Apps that Collect Data to Document Student Growth are starting to become precedent in the mobile world.
Many app developers are realizing the importance and are incorporating viable ways to collect data and chart individual student's progress into their learning systems. However, truly great educational apps that do a decent job with progress monitoring are hard to come by. The special needs population has always had a history of data collection systems. The advent of apps has made it much more manageable for educators, parents, and therapists to monitor progress. The developers of apps for special needs recognized the necessity of incorporating these components into their apps from the start. Now, it is more the norm for academic based apps to include some form or record of student learning experience. Many app companies now have educators developing lesson plans or content and the cry; "Aligned to Common Core" is prevalent. Meanwhile, many developers are just realizing out how essential the monitoring piece is to the success of their app and are backtracking to include this function in updates.
Below are several of our favorite developers that create app after app that contains great modes of data collection:
- Mobile Education Store - brilliant speech and language apps by Kyle Tomson
- Brain Parade - wonderful picture card learning system for autism
- Smarty Ears - great family of speech and language applications
Other intelligent apps that automatically track progress and will adjust activities for children to skill levels automatically are Native Numbers - A fabulous mental math app, with teacher facing functionality and real-time dashboard. Agnitus is another. This app works on preschool concepts, offers report cards that highlight children's performance and parental & classroom dashboard that tracks study time. One of the best examples of a progress monitoring app is Math Drills. We love the precise data collection that if offers. It shows a visual for the students to see; two graphs chart their progress in speed and accuracy. They call this the Overview. You can also view it in Detail, which lets you put in the specific date or specific segment of time (marking period). It also gives the option to generate a written report with all the stats forwarded to an email or the printer. The best part about this app is that you set the parameters of which child is working on which operation, how many problems and even the numbers you want them to practice. Which means in a classroom you can adjust the number of problems given. So, when you ask all students to begin a drill (could be your Beginning Of Period activity or Do Now) they are all basically done within the same time frame. Side by side, some students are doing 50 multiplication problems and working on their 8x-table, while their neighbor could be doing 20 simple addition problems... and all the data is seamlessly collected for you. Of course, there are much more apps and we will continue to write about this concept. If you're a teacher, when purchasing an app, keep in mind the importance of the app having capabilities to track multiple student profiles.
Teachers With Apps always recommends apps that are high in quality, user-friendly, have an extended shelf-life, contain interactivity that complements the content (not competes with it), and we examine the connection to curriculum. We also take into consideration the functionality and see the critical role of tracking student growth in a viable way. As teachers, we know how invaluable data collection is. It is not just a convenience or time saver, it is now demanded in any educational environment.