Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #3: Student Interest Survey

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

Last week the challenge was to set up a Google Classroom for next school year. One great addition to the class stream might be a Student Interest Survey. This is a type of survey where you collect information about your students interests and learning abilities. Asking the right kind of question can give teachers insight into how students learn, what subjects they feel confident about, and a little about their personality. This enables teachers to tailor instruction to student strengths and interests.

Since I'm not the most creative person I searched online for Student Interest Survey question ideas and found a a treasure trove of ideas. I will be teaching 4th grade next year so I selected questions geared towards that grade level. I chose to do my survey in Google Forms and added the link as an announcement in my Google Classroom I created last week. This will be one of the first activities my students do when they learn about Google Classroom for the first time. My Student Interest Survey form is embedded below.

Creating your own Google Form is super easy.  Go to and log in to your account. Click the big + button to create your form. In the title area enter the name of your form (Student Interest Survey).

The first question has been created for you automatically. I recommend that the first question ask for the student name, otherwise you'll never know who submitted responses. I like to separate out first and last name so I can easily sort, but you can have students include both on the same line. Change the question type to Short answer and "require" this question, so students can't skip it.

Click the + button to add your next question.

Click the question menu next to the question title and select the type of question you want. Most of mine were Short answer so students could fill in whatever they wanted. I wanted to gauge their feelings on math since that is my main focus next year. For that question I selected Multiple Choice Grid, as you can see in my form above. Make sure you "require" any of the questions that you don't want students to skip.

When all of your questions are done, click the gear icon and change any settings you want. By default the form is set to allow access to only CCSD users. If your district subscribes to GAFE, you'll probably see your district's info there. I also like to check the box to automatically gather usernames. This gives me a column in my response spreadsheet where I can see all my students' Google email addresses.

Now click the Send button, click the link icon, and check the box for Shorten URL. This link is what I then copied and pasted into an announcement in Google Classroom.

I gave directions for the form in the announcement and then added this link.

Your challenge for this week is to create your own Student Interest Survey. This is an EdTech challenge, so no cheating and doing a paper version! You don't have to use Google Forms, any digital program you are familiar with will work. However, I found Google Forms super easy to use and adding it to my Classroom made it easy to distribute to students.

Once your Student Interest Survey is done, let me know in the comments below. Including a link is a great way to share with other educators too.

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