Saturday, September 16, 2017

QR Codes and Google Forms

Several years ago I learned about QR codes when I attended a technology workshop.  Their uses are limited only by your imagination, but for this post I will focus on how I have used them with Google forms. For more information on QR codes, QR readers, QR creators and ideas on how to use them in education, check out this link  Kathy Schrock on QR Codes in the classroom, from the website Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything.

QR or "quick response" codes allow the creator to connect designated material to a unique code that when scanned, takes the user to a website, presentation, hand-outs, business card, audio recording, or in this case, a Google form. This eliminates the need for a long URL and allows individuals to simply scan your code to arrive at your desired online destination. This is especially helpful in the classroom if you have 1:1 technology.  It gets everyone on the "same page" at essentially the same time.

From Google Form to QR code using the website
Once you have created your Google form, you will copy your link by clicking "SEND" at the top right of your form. In the drop down box, click on the middle icon for link.  This will give you the link to paste into a QR code generator website like  .  I like because it is free and your codes never expire.  If you are still learning about how to create Google Forms, check my previous post on Back to Basics with Google Forms.

Once in follow these easy steps.

Step 1: Choose the type of QR code you need (choose website because it is coming from your Google Drive) 
Step 2:  Paste your Google form link into the long white rectangular box that says "content" above it.
You are then asked if you want static or dynamic.  Leave it on static.  
Step 3:  Choose your color. Usually I leave mine in black.  I have used color when I was using multiple codes and I wanted my items color coded to share at a workshop. The presentation, survey links, and handouts were all different colors.
Step 4: Download, print, or email your QR code.  I download mine and rename it for what it represents in my download file.  It is saved as a PNG, or picture file, then whenever I need it I can add it as an image.  Always be sure you test the code and have a friend test the code to be certain it is working properly before using. I learned this one the hard way!

Check out this short video on how to create a QR codefrom  Easy peasey.

Using your QR code.
As I mentioned above I have used QR codes to connect workshop participants to my PowerPoint presentation, workshop handouts, and a survey.  I have also included a QR code in my Welcome Back to School letter and School Counselor brochure, creating a digital business card parents could scan and save with my contact information.

But this year, I am at a middle school and wanted to do something different. The idea is for students to have access to online forms to self-refer for counseling or to make an anonymous report about bullying.  I have created an online counselor referral form and an anonymous bullying report form for students to access by scanning QR codes with their phones. These along with the QR codes for emailing my school counseling partner and myself appear on a small poster that reads "Help is only a scan away." These mini posters will be placed in the bathroom stalls, the common areas of the school, and over the light switch in the classrooms.  Due to ethical and liability concerns, and as a way of setting healthy professional boundaries, a disclaimer has been added to our poster.  It reads: "Online requests and reports will be checked and responded to by the School Counselors during regularly scheduled school days and hours.  If you are experiencing an emergency call 911."

Roll out of this procedure has been delayed by Hurricane Irma and more than a week out of school.  However, I am excited to see the sort of response we will get from the students once we are back in school.

Do you use QR codes in your school counseling program?  What are some interesting and creative ways you have used them? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Coming soon, "How to sort your Google form data."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Back to Basics with Google Forms

I began using Google forms about 3 years ago and have loved having them as part of my school counseling program.  I have used them for everything from student and teacher needs assessments, feedback surveys of Red Ribbon Week and Vehicle Day, teacher feedback on students and their group progress, time/task accountability, minute meetings, on-line counseling referrals, phone logs, and more. See these additional posts on Creating a Counselor Activity Log , Google Forms, Collect and Analyze Data and More Google Goodness  for samples of Google forms I have shared in this blog.

Google forms have changed a few times since I started using them 3 years ago. As you look through my blog you will see different styles of forms and some different instructions from when I first began using them in 2014.  So whether you are new to Google forms or in need of an update,  it seems a good time to review how to create and implement the use of google forms.

Step 1:  You must have a google account. It doesn't have to be a gmail account I recently learned. However, I personally like having a separate email account for all my google creations especially as it relates to school.  Setting up this google account gives you access to all of the Google tools like slides, forms, docs, sheets, and allows you to collaborate with others on these Google products.

If you do not have a gmail, go to this link to set up a  Google account.

Step 2: Finding your tools.  Go to your Google Drive. On the upper left side of the page click on the blue box that says NEW.  You will get a drop down menu with the list of Google products. At the bottom of the list it says MORE click there and you will see Google Forms.  Click on Google Forms to choose "Blank form" or "From a template."

Step 3:  Creating your form.  Plan ahead about how you want to use your form and what types of questions you want to ask.  When creating questions please remember that Google does a time stamp with the day and time the questions are answered, so that may or may not be a feature you need.  For example, I want the time and date feature on my Daily Counselor Log, because sometimes I may wait until the end of the day to put in all the classes, students, and adults I spoke with throughout the day. I want to be able to say when I saw that person and for how long.  However, this feature would not be important for a teacher survey or student on-line counseling referral as it will be time-stamped as they reply.

 Also consider how you want to be able to sort your data afterwards.  If you want to be able to sort by last name or first name, that would be two separate questions rather than just asking the question, "What is is your name?"  Some people may give their first name or first and last names. You would need a question for first name and one for last name if you want to sort by name.  Also be careful about using ambiguous questions/statements or two questions posed as one.  For example:  I feel safe. Not very specific.  Maybe they feel safe in some places and not in others. That makes me re-think how I should state this question. Also, the statement, "I feel safe at home and school" does not allow a student to specify if there is a difference. Instead ask two separate questions or make two separate statements, " I safe feel at home"  and "I feel safe at school."

Google gives you the choice of responses. Your respondents can rate statements on a linear scale, complete long or short answers, use multiple choice, check boxes, drop down menus and more.
When previewing your form, if you decide you don't like the order of your questions, no problem.  It is easy to grab the stack of 3 dots (referred to as "More") at the top of the page and move the questions around.  This task is much easier to do on a laptop.

Step 4:  Give your form a name and write a brief description of your form.

Step 5: Choose a background. Go to the top right of the page and look for the icon of the color palette. Click on that to see the drop down of color choices or go to the bottom right to the icon of a photograph to see the choices of headers Google has for your forms.  If you are really "techie" or just adventurous, you can go the the bottom of the "Select Theme" list where you will find Upload photos.  There you can make most any photo with the right dimensions (at least 800 pixels wide and  200 pixels tall) part of your background header.


Step 6:  Sharing your form with others to complete.  When you you are ready for your respondents to complete your form, go to the top right of your screen and click on the word SEND in the white box.  This will open the SEND pop up box.  You will see 3 icons for sending your form: by email, a link, or embedding it in a website. I like to use the middle icon, the link, to send the form to an email group or to create a QR code for my targeted audience to scan and complete my form.

Step 7:  Reviewing your data.  When you create a Google form, Google automatically collects your responses.  At the top of your form you will see "QUESTIONS"  and "RESPONSES."  Next to "RESPONSES" you will see a number. That is the number of responses or entries to your form. To the right of that you will see a small green box with white lines.  Click on that and it will say create a new spreadsheet or select an existing spread sheet.  Click on create a new spread sheet and the blue CREATE.  You will now have a response sheet by the same name as your form in your Google Drive. This is where all the data goes as each person completes your form and where you can go to view all your data and sort if you would like.

More to come!
In the next couple of weeks I will be talking about sorting your Google form data and sharing Google forms in a QR code.

I love Google forms and the versatility of using them in my school counseling program. I would love to hear from other Google form users about how you use forms in your program.  Please leave your comments and questions below as well as any tips or tricks you would like to share.