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Using Google Forms for In-class Polling

Drawing of a clickerRecently, I found myself involved in a conversation about clickers. The topic under discussion wasn’t their usefulness in the classroom, but the fact that there are a number of different types available, and as the manufacturers update their products, equipment that’s already in use may end up obsolete.

As I listened to the concerns being raised, I thought that, if I needed to do in-class polling (which I’ve not as yet had occasion to do), I’d probably just use Google Forms. The thought wouldn’t have occurred to me a year ago, but some months back Googe started keeping Forms responses in the form itself, which makes it much easier to see poll results.

To see how it might work, I quickly put together a two-question poll:

A poll in Google Forms

I then filled it out multiple times, so there’s be some data, and clicked on the “Responses” tab:

The results of a Google Forms poll

I got informative, easy-to-read charts. In a classroom setting, it would be simple enough to provide students with a link to the poll, have them fill it out using their device of choice in class (or they could fill it out prior to class, if that’s more appropriate). Poll results could be shared with students immediately.

Google Forms may not be a good solution for everyone, but for those who don’t need to do in-class polling very frequently, or who only need to use very short polls, it has the potential to work very well.

As it (unsurprisingly!) turns out, others have also thought of using Google Forms this way. Shortly after I thought about exploring Google Forms’s suitability as a clicker replacement, I stumbled on Michael J. LaGier’s post at Faculty Focus.

Have you used Google Forms for in-class polling? Please share your experience with it (or other tools) in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Oliver Tacke]

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