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NFER JAN 2020
NFER JAN 2020

The versatility of Google forms in teaching

December 22, 2020, 10:05 GMT+1
Read in 5 minutes
  • Martin Kelsey looks at the versatility of Google Forms for teaching
The versatility of Google forms in teaching

Google Forms is by far my favourite G Suite tool and whether you are a leader or administrator using it to gather information from parents or a teacher in the classroom turning it into a quiz for pupils, it can be a useful, flexible and powerful tool. And it’s free!

During the lockdown with pupils learning from home, using google forms as a quiz was an ideal tool for checking understanding and also checking in on how they were getting on. Google marks the quiz immediately, so pupils can get instant feedback on how well they have done. The feedback tool allows teachers to add explanations to wrong answers and even link a video explanation. There are many uses such as a reading comprehension, a maths test or times table quiz. It’s also useful for testing their knowledge at the end of a unit of work in history or using it as an AFL task, to find out what they know already.

Multiple choice

Turning a form into a quiz is done by the flick of a switch in the settings, which turns on the answer key. You can then set up a quiz in minutes. The best way is using multiple choice questions or answers with numbers, so it lends itself to maths very well. You can upload images so younger pupils or those with additional needs can access a quiz by clicking on the correct picture. Answers that require pupils to type words and sentences are more tricky because their answer has to match the answer key exactly including spelling and capitalisation. So it is best to stick to multiple choice, numbers or images.

For the teacher, the feedback is useful on two levels. Firstly, as a class you can see the strengths and the weaknesses to inform next stages of planning. This could be a quick quiz or a diagnostic test. Secondly, on an individual level you can see all their answers and reflect on next steps for individuals. The google form downloads all the data into a google sheet (that’s Google’s version of excel) so you can then organise the information as you please, putting it in alphabetical or rank order or using conditional formatting to highlight right and wrong answers.

Safeguarding

I’ve even used a Google Quiz with teachers! Every year we have to re-read the updated version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) and as the Designated Safeguarding Lead for my school I have to know that everyone has read the document. In a recent OfSTED inspection, the inspector randomly selected staff including a kitchen assistant, a TA, the site assistant and admin officer and asked them safeguarding questions.

Thankfully they all knew the answers, showing that there was a strong culture of safeguarding. With KCSIE I devised a Google Quiz and after staff had read the documents, they took the quiz and received instant feedback. I looked at the data to see most had good knowledge, but there was some general confusion around the Prevent Strategy, which I was able to then follow up in some training.

Parents

As a school leader I use Google Forms with parents, banishing the paper letters in the bin and opting for emails and hyperlinks to google forms so we can gather information quickly and have the information downloaded in one place. Although originally used for parent surveys, I now use it to gather bookings or extra details needed for school visits or the delight which is Christmas Lunch orders! By sending the link to the form by email or text or embedding it on your website, you get quick responses and generally an increase in participation. It’s not all rosy though, so expect duplication and parents using their own name rather than their child’s name, giving you some head scratching moments!

Of course Google isn’t the only provider and Microsoft 365 is hot on its heels and the giant, which is Survey Monkey, offers a more sophisticated survey tool, but at a price. G Suite for Education is free to all schools and even if you don’t use all of the tools, using Google Forms is highly recommended.

Martin Kelsey is the headteacher of The Raglan Schools in Enfield, a Federation of an infant and junior school. He is also a certified Google Trainer.

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