GOOGLE FORMS AND SMARTPHONES: EVALUATION OF AN ALTERNATIVE TO CLICKER SYSTEMS FOR COLLECTING FEEDBACK FROM STUDENTS

G. Bubaš, A. Čižmešija

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics (CROATIA)
The paper presents findings from two pilot studies that examined the use of Google Forms service with a smartphone as a convenient and costless substitute for the use of a students’ response system (“clicker” system), for instance to collect feedback from students during a lectures in near real time. Clicker systems can be used as a form of technological support in large study groups for questioning or student polling, as well as in diverse teaching activities.

The tested solution in our pilot study was a combination of:
(1) use of a smartphone device by students to fill in an online feedback survey created by using the Google Forms service,
(2) use of online application Bitly for the shortening of the original URL of the Google Forms survey,
(3) students’ feedback to the lecturer during his/her teaching in near real-time by responding to the online survey items, and
(4) the use of several pedagogical techniques that can make better use of the previously described method for enhancing the effectiveness of teaching and improvement of learning experience of students in traditional classroom settings.

The participants of our pilot-study were undergraduate and graduate students of one Middle European university. To investigate the applicability of our alternative solution for using clickers the variables related to technology acceptance theories (TAM, UTAUT, etc.) were used for designing scales in the evaluation survey of our technological solution (Google Forms + smartphones). The results of our study indicate that the use of Google Forms service and students’ smartphones can be an effective and no-cost substitute for rather expensive clicker systems, as well as that it can be is easily adopted by the students.

This method can be effectively utilized by teachers with:
(a) at least minimum competence in the use of online survey technologies and
(b) who have sound pedagogical principles in mind when adapting the previously described solution to their traditional classroom teaching