Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Google Forms For All That Paperwork.

Recently my school had a registration day for incoming freshman. The process involves a lot of paperwork to be filled out by the parent/guardian, then the paperwork is shuffled around to various offices in the school; guidance, the nurse, administration, and the school secretary. Some forms might require the parent or guardian to bring the form home to obtain some information, such as immunization records. While some of these forms are confidential, and provide necessary information about registration, some of the forms are less confidential and could be streamlined with the use of Google Forms.

Imagine the typical parent or guardian  meeting to review registration paperwork, where you are prepped with a folder of various forms that require the parents to recall detailed bits of information they may have to look up. Now imagine,  instead of handing over the folder , you hand  the parents a Chromebook to access the majority of the forms online. The data collected would instantaneously be filtered to the correct person, who could then quickly filter the data to the appropriate database used in the school. This would reduce the amount of time it takes for school faculty to transfer all this information, physically store all the paperwork, then shred all the paperwork upon graduation or transfer. It might also provide an opportunity for the parent or guardian to look up bits of information they might need. For example, maybe they just changed their primary care physician through the universal healthcare, they might now know the contact information just yet. They could quickly look it up and continue with the forms.

Google Forms could be used to streamline a vast majority of forms used by teachers, students and parents. Simple forms like field trip permission slips, parent/volunteer signups, purchase order requests, maintenance requests, student schedule change requests (add-drop forms),  or various registration forms for sports and clubs. It could help to reduce the percentage of forms lost in transit from school to home, to school, and finally to the appropriate person at school. I'm not sure most schools would dive right in and adopt a Google form to collect confidential information, but maybe schools would be willing to take baby steps, and use Google Forms for some of the small things. I have been using Google Forms to collect parent or guardian information for my classroom. The form collects simple things, like parents or guardians name, preferred mode for communication, the appropriate contact information, and preferred times for communication. It has helped keep me much more organized, to find that information quickly. Schools are under utilizing a powerful tool that can streamline a lot of paper pushing.

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