Six ways to teach smarter with Google Forms


To the uninitiated Google Forms might seem like a poor cousin to the spreadsheet, presentation and word processing apps on offer, as it doesn’t fit the model of the traditional Office Suite.

Google Forms however opens up a whole collection of new teaching learning opportunities through it’s capacity to accumulate custom data in large quantities and then represent that data instantaneously in either a number of graphical or text based formats.

Teachers around the Globe are tapping in to this resource to make their job easier and find out a great deal more about their students with reliance on technology as simple as a mobile phone.

Here are some ways in which Google forms are being used by teachers.

Create an online reading record

Put a link on your class blog to an online reading record.  You don’t really need to make it too different from your paper based reading log such as name, title of book, pages read and comments.  It will save some paper and printing costs and be available as a digital format when writing reports.

Brainstorming with Wordle.

Got a class full of students who you want to focus on a specific point of view?  Create a simple task such as this.  “Separated by  a comma write down three words which you think sum up the message of “The Great Gatsby”.  You have 1 minute to do so.

Pop up a link for them to access and answer on their mobile device.  Then simply copy and paste all the responses into Wordle and you have a class focus on the topic in a beautiful easy to read and share format.

Create a classroom test.

Create form that has multiple choice or short answer questions to a topic you have been learning in class.  You can quickly view the spreadsheet to save correction time.  See the Video below for a tutorial.

Assignment tracker.

When students say they have saved a piece of work such as an assignment to a website or school server get them save the hyperlink to the location of the file on a google form so you don’t have to waste time looking for it and assuming it is there.

Spelling Tests

It doesn’t get much simpler than this.  Create a form with name and ten or so short text boxes for students to type in their weekly spelling words.

Prior Learning Assessment form

Create a Google Form asking a few simple questions about the topic you are intending to teach.  It will give you a great insight into where to start and direct your teaching. 

This may have taken a session on it’s own to do in the past.


101 ideas for using technology in the classroom


Sometimes it is difficult to put the technology in your classroom into an educational context.  This document contains many ideas for using a PC or mac in education.  

Unfortunately much of it was written prior to the uprise of the iPad so there is no reference to it but nonetheless there is plenty of relevant content for teachers and students. 

Many of the ideas come from the Victorian department of Education, Australia and can be downloaded here. 


3 Great iPad Apps for annotating PDF documents


One of the most underused features of the iPad is the ability to both read and annotate e-books and PDF documents.  This is a really useful tool for teachers and students who are using their iPad for research.

These three apps allow you to use your iPad to highlight digital documents and hopefully save some unnecessary storage and printing.

iAnnotate PDF

by Branchfire, Inc.

iAnnotate PDF offers complete control over PDFs, but the trade off is learning how to use it. Although the app has a User Guide, it has so many buttons and options that it takes more effort than many of the other apps to use, and much more to master. If you’re willing to put in the effort, iAnnotate is very customizable and will likely fulfill your needs. iAnnotate includes several notable features, including the ability to convert any document to a PDF.

PDFpen for iPad

by SmileOnMyMac, LLC

PDFpen for iPad is the highly-anticipated iPad version of the popular Mac application of the same name. Although the app is new, it has an intuitive UI, a full complement of features, and syncs via iCloud to companion Mac apps. PDFpen offers the most functionality of any app for modifying the original PDF, including the ability to delete or modify its text and images or even create a new PDF. The app is also the only one to implement freehand highlighting in a way that preserves the clarity of the original text, and offers a group of helpful editing ”stamps,” the ability to make new stamps (e.g., a signature), and text expander integration. In fact, PDFpen is so easy to use that it's almost fun. The only negative is that PDFpen occasionally crashes, but the autosave feature ensures no work is lost.

Adobe Reader

by Adobe

Although Adobe Reader is the “official” PDF app, Adobe was late to the AppStore party and only recently updated its app to include annotation capabilities. Despite the delay, Adobe Reader is still a good app, and by far the best free option for PDF annotation. Adobe Reader isn’t limited in any way, and allows users to add “sticky notes” (with the ability to mark yourself as the author), free-hand drawing, and signatures. However, the app has some very significant detriments: (1) it does not allow you to add text outside of a note, (2) no cloud connectivity (users can only import files via iOS’s “open in” function), and (3) no undo or redo (it is possible to delete annotations manually). Despite these minuses, Adobe Reader will likely be enough for many people, or at least a good introduction to the world of PDF annotation.


