I love Google Docs. Even if all of my stuff is sitting on some server in California (sweet, warm California…), I like cloud computing’s ability to solve a lot of problems.
Last month I found a great use for Google Forms. Google Forms, for those that don’t know, allows you to create forms on Google Docs that can be posted, emailed, or embedded into websites. All of the information put into those forms gets dumped into a fancy spreadsheet easily organized for your use.
This came in handy on our last field trip to Madison. We planned to stop at McDonald’s for dinner. We wanted to keep costs and wait times down, so we needed a simple way to get all of the orders in. Now, a normal person would just have the kids fill out their orders on slips of paper or make a order form for them to use. But I am an exceptionally lazy person and came up with a way to save myself some trouble.
1. Set up a form in Google Documents. Include all the choices you want the students to have. Remember to include names and some kind of code to confirm that the student is who they say they are. Remember, this form is public.
2. Post a link to the form on your blog or website, or email it to your students.
3. When all the students have filled out the forms, fax it on over to the restaurant of choice so that they will have your order ready when you get there!
I just used this for an order form, but imagine how quickly you could get contact info, surveys, or any number of other information-gathering tasked handled easily. I recently saved a lot of paper by having my students take a test through Google Forms. When combined with conditional formatting, I was even able to make the incorrect answers automatically show up in red. I’m sure someone out there who is handy with Excel could even make the form grade itself.