October – November 2015
My teaching position is in a supportive learning environment classroom. In my classroom I have students who have significant behavior challenges and are on eIIPs. Each term we are required to goal set with the students and collect data on how they are achieving their goals. Initially in the classroom we were tracking behavior data on an 11 x 17 sheet of paper and then transferring this information to other documents and calculating percentages from there. The information was then funneled into the student communication books which are transported back-and-forth so that their parents know how their day went. As a final step the information is also put into our anecdotal records so that our administrator can see any major incidents that happened during the day. Just as it sounds, it was very time consuming and redundant. Another concern was that it didn’t really provide any feedback for the parents in a clear way. This led me to another part of my major project. So for the month of October and into November I wanted to explore some apps to track student behavior in my classroom and utilize technology to make the process smoother but also find a way to communicate with parents.
Initially I saw some reviews online of Behavior Tracker Pro and thought it would be a good fit for my classroom. When I went to download the app I noticed that there were several other app options and decided to choose two additional ones – Easy Behavior Tracker and Behavior Tracker.
Behavior Tracker Pro is by far the most expensive of the three apps and I hesitated purchasing it. It was my first choice app as it appeared to provide much of what I needed. It allowed me to take frequency and duration data. It also allowed me to take ABC data ( antecedent behavior consequence), high frequency behavior data and interval data.
This app has the capability to insert a video of the child displaying the behaviour which may be helpful in a clinical situation but in a classroom situation we need to be careful about video taping our students.
I was excited to be able to graph the data which would make it easy for parents to understand but it became too complex with the amount of behaviours we were tracking.
This review highlights all of the capabilities of the app and I was sold on the ability to graph the data to show parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t ideal for our classroom. We ran into difficulties tracking the behaviour when multiple students were experiencing difficulty. We needed to be able to record instantly simultaneous things with different students. This app allows you to focus on one student at a time. I could see it being useful for clinical observations but not in a busy classroom.
The next app Behaviour Tracker that I downloaded actually met most of our needs but was outdated and had some glitches. There was no simple way to get app support as the developer appears to have moved on to other things. I was able to enter my student information and add a picture for quick access. I could also customize the behaviours I wanted to observe. This app allowed me to take data quickly
on several students with a simple touch. I touched the student’s name / picture and a selection of behaviours appeared.
One really great things about this app is that it time and date stamps the behaviour so that you can identify patterns. There is an option to have a timer start when you select an observed beha
viour. This was a good thing in the beginning to track how long a student was ‘off task’ but the timer stays on the screen and doesn’t allow you to select anything else while it is going. This creates the same problem as the Behavior Tracker Pro as you can only focus on one student at a time or gives an inaccurate indication of time (1 second etc) because another behaviour or student was selected.
Another great feature of this app was the ability to indicate the teacher’s response to the behaviour (redirect, intervene etc). This gave me the opportunity to see if my responses were met with a behaviour correction or further off task behaviour.
This app has the ability to generate reports to email to parents but it is in a simple list format with the date and time. I found that this wasn’t very helpful.
The final app I explored briefly was the Easy Behavior Tracker. It was a mid priced app and would be beneficial to use in a high school or upper elementary. It was very easy to setup and user friendly however it is more for recording a single incident with a student. It didn’t have the specific capabilities that I needed for charting frequency of behaviours.
After reviewing all of these and thinking about student privacy I began to question the use of any of these apps. What access do the developers have to the information? Can they only access information housed on their site or can the mine the app for data?
In order to get something that we could use in time for three way conferences a colleague developed an excel form and it generates graphs to share with parents. Simple and powerful.