20 Google Docs Secrets for busy teachers and students.

googledocs for education.jpeg

Google Docs has revolutionised the way we create and edit content on the web.  It is a genuine collaboration tool like nothing that has come before it.

Up to 50 people can simultaneously edit a spreadsheet, presentation or document at no expense, and it is available on all mobile and desktop platforms.

Today we are going to look at 20 great tips every teacher and student should be using to get the most of the collaborative learning opportunities Google Doc’s offers.

Allow editing without signing in: If you’re sharing a document with classmates who don’t have a Google login, just make it available to edit without signing in.

Chat away: In Google Docs, you can see anyone who is currently editing the document, and if needed, send a message to chat with them.

Embed Docs anywhere: Get a link to your document or spreadsheet, and you can embed or publish it anywhere, including Facebook or a class blog.

Insert facts: Using Google Spreadsheet, it’s easy to insert facts, like a countries’ population, which is simply pulled through the Google search engine.

Create graphs: Visuals are great tools for getting your point across. Using charts in Google Spreadsheets, you can create your very own information-sharing graphs.

Create forms: Gather research information; ask for opinions, and more by creating Forms in Google Docs.

Convert PDFs to images and text: Use Google Docs to make PDFs easily editable.

Save to different file types: You can easily save your documents and spreadsheets to commonly used file types like DOC, XLS, CSV, and HTML.

Using Google Docs in the Classroom Grd 6-8

By Steve Butz

Automatically add email addresses: If you have Google Apps, the email addresses of the people who fill out the form will automatically be saved.

Hide chat: Keep everyone quiet during your presentation by clicking the left side of the chat module.

Track edits and changes: In Google Docs you can go back and forth between edits that you or collaborators made.

Remove collaborators: If you want to take someone off a project, click none next to the name of the person you want to remove.

Turn it into a webpage: Download your document in HTML, and you can share it as a webpage with a minimal amount of hassle. A great starting point for students wishing to create a website.

Change ownership: Switch ownership of Google docs as project leaders change.  You might need to transfer ownership of a document to a staff member or student.  It’s easy.

Share an entire folder: If you’ve got a collection of documents to work on together with students or staff, just open up a shared folder that everyone can access and contribute to.

Adding video: Remember Google owns YouTube, so they know video.  You can embed video in documents, slides, and more to dress up your presentation.

Track visits: Using Google Analytics, you can track how much traffic a published document is receiving.  This is really useful if you need feedback on whether your audience is actually getting involved.

Revert back to old versions: If your group doesn’t like a certain set of changes made, it’s very simple just to revert back to automatically save previous versions in the revision history.

Get Google Drive – Google Drive is the central place to manage all of your online profile with Google and syncs with a number of devices.

Google Docs and Google Drive is an ever-evolving product that has provided heavy competition for products such as Microsoft Office.  I am sure there are many other useful tips you might be ware of and would love you to post them below.

5 Google Apps for Education PD resources for busy teachers


Google Apps for Education has to be the hottest topic in education around the world at the moment as literally hundreds of thousands of schools are adopting this free resource which is changing the way teachers and students collaborate on work and share information. 

Professional development (PD) around Google Apps is essential for any school to get the most out of Google Apps so here is a list of 5 great resources to learn more about Google Apps for Education.

Google Education on Air:  Offers both live and archived video of professional development around a range of Google's products in education.  There are numerous sessions around Google Apps for education worth exploring here.  

Google online courses:  has a range of content both created by certified Google teachers or provided by third party sources. 

Google Apps User Groups:  Connects like minded educators in specific regions around the globe to discuss their successes and struggles with Google Apps for Education.  An excellent resource.

Google in Education Videos:  The title explains it all.  To be honest there is a bit of commercial junk scattered across this resource but you will find some great video tutorials nonetheless.  A range of content here that covers all of Google's educational products.

Guide to Going Google:  A useful starting point for schools who are considering their options around switching to Google.  It walks you through the process of of switching to Google Apps

Finally Google A - Z gives you a real insight into what Google actually encompass.  There is a load of great educational content in here too. 

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