you could use these surveys to get excellent and productive feedback for your program or activities in and out of the classroom.  My colleague and I use them to get feedback on ICT tools that we use in our program, such as Edmodo, Penzu and Google Docs.  Additionally, we have created surveys to get basic information on our students such as email addresses and birthdays.  We also used them to gather student's opinions on books and other short stories that we have read in class, and these are just but a few of them.  The sky is the limit, and we hope that you start to use Google Forms in your program today!

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