Effective use of Google Forms

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One of the best features of Google Apps For Education (GAFE) is definitely Google Forms. If you have never heard of Forms before, think of them as an on-line questionnaire that can be supercharged with media and fully adapted to your organisation, school or class.

I am going to divide this blog into two distinct sections. The first section will deal with how to set up a Form and how to customise it. The second part of the blog will contain some examples of how I have used Forms and how I have seen others use forms, just to give you some ideas!

To create a Form is a simple process and if you choose to invest a bit of time you can produce a masterpiece that colleagues and students will all admire.

Once you have signed into your Google account you will see the red ”create” button on the left hand side of the screen.

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On pressing it you will be given the option of creating a Folder, Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Form or Drawing. Select Form.

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You can now choose one of the predesigned templates or just have a blank document. Depending on who the Form is aimed at will determine which template I will use. If the Form is for pupils, I generally select the Notepaper template as it is a bit fun for them. You can then name your form and put the title at the top of the page. You will also see three options at the top of the page.

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I generally make sure that all three of these options are unchecked. If you are working at a school that is fully “Googled up” then you might want to select the first two options. But up until now I have never had any issues with keeping these unselected.

You are now ready to write your first question. You have 9 options on the type of question that you would like the person to answer. The options are: text, paragraph text, multiple choice, checkboxes, choose from a list, scale, grid, date or time.

My first questions are normally the students names, so I would select “text” as my question type. This will bring up a small text box for them to write their answer in. as you can probably guess “paragraph text” will give them a bigger space to write a more comprehensive answer and the other options are quite self-explanatory

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Next to the question type, there is a tick box “Got to page based on answer”. This option is covered more in the second section of the blog.

Below the question type you can enter some text that the student might need to answer the question. This is a useful feature and allows you to prompt the students to answer the question rather than just to give an answer.

Your final option is at the bottom of the question box and is the “Required question” tick box. If you do not tick this box then the student can submit the form without completing that specific question. If I am going to the trouble of writing out a question, I make sure that the box is ticked so that the student has to complete it!

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And that’s it, your first question is written. When you click the “Done” button the question box will collapse and you will be able to view as the student will see it. The final box is the “Add item” box, by clicking this you can choose to insert another question or another field. On the right hand side of the box you will see 3 icons: Edit, Duplicate and Delete. This is a really useful way of duplicating a question and the answers rather than having to write it out again. On selecting “duplicate” you can drag and drop the question into the correct order.

At any point you can change the style of the question and the order of the questions giving you total control over the Form.


Once you have written all of the questions you will see a final command box at the bottom of the page. This is the confirmation page that will be shown after the student has submitted your form. Again you have various choices. I normally just have the first box checked that will allow the student to submit another response if they wish. You can also choose to publish and show the link to the responses of the form and to allow the student to edit their responses.  Once you are happy, you press the “send form” button and the form is live! You can now copy and paste the link to the form into an email to your class list (my preferred choice as I use Outlook) or you can enter the email address  of the people you want to send the form to. You also have the choice of sharing the link via G+, Twitter and Facebook.

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And that is it. Your form is out there and people can now complete it and submit their responses.


The second part of the form is the response sheet. Essentially, this is a spreadsheet that collates all of the responses that your students submit. As with any other spreadsheet you can edit the data, filter it and generally do what ever you want with it. I normally export it as an Excel document and then work on it that way. The form can be seen and edited via the spreadsheet on the ribbon at the top.


Once all of the data is in, you can close the form and stop students submitting their responses, this is really useful if it is a Home-Study assignment and it is past the hand in date!


Once you have the responses you can use one of the premade “scripts” to carry out a number of automated tasks. These can include sending out email, marking questions and organising the data. My next blog will be all about Scripts and how they can revolutionise your workload!


To customise your form you can enter pictures or media at any point on the form. Simply select the area you want to place the content and select “Insert” on the control ribbon. This is a fantastic element to the forms and really allows you to personalise the form and make it more interesting by adding media. For an example of how I have used media in a form please see the next section of the blog.


Examples of how to use Google Forms


The most basic example of a Form is one in which you are just collecting data. I have used Forms to collect student’s application for the student council and they have worked brilliantly. I embed them in the school website and the students can access them with ease. I have also used them as the minutes for the student council. This allows me to share the minutes with the rest of the student body and they can see what their representatives have been talking about, a very powerful tool.

Home study can be massed produced and here I have produce home study assignments for the entire Key Stage (3 years). This allows the students to get the same home study experience no matter who is teaching them. The link will take you to the Home Study site and the assignments are down the left hand side. Feel free to submit some responses!

A more specific example of a Home study task I set my A2 PE class can be found here. This includes a media clip that the students have to watch and then answer the question on. It was a great way of livening up a revision topic and the students loved the interactive nature of the task.

I have started to encourage our SEN department to use forms when they send out “Round Robins” to gather information on how specific children are getting on. This is taking time to integrate but that is due more to the teachers using it than the technology itself. Once they realise forms will save them time and effort, they will wonder why they haven’t been using them for years

Another great way of using Forms is to allow the students to choose the next part of the “story”. If you are as old as I am you will probably remember the old “choose your own adventure books”. These books allowed you to make choices within the stories and you were then directed to a page based on that decision. With the “go to a page based on answer” box ticked you can start to create your own adventures. This would work brilliantly with a training program as part of the PEP module for GCSE PE students but I have also seen it work well for English and History lesson as well.

Many other examples exist including online tests, self-registration forms , task completion forms and attendance forms. The use of Forms is only limited by your imagination and the more I use them the more I think of other ways in which they would be useful.


I hope you have enjoyed this blog and I look forward to reading your comments.

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