Personal Learning Tracking

Yesterday, one of the stories that ended up in my Zite reading stream was a blog entry introducing a service called Goalbook.  The author summarized the entry by indicating that it would be “a great resource to help students receiving special education services”.  That part intrigued me but I was also drawn to the application for the goals of home, school, and other collaboration to help student reach goals.

It seemed to me that, yes, it might be helpful for students on an IEP but it might appeal also to a much wider audience.

It only took a couple of moments to create the account – you need an educational email address and then you’re into it

I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t just another gradebook with annotations.  I suppose you could somehow enter marks into the application but it really doesn’t lend itself to that.  Instead, it’s about entering and keeping track of learning goals.  These are entered, revised and monitored over time.  There is definitely a special education angle to this but I immediately see the application to all students.

As with any application of this type, you start by entering students and the classes that you’re teaching.  Additionally, you add team members.  Presumably this could be other teachers, resource people, a principal, parents, or really anyone who is involved in helping the student reach her/his goals.  My next step was to create a goal for the individual student.  If you have a similar goal for another student, copy it across.  The application even allows you to create a bank of goals just for this purpose.

The team members would all have access to the goals.  Here, monitoring the goals, sending messages, and sharing celebrations are the primary activities.

The progress can be plotted over time with a visual reference for the student and all the team members to see how well the goals are being met.

Again, their are immediate applications for students on an IEP.  But, I’m thinking that it could be used creatively in other ways.  For example, a research paper or any major project can be broken down into individual tasks that are addressed over time.

There are all kinds of other ways to do this.  I know that I’ve used a grid in a binder with check marks (in the beginning…), as a Filemaker Pro database and as entries in an Excel spreadsheet.  The design of this application is unique though.  Any record that I’ve done in the past belongs to me.  I could review it with anyone at anytime but typically they would have to come and see me.  Even showing it can be a challenge to protect the privacy of the other students in the classroom.  It also requires the parent to make an appointment to come in to see me or to connect over the phone.  Using this application lets anyone with a connection hae access to view or annotate at any time.

Extra ideas and support are available at the Goalbook Blog.

This application takes the concept of tracking and building a team with equal members to a next level.  I really think that it has potential.

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