Getting to know your students (and their families) is one of the most important functions of the opening days of a school year. To most effectively facilitate learning, you have to know what will appeal to student sensibilities. Planning cooperative groups will require an intimate knowledge of personalities and learning style preferences. There are even online tools that can help you get to know your students.
As a part of Google Docs, Google Forms allow you to create your own online survey to determine student preferences. The form is easy to set-up and provides options such as drop-down lists, check-boxes, multiple choice, short and long answers, and even a scale tool. The student answers are recorded conveniently on a Google Spreadsheet. Statistics from surveys can be easily summarized in charts and graphs or simply used to determine individual student profiles.
Survey Monkey is another free, online survey tool with many of the same options.
For ideas as to setting up student learning preference surveys, check out the following examples or use these surveys instead of creating your own:
- Cuesta College. Learning Style Survey (Grasha-Riechmann student version)
- Edutopia. What’s Your Learning Style?
- Piedmont Education Services. (2006). Learning Styles
- White, J. Learning Style Inventory. University of Georgia College of Education
Besides learning student preferences and personality traits, online survey tools can be used in acquiring feedback from parents. Set up a survey to see how parents would like to be informed of classroom announcements. When conference time arrives, use a survey to determine schedules. Garner feedback on recent projects or homework assignments. The opportunities for parent feedback are endless.
How have you used surveys at the beginning of the year? Have you ever tried online surveys? What have you learned from assessing learning styles at the beginning of a school year?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.