MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Playing with Google forms

Anyone who knows me or has attended any one of my professional development seminars knows that I’m a big fan of Google docs. Last week I played around with Google forms, which has me just swooning.

Here’s what you can do. You can create a form in Google for which you get a direct link. You can send the link itself to folks or embed it in a webpage. That’s cool.

But here’s the cooler part: when your users complete the form it automatically populates a shareable spreadsheet. Yes, the results zip themselves right over to Mr. spreadsheet without you having to do one little thing. And there’s even a time stamp so that you know when the form was submitted.

My mind is reeling. Just reeling. So far I’ve created a form for our musical signup. We have a rather sophisticated form for the kids to complete that asks for which days and times they’re available for rehearsals. Then the casts are built based on that information. When we first created the form, it was a piece of paper that someone else painstakingly transferred to a spreadsheet. Boo! Hiss!

Then, about 10 years ago, I created an AppleWorks (yes, AppleWorks) database and put it on 5 computers in the lab. Then the kids would come, create new records, and enter their information. That worked great, except we often ended up with duplicate entries or the kids would accidentally erase someone else’s record. And it meant I had to combine all the database files into one when the kids were done and export the information to a spreadsheet. Still, we used that system for many years. In recent years we’ve had problems with it, though, mostly because we started binding computers to the network, which meant I couldn’t put files on the actual desktops. And this year we’ve eliminated AppleWorks (finally) from the computer image, so I had to find an alternative.

So – on to Google Forms. I created a form, and was able to link it to Edline, which is the school/home portal that we use. Now the kids can fill them out – at home, with their parents and calendars right there – and the spreadsheet is automatically updated.

Score.

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November 4, 2009 - Posted by | Technology | ,

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