It's no mystery that the Google Apps suite is an incredibly useful and powerful way to bring your classroom into the 21st century. However, like many other kinds of technology, it isn't always obvious how you could or should start using these tools right out of the "box".
In this series I hope to explore each of these tools for the sake of classroom instruction. I'll describe how I've used these tools successfully in my classroom and offer some lessons learned through my use. This tutorial will assume that the educator has little to no experience with Google Apps for Education, so if you already have some experience I would skip down to the "Instructional Implementation Section", which is what I'll be focusing on.
Authors Note: These strategies and techniques for using Google Apps in your classroom apply for any iteration of the Google Apps suite. Including: Google Apps for Education, Google Apps for business, personal Google Apps. Some of these versions have increased storage capacity, access to developer tools, and increased functionality. For the sake of transparency, I used my personal Google account for all of the strategies and techniques that follow.
What are Google Apps?
If you're asking yourself this question then you might want to click this button (see below).
Once you've gotten the general idea, you should create a google account and head over to their well-formatted Help section if you have any questions on general or more specific features and functions of the apps.
Authors Note: The first app you're going to need to download is Google Drive. From there you can simply click the "new" button and select the kind of document you would like to create, in this case it's going to be a form that we're dealing with. You may have to hover your mouse over the "more" category and forms will pop up.
Gettings Started Checklist
Once you have the technical stuff taken care of I suggest you get a few things together before you start creating assessments.
An idea of what exactly you would like to assess. What would you like to find out?
Example: I have just completed a lesson, and I would like to check for understanding for the purposes of creating differentiated follow-up lessons. I'm creating this assessment to see where each of my students are in terms of retention.
A physical list of questions you would like to ask. These can be from a textbook, or they can be ones that you've created yourself.
About 30 minutes if this is the first time you've used the app, after that you can put an assessment together in less than 5 minutes (depending on the length of the assessment).
How to create the Assessment
As I said before I am not going to go through the steps of physically creating the form, rather I'm going to focus on how you can incorporate a form into your instruction.
If you need to learn how to create a title, a question, or how to create different types of questions, I encourage you visit this site. The author has done a tremendous job of creating a step by step guide for how to physically create some of the forms I'll be discussing later in this post.
Instructional Implementation Strategies
You're warmed up and you understand how to start creating questions, or you've already created forms before and you're ready to up the ante'. Here is a list of ideas for instructional implementation using Google Form!
Flip the classroom with Video
Embed a video into a form and couple it with various question types to ensure that the student viewed the video. This can be helpful when you're flipping the classroom or you don't have enough time to cover all of the content in class.
Master the Art of Citation
Follow each question with a separate box where students must cite where they got their information from. The sooner you do this the better, getting students in the habit of looking things up and citing will put them in a better position when they start taking everyone's favorite standardized tests.
Two great websites for creating citations quickly and easily are:
Ask the same question multiple times, but phrase it differently each time. This can help you determine whether the content is really misunderstood or your phrasing of the question was misleading.
Link Textbooks and Other Resources
Include a "header text" section in each form where you link the textbook, or other resources the students can retrieve the information.
Save Time; Duplicate Your Forms
If you've spent a lot of time creating something like a "self-grading quiz" you should copy the form and simply change some of the values instead of starting from scratch every time.
Scale your Assessment Efforts
The real power of Google apps comes from your ability to work in tandem with other teachers. Get together and split the workload, but agree on a particular format. Each teacher creates a handful of assessments and then everyone combines all of the quizzes and the accompanying sheets into a single folder. Copy that folder for each teacher and now you have a complete set of assessments for the rest of the year.
Create a SELF assessment that you can fill out every day to compile data that you can then go back and investigate using google Sheets.
Bring Parents Onboard
Create a homework form for parents, and/or include a section in homework assessments where parents can give you specific or general feedback.
Keep the conversation going
Please leave a comment letting me know what you think of the post, what strategies I should add, resources I should include, and/or general feedback. Also follow me on Twitter for more more posts like this one, and share the ones you find useful.
Thanks for reading!
[header photo credit: twitter.com/thomweerd]