Pardon the alliteration, but, it’s hard to avoid getting caught up in this exciting news! As of September 9, Google Forms now has four new features to its popular information gathering tool — progress bars, data validation, embedded YouTube videos, and custom messages. In addition to these brand new features, I’ve also chosen to include a bonus feature with this post: pre-filled URLs. Each of these features allow for even greater depth of use, differentiation, and just plain convenience.
1. Progress Bar
Now, when you create a new Form, you’ll see an option under a Form Settings menu
to include a progress bar. This is helpful for longer, multi-page forms, to give the user an idea of how much time they’ll need to invest to complete the form. Of course, the progress bar’s usefulness is determined by the length, in pages, of your form. If your form is only one page long, regardless of the number of items, the progress bar will indicate “100% complete” at the bottom. Still, with only one-click needed to include this feature, it’s a nice add-on.
2. Data Validation
I’m going to admit, this is my favorite of the new updates! You may have experienced
this when filling out an online form before: you enter your phone number, email address, etc., and you get an error message that tells you to format it a specific way. That’s data validation at work — the form field is programmed to accept specific items in
So how will this help you and/or your students? Think immediate feedback. In the following video, you’ll see an example of how to use data validation to provide immediate feedback:
There are several other ways to use data validation, such as character count limits in paragraph responses, accepting custom ranges of numeric values, and more. You can find more specific information about each of the options here.
3. Embed YouTube Video
Several months ago, Google gave us the ability to include images in Forms, which, at the time, was one of the most highly requested features from users. As with most things, users asked for even more, and Google listened. As of last week, if you’re sending a Form and you want feedback on a video, or perhaps you’re creating an assessment and would like students to respond to questions about a video, you can easily embed from YouTube (Only videos hosted on YouTube are currently supported.) in just a few steps.
Under the Add Item dropdown, select Video. Next, you can perform a search directly
from the popup window, or you can choose to copy-and-paste from another window or tab. Either way, after you click Done, the video will embed itself into your Form, and you’ll have the option to add a title and caption. Like images, this features adds to the differentiation choices and assessment options, or it could provide a great peer review platform for student projects.
4. Custom Messages
Often, when collecting responses from a Form, you’ll want to “close” the Form
to stop users from being able to complete it. While this is not exactly something that
couldn’t be done before, it is certainly now a whole lot easier. In the Form editor toolbar, you’ll now see a button that says “Accepting Responses.” If you want to disable the form, whether temporarily or permanently, all you’ll need to do is click that button. Once clicked, you’ll see another item under the Form Settings section, and here you can customize the message that users see if they try to access the form. This lends itself perfectly to situations where information is time-sensitive, such as practice exams, assignment submissions, or contests.
5. Pre-filled URLs
As a bonus to today’s post, I’m including this option as a great way to provide
differentiated Form variations. While not brand new, it’s a feature that I am often asked. about. Suppose you want to provide an example or “hint” students towards a certain answer. To make this happen, use the Responses menu to access the “Get pre-filled
URL” option. After selecting this option, you’ll end up at a screen that contains the “live” form and instructions to pre-fill any of the questions you want. Then, you’ll get a unique URL for this pre-filled form. Consider this for differentiation — create one form with the same questions for everyone, but one of the variations contains a little more help for students that may need it. If you need more variations, just repeat the steps and have different levels of pre-filled info.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about any of the features included in this post, please email us at email@example.com. Be sure to check our Events page for upcoming webinars and online professional development offerings, specifically those related to using Google Apps for Education.