A lot of teachers ask me what my favourite tool is and what technologies I use the most. I guess one of the tools I use the most is Google Forms. If you have a GMAIL account then Google Forms is free. Google Forms allows you to create a questionnaire or survey and then share the link for the survey with your students and they can answer the questions. The great thing is that Google Forms collects all the data from your students answers and then automatically create graphs and charts to summarise all the data for you. You don’t have to do anything!
Google Forms is really simple. You simply look into your Google Account, click on the apps on the right hand side and then choose Google Drive.
Once you have chosen your Google Drive, you need to choose ‘New’ and then ‘More’ you will see Google Forms in the list. You can use the video at the end of this article to help you.
What questions can you ask?
You can choose short answer questions, longer answers, different types of multiple choice questions, ranking questions ( where you can rate something on a scale like 1 to 10) and grids. You can include pictures and video in the questions too, which makes Google Forms ideal for language learning.
Here are some of the things I have done with Google Forms with my students.
Surveys before a course starts
Often before I start a course, I want to ask the students some questions to find out what they are hoping to learn on the course, why they are learning English or perhaps what problems they have with learning English. We often call this a “Needs Analysis”. We can create the questions in Google Forms and then share the link with the students. We can either email the link to them, share it in Edmodo or just write the link on board. Google Forms can be accessed with most devices. Students answer the questions and all the data is collected by Google Forms and automatically summarised. All the teacher needs to do is open the Google Form and look at the responses. This can be so useful in helping to prepare a course and know where to focus.
Mid-term Survey/ Feedback
I often use Google Forms to check the student’s progress halfway through the course. I might want to know how they feel they are progressing on the course or what they are having problems with. I might want to find out what sort of things they are doing outside the class to learn English. Are they watching films, reading articles, chatting to friends in English, listening to podcasts etc? One of the teachers on a recent teacher training course I taught on, used Google Forms to find out the learning habits of his students and this worked really well. It helped him to understand how he could help his students make better use of their time.
You can use Google Forms for comprehension type activities too. You are not limited to just making questionnaires. You can also get students to watch videos and then write their opinions and ideas on the video. For example in the past I have used a video about giving presentations and then asked a series of questions to find out how the students think the presenter could improve his questionnaire. It is a great way of collecting their views and ideas on videos.
Get your students making surveys
Google Forms is free and the power really starts when you get students to make their own survey. My suggestion is that students can work in groups of 3 and create surveys that they then share with the rest of the class. The rest of the class answer the questions and then the students can present the results from their survey.
I really like these types of activities as there is a real process going on. The students have to think of a topic, create the questions, share the link, review the data and results and then present their results to the rest of the class. I particularly like using Google Forms with my students because I know that it is a technology that is widely used in industry. So students are getting the double benefit of using an interesting tool for language learning and a tool that will develop their digital literacy.
Thinking of topics
Here are a few of the topics that my students have created questionnaires on
-What you do to learn English.
-How you spend your free time.
-What things you think are important to learn for your future
-How you use social media
-What you watch on YouTube
Learning more about Google Forms
To make things interesting I have created a questionnaire for you to complete. This is a questionnaire about technology. It will help to give you some ideas about how you could use the tool: Questionnaire on technology.
For help with learning to use Google Forms watch this video:
Russell Stannard is the founder of TeacherTrainingVideos.Com and the Associate Trainer at NILE. He was the previous winner of the Times Higher ‘Outstanding Technology Initiative’, the British Council ‘Technology Innovation Award’ and the University of Westminster ‘Excellence in Teaching Award.’ He trains teachers all over the world, especially in the use of technology in language teaching.