Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If I could re-engineer Google Forms, what would they look like?

+Andrew Stillman asked me in a comment on Google+ if I could re-engineer Google Forms for math, what would they look like. I realize my comment was turning into something larger and reposted it here to capture it and make it easier for me to find.

In short, since I get to re-engineer them for math, I would make them much like GoogleWave was. I think it would be essential to have a Math Editor in the form so we don't have to use images. The original Google Docs Equation Editor was awesome, you could type LaTeX or use the pre-populated buttons. 

4 years ago (I only know due to the age of my Youtube video), I used to take the source code of the Form and then host it on my own website and used a Math-type Gadget to have students enter math more easily. 

Here is a quick video of that process:

I think something along those lines are needed at minimum. 

I would love access to the Google Charts and Visualizations to create Graphs in forms.

I would also love some sort of Google Drawing space allowed so students could handwrite their work and it would link in the response spreadsheet. This would overcome the biggest issue with creating math digitally (the typespacing). 
I have been messing around with something like that as an Add-on, but the Caja Sanitation keeps limiting what type of objects I can use with HTMLService.

I used to love the GoogleWave bots that would interact with Wolfram so there was a hueristic-type matching possible to see if two math quantities were equal, like 4x, x4, 4(x), x(4), 4*x, etc...
I would love some type of capability like that at the end to verify solutions were correct, but I feel like that is a deeper level type thing. 

GoogleWave was amazing for Math and I ran all my classes on it by chaining Beta invites for an entire semester before it was depricated. It was pushing math interaction leaps and bounds....