Shrewsbury EdTech

Tech resources for Shrewsbury Public School educators


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Simplify your conference feedback with online forms

So, conference day is coming quickly – it’s now a week away… and many of us are doing student-led conferences. 

If you’re like my team, you want to know how it goes – what’s the parent perspective on the day, and what can you do better next time?  Also, you know there will be parents who will want to meet with just the teachers sometime in the near future.  The question is how to get information from the parents quickly and easily…

We used to have two stacks of papers – a survey and a conference request form.  Parents would fill them out as needed, turn them in to the appropriate box, and then we’d take a day to sort through the information during our preps.  Once we started using Google Docs, however, it seemed natural to eliminate the paper and switch to a digital format.  We began experimenting with the ‘create forms’ option in Google Docs, and found that it works quite well for our needs:

You can see our parent conference request form here:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?hl=en&formkey=dDd1OXFCN056UFFGM1QtbWhXTHByd3c6MA#gid=0

And our student-led conference survey form is here:  http://8gold.org/conference_survey.php

So, on conference day, we take out a laptop cart and set up a bank of 5 or 6 laptops.  We launch the web browser on them, and load the conference survey page.  At each conference table, we have a basic set of instructions, which ends with a request to take a moment to fill out the survey.  At the bottom of the survey page is the link for the conference request form.

What are the benefits to using this system?
  1. No paper – we don’t need to rifle through a stack of forms, or keep track of where we put them.
  2. Results are instant – with Google Survey, we can check on results in real time – it gives handy pie charts and graphs that show the responses in real time.
  3. Shared access: Each teacher – and anyone else that needs the information – can have instant access to it.

So, how do you do it?

In Google Docs, just click Create–>Forms.  It’s a simple drag and drop process…  then you just save the form, click “go to live form” and you’re off to the races.  
But we can make it even easier:

If your team is interested, drop us a note and we can give you a copy of ours, and help you set it up.  Our preps are from 11:30 to 1 pm, and we can be available to help you at bus dismissal as well.  So let us know, and we can get you up and running in no time.

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Scheduling Student-Led Conferences

More and more teams at Oak and Sherwood are adopting a student-led conference model compared to the traditional teacher-parent conference. One of the big advantages to this format is the ability to meet more of the parents. In order to accommodate everyone, we have parents sign up for a fifteen minute time slot while they are visiting our classrooms on Curriculum Night. There are four openings for parents per time slot. If you would like access to the spreadsheet, please email us.

After Curriculum Night, we recorded the last name of each student and their time slot into a Google Spreadsheet. This document is shared with team members and made viewable to anyone who has access to the link.

How this helps us
  • Administration, Allied arts teachers, and Foreign Language teachers all have access to our Conference Day schedule. They know when to stop by if/when they need to speak with a student and his/her parents.
  • Parents who signed up for a time slot can confirm that time. If they realize there is a conflict, they can change.
  • Parents who were unable to attend Curriculum Night can see which time slots are still available. They can send an email to the team and request a meeting time. Once we “pencil in” a parent for a particular time slot, all other parents can see that time slot is no longer available.

Please leave a comment with any suggestions you have regarding student-led conferences. 

Do you have another system for scheduling parents?
Does your team use technology during the conferences?
Any other suggestions for using Google Spreadsheets?