Tracking Learning Skills on a SmartPhone

This post explains how an Excel spreadsheet can be used to track learning skills on a SmartPhone, and how the data on the spreadsheet can published in Word.

What is the goal of this project?

  • To make the tracking of student learning skills intuitive, timely, and relevant.
  • To provide teachers with a way of tracking and using data on SmartPhones without relying on data plans or wireless connections.
  • To provide a free, open-source approach to tracking that can be improved and streamlined by other teachers. Feel free to edit the files for your own classroom.

What do I need to do this?

  • A spreadsheet for tracking learning skills for mobile
  • A Word doc for Student Logs Student Logs
  • As much as I would like to include the Progress Report shown in the video, I am not its creator. Still, if your board does anything similar, it can be easily adapted to work with this approach.
  •  Important: if you wish to use the Student Logs doc, it must be in the same folder as the spreadsheet.

Who is this for?

  • While the spreadsheet could easily be adapted for users who have a wireless connection to Google Docs, Live365, or similar “clouds”, this process has been designed for teachers who do not have a wireless connection in the classroom.
  • The spreadsheet is optimized for Ontario teachers. Still, the learning skills and other categories can easily be edited by teachers outside Ontario.

What can a teacher do with this?

  • input learning skills (including things like homework completion) on a smartphone at the moment of observation
  • input an observation of student behaviour (such as a short note about a student collaboration) and input the date of the observation
  • since the spreadsheet tallies the number of E’s,G’s,S’s, and N’s, the task of assigning the final learning skill values for Report Cards and Progress Reports is  much easier.
  • since Excel data can be sent to Word via a mail merge, teachers can combine this spreadsheet with an electronic version of their board’s Progress Report,  simplifying the reporting process. (this will be included in the upcoming video tutorial).
  • similarly, a mail merge can be used to publish the student logs (including dates of observations) with a few simple clicks.
  • finally, this package will make storage of information easier by taking advantage of  two key aspects of smartphones: computing and USB-style storage.  This means that by simply connecting a phone to a PC, a teacher will be able to edit/publish on the PC.

Other Features

  • Cutting and Pasting student names from a PDF or similar doc will populate the entire spreadsheet
  • the “Name” column is frozen, meaning that the names of students remain visible as teachers move through worksheets

What apps are needed?

  • You need an app that can run Excel and, optionally, Word. The spreadsheet does not use any macros, so this should make choosing an app more straightforward. (I am using ThinkFree Office on an Android. While I like the app, the main reason I chose it is because it came with my phone.  )
  • This spreadsheet can easily be adapted to formats that aren’t Microsoft dependent.
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