As our Intermediate Unit heads into School Improvement Planning (SIP) “season” with districts that have issues with their “Adequate Yearly Status” (AYP) status, related primarily to student achievement on the state’s standardized tests – I have been in meetings with district administrators for the past two days.
Today I had my iPad with me and got lots of questions from curriculum folks and principals about my thoughts on the iPad. Some of the questions I fielded were, “Do you like it – what is it good for?” “Could it be used by me in the school?” “Have you seen tools for doing teacher observations or things like that?”
So this afternoon I did some preliminary snooping to see what kinds of observational tools are available in app form. There is a company, eCove, that makes educational observation software.
The four editions include:
- Administrative (look for Blooms, responses to negative behaviors, teacher wait time, and more)
- SpecialEd Edition (look for aggression, peer interaction, time on task, and more)
- ESL Edition (look for vocabulary markers, questioning, learning modality, and more)
- General Edition (look for Blooms, tine on task, questioning, and more)
So far, these are iPhone apps, but work on the iPad. Of course an iPad user could use a GoogleDoc to create a similar checklist. These four free apps look like a great way to start with a more novice administrator though.
On the paid front, I’ve only come up with one choice so far – “GradePad“. At $2.99 I haven’t downloaded it yet, but it looks promising as it lets you look for teamwork – might be a plus for teachers who want to observe and document project based learning environments.