Digi Know: Battle of the Forms – Google V Office 365


So, back in June Microsoft released Forms in Office 365 for Education, which fulfilled a gap in the Microsoft product range that Google had been offering since 2012. Using forms is a quick and easy way to create a survey or quiz and be able to analyse and evaluate responses almost immediately.

Microsoft are still relatively behind in developing this technology and currently only provide it for education, not the general public or for enterprise. However on the plus side one can fully integrate all Microsoft products now without relying on external sources such as Google Forms or Surveymonkey, this is a big plus where consistency is essential.

Let’s compare the 2 products:


In my experience of using forms (Google) in the classroom, being able to provide a visual alongside a Question has been vital in providing test questions and so Microsoft not offering this simple option in their forms product is a big oversight and something that I hope will be added soon. The possibilities that Forms opens up in a classroom setting, alongside other Office 365 products such as OneNote and the Class Notebook is encouraging to a more dynamic approach providing a synergism between the Tutor and the Student.

I did experience some further frustration the other day when a colleague asked me to share with her a form I had created in Office 365 Forms. After about 5 minutes of clicking (and swearing) I Googled (Oh…the irony) the problem. You cannot have a co-author or collaborate on one form in Office 365 forms, hmmm bit of a problem when collaboration is key to good academic practice!

The ability to Upload Files in Google Forms is, in my opinion, a massive game changer. As a long time user of the Google for Education suite this feature embodies what Google Apps for Education is about and that’s a seamless integration of the products into a student’s user experience.

Come on Microsoft, I’m batting for your team now!

Appy Monday – Office Lens

Banner showing Digital Derby and Appy Monday: Exploring mobile apps for learning and teaching

What is it?

Office Lens turns your device into a scanner. Take a photo of a document or a whiteboard and Office Lens trims and enhances it, so it looks like a scanned image.

What can it do?

  • Trims, crops and enhances the picture. In Whiteboard mode it will clean up glare and shadows.
  • It integrates with Office 365 and OneNote.
  • Convert images to PDF, Word and PowerPoint
  • Office Lens uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so if you capture a printed document, you can search for words and edit them.

Download it now…

Office Lens is a free download from iTunes, Google Play and the Microsoft Store

How could it be used for learning, teaching and assessment?

  • It is a quick and efficient way of converting physical resources into digital ones. Staff and students can take a photo of a handout or worksheet and share it with colleagues.
  • Students can capture an explanation or diagram on a whiteboard then use Office Lens to capture it and send it to OneNote to annotate along with their notes.
  • Capture documents for inclusion in an ePortfolio, particularly those which require signatures.
  • Export your Office Lens image to PowerPoint and the hand drawn lines are converted into objects that can be moved, resized etc. You can continue to develop the work or build a presentation around it.

Short task:

  1. Install Office Lens.
  2. Write a message on a post-it note or whiteboard.
  3. Use Office Lens to capture the document or whiteboard.
  4. Using the Export function, email the image to yourself.

Screenshots from Office Lens

Important note

Before using any mobile application or online service please check the terms and conditions to ensure you are aware of the implications of using the service. In particular, look out for items covering data security, ownership of content and public/private sharing options

Further support

If you would like further support to get an idea of how you could use Office Lens within learning and teaching, please contact the Technology Enhanced Learning team on tel@derby.ac.uk or ext 1865.

Useful Resources