Google Docs Forms
What is Google Docs?
Google docs is a web based application which currently contains word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet and forms applications. Since it is web based, it has the advantage of being cross-platform which is helpful when working collaboratively with individuals which may use different types of computer systems.
Google Docs evolved from two separate services, Writely and Spreadsheets. It combined into one online product on October 10, 2006. Presentations were incorporated using a product developed by Tonic Systems in September 17,l 2007. (1), (2).
Since that time a variety of updates have occurred to improve functionality and performance. (See Google Docs article from Wikipedia.
Users are currently able to:
- Create documents using word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation features that include many basic features common to many commerical productivity applications.
- Access and edit documents using a single, secure, storage location
- Participate in real-time collaboration (2)
- Export and Import from a wide variety of file formats including: rtf, txt, html, .xls, .csv, .ods, .ppt, and pps, (3) and most recently added .docx and .xlsx. (4), (5)
- Share files with others using view only option
- Publish files to a blog or as an HTML page (2)
- View revision history and rollback to any version (3)
- Create forms which will automatically create a spreadsheet to store data collected on the form (6)
- Apply themes to forms (5)
- Allow collaborators and form respondents to see a summary of form responses (5)
How Do I Use Google Docs Forms?
As with all Google Docs features, one must have a Google account to create a form. However, one nice thing about Google Docs forms is that users do not have to be logged in to their account, nor even have an account, to answer form questions. Responses are sent automatically to a spreadsheet, and the form creator can monitor the results quickly and easily. (7)
If you do not have a Google account, see the following tutorial on how to obtain one.
Brief Tutorial: Creating a Google Account
Once you have logged-in, you can access Google Docs through the drop-down navigation bar at the top of the Google page.
This will bring you to the Google Docs Start-Up page.
Creating A New Form
To create a new form, click New on the Google Docs toolbar. From the drop-down menu choose Form
In the form template that opens, you can choose from many different options. First, you will need to insert a title for your form and provide supporting text or instructions for the form.
Then you can customize your form by entering questions. You can change the type of question by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to question type.
To add more questions, click "Add Item" from top tool bar. By doing so, you will be able to insert section headers and include additional questions by choosing one of the resulting options.
Another feature that is fairly new, is the option of applying a predefined theme to your form. To do this, click Theme button on the toolbar.
From there, you will be given a list of choices, with thumbnail views of each, which you can click on to apply.
Once you have a completed form you can send by clicking Email this form on the main toolbar.
You will then add the email addresses to whom you want to send the form and click Send
Once you have sent your form, you will receive an email confirming that the form has been sent. This email will also contain a link to receive your results.
Clicking the link in the confirmation email will take you to the spreadsheet which contains the results of the form. This is updated in real-time once the participants click Submit on their form.
The confirmation email also has a link to add the "Google Docs: forms list" gadget to your iGoogle home page.
You can choose to install this gadget, which will appear on your page much like the following image.
Google has a site specifically set up to provide ideas for teachers. Click the following link to find the most current suggestions from Google: Idea: Docs for Teachers
A few of the ideas that seem most useful include the following:
Evaluation and Grading
Group Evaluation: Peer evaluation.
This example shows how to have students assess their group members for participation levels. http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pDnLaP8zY44z68lws5HmVDA&hl=en
Group Evaluation: Self evaluation
This example shows how to have students assess their own group performance. http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pDnLaP8zY44wGsBbwSIq2Yg&hl=en
Let Google do your grading
This example shows Google Spreadsheet automatically grading tests using Google forms. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=126248
Using Google Docs: Form as a rubric for grading
This example shows how to use a form as a rubric which students and teacher alike can use to evaluate blog posts. This idea could be modified to evaluate presentations, web pages, and other projects as well. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=126249
Book Review and Rating Form
This form is an example for upper elementary aged students to rate and review books they have read. This form could be modified to fit other age ranges as well. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=126252
Plant genetics research and data collection
This project is an example for using Google Docs: Forms as a tool to facilitate collaboration during research and data collection. It includes instructions as well as the sample form and spreadsheet. This project could be easily adapted to fit most research based group projects. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=126221
Ideas for Further Development
Bell Work - short quizzes over assigned reading to be completed at the beginning of the class period.
Review worksheet - rather than photocopying a multitude of worksheets- have students complete the review worksheets as an online form
Tests Google can do the quick grading for any multiple choice or fill in the blank answers, and instructor can easily read the short essay questions without taking so much time on the other questions.
Student Questionnaire Create a beginning of the term questionnaire for students to help get to know them better. Google Docs: Forms also has the capablility of having the forms embedded in a blog or web-page so instructors would not have to have students' email addresses in advance for sharing the form.
Security & Privacy issues
Data stored in Google Docs is not accessed by search engines and is stored on a secure Google server. Data is made available only through the sharing feature of Google Docs, and then is only shared with those individuals that you have chosen to share them with. Additionally, all data is password protected by your Google account. (8)
It is important to note, however, that once you share a document, it may move beyond your control. It is important that you be aware of exactly what permissions you are giving and with whom you are sharing your document and/or data. To limit the access to your documents and who can share your documents with others, be sure to view your advanced permissions under the share button/share with others option prior to sharing your information. (9)
1. Google Docs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Docs. Accessed June 15, 2009.
2. Google Announces Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Press Release dated October 11, 2006. http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/annc/docsspreadsheets.html. Accessed June 15, 2009.
3. Getting to know Google Docs: Google Docs Basics. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=49008. Accessed June 15, 2009.
4.Uploading and Exporting: Uploading Files http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=50092&cbid=-6110hnedop0u&src=cb&lev=answer. Accessed June 15, 2009.
5. What's new in Google Docs? [http://www.google.com/google-d-s/intl/en/whatsnew.html. Accessed June 16, 2009.
6. Dawson, Christopher. Forms in Google Docs. ZDNET Education. Posted September 3, 2008. http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1841. Accessed June 16, 2009.
7. Zafra, Arnold. Create Forms in Google Docs Spreadsheet. Search Engine Journal. Posted February 7, 2008. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/create-forms-in-google-docs-spreadsheet/6343/. Accessed June 16, 2009.
8. Privacy and security: Keeping data private. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=87149. Accessed June 29, 2009.
9. Privacy and Security: Privacy and security of your content. http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=37615&cbid=idl9pwflwm9k&src=cb&lev=answer. Accessed June 29, 2009.