There are many ways to promote engagement and making in the classroom. Using gadgets to give students the opportunity of being producers of content is a not only effective, but also very relevant nowadays. I am teaching a group of 12 very active teens, who are constantly talking about their idols and favorite songs. On the very first day, I asked them to make a list of singers they enjoy listening to. When I realised that the book I am teaching (TimeZones 2 by National Geographic) had comprehension questions about a teen fashion idol, I guessed it would be a good opportunity to engage students in a sentence level grammar practice.
The first thing to do was to make a Google form myself, for I needed to understand how it works. I resorted to the list of students` favorites, and made an example form a quiz about Ariana Grande. I loved the possibility of adding videos and images straight from the web, but as with any other digital project with kids, I faced some challenges. I made a list here so that you can learn from my experience and have a wonderful digital maker learning experience with your students too.
Internet was slow
I could not get my students to open the form in class because the connection was slow and many iPads were not logged into the right account. Fortunately, I had saved the link, and I projected the form using the classroom`s projector. The result was an engaged group of students performing the task I.
I decided what would engage students myself
Some of my students were really excited, but others were not so enthusiastic since they do not like Ariana that much. The result of my making a form about a person I assumed students would like could have been catastrophic, but, as it turned out, I was very lucky. Students asked me if they could make their own questions about their own idol, so the activity moved from students answering questions on a form to having them actually make their forms, practice language, and learn a digital skill.
I did not know how to facilitate students` making their own forms
Having set the model, I wanted my students to make their own forms because I was aiming at having them produce digital content and language, but I had no idea how I would do that. I learned from Thais Priscila, an IT team member at Casa Thomas Jefferson, that students would have to access GoogleForms using the web, not the app. We had emails and logins ready for each group, and all they had to do was login one Ipad per group and start typing the questions and answers we had been working on.
I had no time to spare
To make sure everything would work smoothly, I made sure I delivered clear instructions and monitored the group closely.
Even after proofreading, students kept making new mistakes on the forms.
When students are ready to share, make sure you tell them to add you as a collaborator so that you can also edit the forms after they have finished. I took notes of their mistakes, and provided corrective feedback. We opened the forms and edited the language mistakes as a group.
Students made the forms. Now what?
language teachers know how to take advantage of learning possibilities. I will share with students all the forms so that they will be exposed to correct language and have meaningful exchanges of information in the target language.
I hope this posts makes you feel like using Google Forms with your learners. Check some of the forms students made below.