What it is: Sometimes I come across a useful site and think, “how in the world is it possible that I haven’t discovered this before?” That happened today with Adobe Form Central. This free web application lets you create pdf’s that are actually web forms that can be filled out directly on the pdf. Fancy. Forms Central has a huge bank of templates that you can start with including a section just for education. These are mostly application, appointment, quiz type forms. But the best…the ability to create your own custom pdf form! Design items include text fields, date fields, email fields, single choice, multiple choice, drop down menu, single check box, rating scale, file attachments, formatted text, images, and page or section breaks. When you have finished with the form you can set the form up to automatically email recipients, redirect them to a new url, or include a confirmation message. You can even collect payments through PayPal (I’ll tell you why I find that feature useful!). When you are ready to distribute your form you can email the link, embed the form or share on Twitter. From within form central, you can view responses and save to Excel or as a PDF. You can even sort responses from within Forms Central.
How to integrate Form Central into the classroom: The obvious (and boring) use of Forms Central for education is for creating quizzes and tests. Pass. I’m not interested in using it that way so the custom feature is where I head. Form Central is a great place for you to create a guided inquiry form where students can view the current inquiry question and fill in their own lines of inquiry and thoughts as they begin into a new unit. Answers are collected in one place so that you can go through with your class and discuss options. This could be a great twist on the ideation step in design thinking!
Forms Central could be used to create customized rubrics that you and your students can fill in. Again, the great feature here is that everything is collected in one spot! Students can create and use forms to collect scientific or mathematical data that can be analyzed and evaluated later.
Students can create their own custom surveys for collaborative projects and easily distribute their forms and collect answers. Our students created their own not-for-profit (LSGW Foundation), because they occasionally host fundraisers, Forms Central would be really useful for collecting information and donations online. The ability to connect the form to a PayPal account where they can collect donations is fantastic!
The PayPal function could also be used by you at the beginning of the school year. If you’re like us, you have parents fill out loads of Q&A’s at back to school night so that you can get to know the family and child better. You could include a short wish-list of items that you would like for your classroom. Parents could choose to donate monetarily to your classroom fund through your forms. Forms Central also gives them an easy one-stop place to quickly fill out all of the information online.
Do you host an after school club or tutoring? Use Forms Central to create your application/enrollment form and collect payment at once.
Have your students evaluate your class using a course evaluation (template), collect feedback from colleagues at a conference where you hosted a session, collect interest for a new offering in your classroom, create a risk assessment sheet…the sky is the limit for what you can create.
One of my favorite things about the start of the school year at Anastasis Academy is the Learning Profile that we create for each of our students. We survey students to learn about their multiple intelligence strengths, brain dominance, learning style preferences, and interests and passions. Forms Central would be a really great way to collect all of this information (at least until the Learning Genome is finished!).
Tips: You may be wondering…why not just use Google forms? I love Google forms, I really do. But Forms Central gives options that Google does not. Those options are appealing to me on a number of levels! The bank of templates they have to start from is also super helpful when time is an issue.
Are you using Forms Central in your classroom? Share your experience in the comments below!