Guest Blogger #3: Google Forms

Today's guest blogger is Dianne from Tech Teacher Tidbits.

Hi Friends,
  I'm Dianne from Tech Teacher Tidbits and I'm thrilled to be guest blogging here on Julie's blog.  The Techie Teacher has been one of my go-to blogs for quite some time now and I'm happy to be a very small part of it.  :)

    Today's topic is...

     Friends, if you have not heard of Google forms or you're not using them at all, please give them a look.  Forms is an excellent way to collect information.  They're NOT just for conducting surveys or filling formal data needs like RTI, although many people still think so.

     In my classroom, I've used Google forms to collect my parents contact information quickly and easily.  I simply give the parents the link at out Open House and have my computers turned on and ready.  After my little talk is over, I send the parents right to the computers to complete the form.  Here's a screenshot of the form I made for this purpose.

     I've also created a volunteer form and embedded it into my class website.  It is SO much easier to direct a parent to the website to fill out the form.  There is no longer a need to write down information, lose it, go crazy looking for it, and end up having to ask the parent AGAIN when they said they were available.  The fight is real, my friends.  An added bonus to this strategy is that the parents actually peruse the website.  Ever wonder if you're parents are actively using your site?  You will know for sure every time a form is filled out.  By the way, I also embed the communication form mentioned above for those who missed Open House.)

     Up until this year, I've had two guinea pigs as classroom pets.  The students always took the piggies home on weekends and vacations (except summer).  With Google forms, you can work out a schedule without actually doing the work.  What?!  You heard me.  Just put the options on your form for parents to choose and send the link via email.  Their email address came from where?  You guessed it - the communication form!  I never have to decipher illegible handwriting or figure out if it's a zero or the letter 'o'.  I could go on and on with this one.  I also never have to then type all of their email addresses one by one into my gmail account.  Copy and paste, my friends.  Copy. And. Paste.

     Once a choice is made on the form, that option disappears.  It's first come, first served at its finest.  Gone are the days of sending home a paper form asking for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices.  Gone are the days of having to organize all of those choices.  Gone are the days of having to work out the schedule and then respond back to the parents yet again.  Have I convinced you yet?

     And don't limit yourself.  It's not just for school related needs.  Here is an example of a form that I created for a HUGE family reunion that's happening at my house this summer.

     166 relatives have been invited.  Do you have any idea how much money I have saved by using forms to communicate with the family.  No invitations needed.  I collected as many emails as I could and created the form.  When I sent it, I asked the people whose emails I had to forward the invite/RSVP/all the information you could possibly need to the people in their immediate family who would also need it.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  Now, I'm just sitting back and watching all of the information roll in.  That is - in between cleaning the house, preparing the yard, shopping for paper goods...yikes!

     I'd like to wrap up this post by showing you how easy it is to complete a form.  I realize that I only showed you screenshots above and the reason is this; I do not want a ton of information showing up in my spreadsheets.  There is an option to 'shut off' the form but I need them 'on' for those whose information I do need.  :)   I created the form below so you could play a little and I could get a little help.  Enjoy!