More Fun With Google Forms

There seems to be a lot of talk about the power of Google Forms in #physed these days. For me, this is all very exciting because I can finally (kinda) use Google Drive at work (don’t even get me started on that, let’s just accept the fact that I can get more done now than before).

Adam Howell (who you should follow) has been sharing some pretty awesome ideas on how to use Google Forms in #physed. He did a great screencast showcasing his “Ask Me A Question” idea that he uses in his classes. Basically, he includes a link in his Google Drive-based student documents (e.g. a peer assessment document explaining the day’s tasks to the reader) that links to a basic Google Form that looks a little like this:

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If students have a question, they can click on the link, fill out the form and submit it to the teacher. The teacher then instantly receives the students’ questions in the order in which they were asked.

Pretty smart stuff.

Nathan Horne (who you should also follow) has also been sharing some sweet ideas on how to use Google Forms. In his blog post, he described how he used forms to create assessment forms for his swimming unit. The form was filled with assessment criteria that could be “checked off” and then submitted to the teacher’s Google Drive account. The forms could be used by the teacher (direct observation), by the student analyzing a video of him/herself (auto-evaluation), or by a fellow student observing a classmate (peer evaluation).

Again, really smart stuff.

Google Forms is an awesome tool for assessment because it solves many teacher problems. For example, it allows you to go paperless and easily search for a student’s answers/reflections.

I’m a big fan of Google Apps and have been using Forms forever. However, with all this recent talk about the service, I find myself feeling even more excited about what can be done with Google Forms in #physed.

Here are a few of my ideas that I will be putting into practice within the next couple weeks.

1. QR Codes and Google Forms

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, and I’ve already started using it in my classes. I simply create a QR Code that links to my Google Form. The students can scan the code using the iPads we have in class (but feel free to use whatever mobile device your students have access to) and they are taken to the Google Form I created for the class.

Here’s two ways I would use this (one of which I already did and it was awesome!):

1. During my Handball unit, after going through a series of progressions, my grade 6 class eventually got to the full version of the game. Since Handball has only 14 players on the court at once and since my class has 24 students in it, I couldn’t have all of my students playing at once. So I made three teams and used a “King of the Court” system (with a maximum of three stays as King of the Court). However, I had the team sitting out make use of their non-playing time by using our iPads to scan a QR code which led them to a Handball quiz. While students were sitting out, they got to review the rules of the game and I got to collect a ton of proof of learning (demonstrating knowledge of the rules was part of our learning outcomes for this unit).

2. For my next unit, I’ve been inspired by Andy Vasily to create learning visuals for in my gym. Speaking of visuals, try to visualize this:

My grade 5s will be working on striking and fielding games and I’ve come up with the idea of creating a timeline poster of what we will be learning throughout the unit. The timeline would have a QR Code at each end. The code at the beginning of the timeline will lead to an assessment form to help me understand my students’ prior/current level of understanding when it comes to Striking/Fielding tactics. The code at the end of the timeline will lead to an assessment form to help me understand my students level of understanding of Striking/Fielding game tactics following the unit. The students will have an opportunity to fill these forms out as they wait for their turn to strike/bat/throw, and comparing the before/after results will help me understand just how much my students learned throughout the unit (which will help me produce better grades, but also help me understand where I need to improve my teaching).

(PS: I’m going to work on this idea and share it with you as soon as I can)

2. Behaviour Analysis with Google Forms

The rules in my gym can be summed up by the diagram below (which I borrowed from William Harvey‘s work, one of my past professors at McGill University)

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My gym’s “cloud system” (that’s what the kids call it) is pretty straightforward: If you are “responsible”, “respectful”, and in “self-control”, then you can participate in class. When a student demonstrates behaviour that is a) irresponsible, b) disrespectful, and/or c) shows they are out of control, they are sent to the bench where they need to reflect on their behaviour. Before they are allowed to participate again, they need to explain to me which one of the clouds they were not respecting (i.e. responsibility, respect, self-control), what exactly they were doing to go against that cloud, and what they can do in the future to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Now, if I were to integrate Google Forms into this little system of mine, it would look something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 6.01.24 PM

If a student was sent to the bench, they would have to grab an iPad and use the Scan app, scan the QR Code on the diagram (try it out! Or click here), and fill out the reflection form that they QR Code would link to. Once they submitted the form, I would receive it and be able to review it before sending them back in.

This use of Google Forms would allow me to do two things:

1. It would help guide the students through the reflection process which would (hopefully) lead to a better quality reflection in the end.
2. It would give me a database of times when disruptive behaviours occurred in class. This could come in handy during parent-teacher interviews when I get the “So how is Jimmy doing in class?” question.

3. Conditional Formatting in Google Drive

With the help of a few conditional formatting rules, you can make your Google Form response sheets a little easier to look at/evaluate.

Here’s how you could do this

1. Create a Google Form with Multiple Choice answers (you can use other answer types, but “Text” or “Paragraph” answer will make this a lot trickier.)
Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 4.58.29 PM

2. Go to your Form’s Response spreadsheet in your Google Drive. You’ll see your students’ answers here (this is just a few examples with just a couple questions, but you can see how longer questionnaires could make Response spreadsheets hard to look at)
Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 5.01.07 PM

3. Select the column for the first question (aside from the Name question) on your form. Click the little box that appears to edit that entire column. From the options that appear, select “Conditional Formatting”
Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 5.01.24 PM

4. You can now create rules for the cells in those columns. I created two: one that turns any cells with the right answer (“7m Line”) green and another that turn cells with any other answer (therefore, the wrong answer) red.
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5. Click “Save Rules” and you’ll see that the cells in that column containing the correct answer to that first question have turned green, and those containing any wrong answers have turned red.
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6. Now just repeat this process for each additional column and you will have a very colour coordinated and marked spreadsheet full of student answers.
Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 5.44.30 PM

I know how tired I get going over all the assessment material I collect during a unit. Making things a little more visual can help prevent mistakes.


So there are three ideas I have about how I can use Google Forms in #physed. Again, I’d like to say thanks to Adam and Nathan for inspiring me to give this awesome service another go.

Do you use Google Forms in your teaching? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments below how you have integrated in your teaching.

Thanks for reading and happy teaching!


Joey Feith is the founder of He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.