Google Forms are turning out to be an awesome for academics.
I use it for the Philosophy Journal Surveys. Last week, I showed how you can use Google forms to have your students create a gradebook spreadsheet for you. This got me thinking about other cool ways to use Google Forms.
In this post, I want to explain how you can use Google Forms to give you a super-quick way to take attendance with a touch screen smartphone (e.g. Android phone, Iphone, Palm Pre).
You basically create a form with a multiple choice question for each student with an option for “Absent”. I also include an option called “Laptop” because I like to note which students in my class have laptops that day. (See my laptop policy and you’ll see why).
Create a Google Spreadsheet. Go to Forms. Select “Create Form”
Create a Multiple Choice question for each student in the form. This is the one time consuming part, but there is a very quick way to do this. If you follow this quick way, you can create a form for 90+ students in no time. Here’s my recommended quick method.
- Open your electronic gradebook with your students.
(I assume that if you’re interested taking attendance electronically with a smart phone, you already have a spreadsheet with your students’ names in it.)
- Keep this gradebook open on your desktop next to the Edit Form Page in Google Documents.
- Click the cell with the first student’s name. Copy it (Ctrl-C).
- Go to the Question Text in the Edit Form Page. Paste student name in (Ctrl-V)
- Here’s what makes this whole process quick and easy. Once you create the first question, you can duplicate it. So all you need to do after you create the first question is duplicate it, and keep copying/pasting/clicking-the-duplicate-button until you’re finished.
The whole process literally takes only a few seconds for each student.
Here’s a screenshot to give you a little visual aid. (The right side is cut-off, but you can click on the image to see a larger version.)
Email the form to yourself. Open it on your smartphone. Bookmark somewhere on your homescreen.
Take Attendence. Each time I want to take attendance, I just open the form up from my Smart Phone Home Screen, scroll through it, check absent for the students who are absent and click submit. The data gets time-stamped (so you know what date they were absent) and dumped into a spreadsheet that can easily be ported into your gradebook at the end of the semester.
In case you’re curious. Here’s what the form looks like on my Android Phone.
What to Do At the End of the Semester…
Calculate the data and paste it in to your gradebook. Here’s what I do.
- Do a “Find and Replace” search to automatically replace all occurrences of the word “Absent” with “1”
- Sum up the absences for each student
- Highlight that row
- Paste it into your gradebook.
- Perform whatever operations you perform on the total number of absences.
P.S. Yes, I like taking attendence. I think there are good reasons to do it. Here’s one of those good reasons.