There are tons of suggestions on the web about how we should not use technology to just recreate what we’re already doing with pencil and paper. I agree that in many cases that’s true and that technology opens up all kinds of possibilities that pencil, paper, and textbooks can’t duplicate. However, I also believe sometimes you just need to ask a question and get and answer, and that is OK.
Side note, there are students that like to use Chromebooks for no other reason than they do not like to write. This would of been me in middle and high school. For one, I’m left handed and writing from left to right and spiral bound notebooks were not designed for lefties. I’ll leave that there. If you are a lefty, you understand. Also, my handwriting was never very good and writing fast for note taking just made it worse. I would have been a much better note taker if I could just typed them.
Anyway, let’s say you have two questions you want students to answer on a Google Doc. It doesn’t matter if they are short answer or on-demand responses, this tip will work for both.
You share your Doc with your students as View only so that they make there own copy. They can click between each question to type their answers, but the location of answers will vary a bit if not a lot. So hears one way to get more consistency.
You can add a Google Docs text box for students to use to type their responses. The boxes are actually 1×1 tables. Here’s how to add them.
- Put your cursor where you want the box
- Click Insert > Table
- Choose the block in the top left corner which means 1 row, 1 column.
That’s all. It’s that easy.
Now your students will be able to click in the box and start typing. The box will grow as needed.
Let’s take this one step further
You can make your students’ responses stand out even more by default them to be a different color.
To do this, click in each box and set the text color. You will then see the cursor in the box change to the color you choose. You can also set the font to be bold, highlighted, etc… Students can still change the color and other format settings.
Hopefully this will make is easier to to see students’ answers to questions.