Less Burden, More Organized

Using online forms for a more productive classroom.

GUEST COLUMN | by Chad Reid

CREDIT JotForm THEME StoreOnline forms might not be the first thing that pops into your head as being a helpful tool for classroom management, but it should be. Using a DIY online form-building tool, you can collect homework, important feedback, parent signatures, and any other important information you need to collect en masse. The great news is that online forms are incredibly easy to create in 2016. You don’t need to know how to code to build one, you can just use a form-building software to create one.

Most online form services are completely free and remove the administrative tedium of being a teacher.

Most online form services are completely free and remove the administrative tedium of being a teacher. Below are a few of the popular ways teachers are taking advantage of online forms to create a better, hassle-free classroom!

Self-grading quizzes

Not only can you set up an online form to be a self-grading quiz, but you’ll get the results instantly sent to your form account. The graded information can also be integrated with the spreadsheet that you’re already using to record grades, making the process incredibly streamlined and simple.

Assignment submission

Written assignments shouldn’t hinge on dozens of functioning printers. It’s easier than ever to accept attached documents to online forms. That way your students can turn in their work by given deadlines from the comfort of their own home before even coming to school if they want. It’s also a great way to keep submitted assignments organized, and lets you access assignments from home or at school.

Permission forms

There’s something inherently flawed with the process of giving a permission slip to a student, hoping that same student collects a signature from a busy parent, and then promptly returns the slip in a timely manner. Online forms allow you to cut out the middle man kid. Send permission forms with electronic signature fields directly to parents to sign and submit instantly. No more wasted paper, no more placing the burden on students to retrieve permission.

Extracurricular signup forms

The easier you make it to sign up for an extracurricular sport, club, or committee, the more students will actually participate. That’s why a simple-to-fill-out, friendly online form can come in handy. Make it accessible straight from the school’s website so students can easily find it during their leisure time. You can even send a reminder email before deadlines with the attached form so students can fill it out on the spot, even from their cellphones.

Self-assessment forms

Some of the most interesting data a teacher can collect is students’ perceived strengths and weaknesses in a given subject. The real fun comes from working with this information once you have it. Look for consistent trends to shape your curriculum and maximize how much your students learn throughout the course.

Group project feedback forms

It’s not always easy for students to give honest feedback about their peers when it comes to group projects. Online forms can make the process a little less daunting for them. They can fill out the forms on their own time, in the library or at home. You could even make the feedback surveys anonymous, which could really encourage honest evaluation of their peers.

Student surveys

Polling students generate fascinating debates in the classroom, whether it’s about scientific theory, politics in social studies, or even the meaning of a novelist’s ambiguous text. Most online form building tools give users the option to turn the data they collect into presentable visual reports, which are perfect to show the class after you poll them in a student survey.

Meeting schedule forms

Some form builders give you the option to send a form with an appointment-scheduler widget that lets the form responder know what appointment slots are available and which have been filled. This is a very handy tool for scheduling both parent/teacher conferences and student meetings. No back and forth required; just an online form.

The best part is that all of the forms you’ll be using above send responses to the same account, making all the data you need accessible in the same place. It keeps you organized without even trying! And the ease by which you can create reports and integrate responses with spreadsheets makes it incredibly easy to share responses with colleagues.

Chad Reid is the director of communications for JotForm, an online form builder that’s become a fixture in schools all over the world. Are you using online forms in your classroom? Let Chad know how through his site.



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