Google Forms and Sheets
This is the first issue in a five-part series. The series covers various tools I use to gather information for a conference held by my district. The tools have changed over time. The tools I use now revolve around the Google environment. I use Google Forms to collect presenter, participant, and vendor information. I use Google Sheets to organize the conference schedule. I use Sheets to create and printing conference badges. Sheets is also used to develop the online conference schedule. Some of the graphics are assembled and presented in Google Drawings. Google Slides is used during the conference for the opening and closing ceremonies. Our district has embraced Google.
What I am presenting in these issues can be done with other powerful applications. We tried some of these applications but found them difficult or expensive to use. Google is free and the tools are easy to use.
In this issue, I cover Google Forms. The district I work for hosts a yearly conference for teachers. The conference is the Teacher Networking Technology and Content Conference. The conference provides professional development opportunities for teachers. The conference targets the inclusion of technology in the classroom. It is open to all districts in the area. El Paso is far removed from the rest of Texas. This gives us an opportunity to develop and deliver content targeted to teachers in the area.
The lessons presented in this issue are an evolution of a process that I started ten years ago. We started by collecting email submissions for presentations at the conference. This gave way to online forms and eventually to Google Forms. I developed the conference book using Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Adobe Indesign. The conference book is no longer printed. We offer a digital version now. I designed participant badges using a variety of applications. We still print badges but the process has evolved to make things easier.
Register with Google forms
We begin with Google Forms. Forms is used to collect the necessary information from presenters for the conference. This information includes their name, presentation title, and a short description. We also collect information about their intended audience and core content. Forms is also used to collect information from participants and vendors. The form for participants and vendors is less involved.
Google Forms is used to collect information about participants. This information is necessary to keep track of attendance. Their attendance is necessary in order to collect the registration fees from campuses. Attendance documentation is necessary. Teachers receive credit for Gifted and Talented, GT hours. Registration information in the form is used to generate attendance badges. The attendance badge is used to confirm attendance. Parts of the badge are used for their lunch ticket and door prizes throughout the day.
We use Google Forms to collect information from vendors. The information is used as reference information. It becomes our call list for the following year. This information is also used to generate vendor badges.
Google Sheet workhorse
Google Forms is just a collection tool. Google Sheets does the real work. We organize presenter sessions with Google Sheets. Presenters are scheduled throughout the day and assigned rooms.
Sheets is used in generating presenter, participant, and vendor badges. Each badge includes their name, district, campus, and position. If they are vendors the badge includes information about their company. This usually includes their logo on the badge. Other parts of the badge include lunch, door prize, and Keynote tickets. These are detached and collected throughout the day. They are scanned into Sheets. The scans help track how many attend the keynote, get their lunch, and stay until the last session. They are scanned at each session. This lets us know which sessions are the most popular.
One of the components in the system is QR codes. Google Sheets is used to create Quick Response codes. The Google Application Program Interface, API, is used. The QR Code is used to scan participant badges during sessions. The QR code on vendor badges provides important information about the company. In conference, we the participants are often scanned for our information. We have turned the tables and made the vendors scannable. This helps campuses collect needed information about the sales representatives.
Part of the design process for the badge includes Google Drawings. We use Drawings to design the face of the badge with the conference graphic.
Sheets is used in generating an organization chart. This chart helps organize and share the conference presentations and events. This is very useful because we often have challenges with rooms and their location. In the past, we struggled with enough wireless access. This often meant staggering Internet heavy sessions. Using the chart assures we are not over scheduling presenters. It also helps to make sure we don’t miss a presenter.
During the development of the conference, we need to make lots of changes. A chart with Sheets makes the update process almost trivial. There are times when changes cause conflicts. These are easier to manage with a fluid process in Sheets.