Well, it took me some time, but I was determined to try something new I learned at the BIT15 conference last week. I am admittedly a newbie. How do I put a disclaimer on that? I’m a rookie newbie? A newbie newbie? A never-heard-of-that-add-on-before newbie?
I have attempted my first challenge to myself this week. I wrote that I wanted to use the google forms in my classroom with an add-on. I wanted to connect to my journal/news item feature I use to start each of my classes. My students did give some effort to help me reach this goal.
My students were quite excited to get their hands on the ipads. We have used the laptops in previous assignments, as many actually prefer a keyboard upon which to type. I had them sign into their school given google accounts to try my survey. Yes, I did encounter some problems.
One ipad had not be properly charged, so immediately, I’m down a device. Two other students somehow disabled themselves out of the ipad and it then “locked” itself for 60 minutes. I was unable to override this, so now I’m down 3 devices. A fourth student was able to log in, but couldn’t get past a default setting and as I was seemingly running from desk to desk, wasn’t able to get him past the default address to get him to the form. I was now feeling a little frustrated with my first attempt. I had 4 students unable to use the ipads at all for my big first trial. I felt my ship sinking.
Another problem I hadn’t anticipated was students not realizing they had to click the link to actually fill out the form. I had also embedded the form so they could see “what it looked like”. (this was so when they found it, they knew they were in the correct place.) Some couldn’t scroll down to answer all the questions. So while I thought I was helping by providing a picture, it served as more a confusing distraction, rather than anything else. I will be more wary for my next attempt.
The good news is, most with working ipads DID find the survey and fill it out. I had attached the link to our class web site and they didn’t have to look too far to find the assignment. Some of them were able to score near perfect answers and seemed happy to share their answers and results with each other.
They were not nearly as frustrated as I. They were just clicking along, some encountering a few obstacles, some getting right to business. In my freeze frame moment, I saw all MY mistakes and became disappointed I hadn’t arranged it better. I supposed I had imagined everyone signing in, finding a survey, filling it out, and BAM, wrapping up. It doesn’t always work that way.
When we discussed it the next day, students told me the LIKED the idea of doing the survey, it helped them remember the fun stuff we’ve done, and it didn’t involve a lot of work, but only a few short written (typed) answers. They didn’t seem to care it took a few tries to get it right, and most were willing to try again with me.
My students were able to use some technology in the classroom, I had a chance to work with Google forms and my add-on (an automatic mailing of a thank you certificate upon completion of the survey). It is satisfying to see the students willing to try, even when I might have been willing to give up.
Challenge accepted. I’m continuing to challenge myself with this type of assignment until it no longer seems to be a “challenge”. Next up.