April 19, 2012

Create a Free Anonymous Reporting Form for Students

Earlier in the school year, we had an issue at one of the schools when a student brought in a weapon and it wasn't discovered until very late in the day.  Luckily, no one was injured and the situation was handled by the administration.  This event prompted some school members to wonder why it wasn't reported earlier in the day?  The reason was that students did not feel comfortable seeking out an adult and reporting the incident in person.

After some conversation, it was determined that we should have some sort of communication mechanism for students to anonymously report potential issues in school.  I looked around the web but all of the solutions that were available to schools cost money (lots of money) so I started to piece together our own FREE anonymous student reporting application using Google Voice and a website called Jotform.  Below are the details...

Option 1 - Use Google Voice to allow students to text/call a hotline which will store the messages or voicemail in an account for viewing/listening.

Step 1: Create a Google account for your school (if you do not already have one)
Step 2.  Go to Google Voice and setup your account.  If you need help getting started with Google Voice check out this help page with lots of good information.
Step 3:  Set up your preferences including how you want to be notified if a submission has been received and whether or not you want your phone to ring when someone connects with your voicemail.  You can also download the Google Voice app for Android and iOS to keep tabs on your messages on the go
Step 4: Time to disseminate the information
Step 5: Distribute your Google Voice number to students so that they can contact the hotline via text message or voicemail if they have something to report.
Step 6: Create a voicemail widget for your school website which will allow students to easily click and connect with your voicemail to report an issue.

Option 2 - Create a web form using Jotform which will allow students to anonymously enter information on the web and have it go to the desired contact person at your school. (This is what we are currently using).

Step 1:  Create an account on Jotform
Step 2:  Watch this short 2 minute tutorial which will go over how to create your form
Step 3:  Once your form is created use the embed code to put it onto your website
Step 4:  Get the word out by sharing with students that your form is now online and accessible.  We decided to require students to be logged in to their Edline (content management system) account so that this form would not be open to the public.

Both of these solutions were very easy to setup and simple to use.  If you have any questions...drop my a line on my Google Voice account using the widget in the sidebar.  Good luck!!!

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