Chronicle – A Transformative Multi-Media Assessment Tool for Teachers

by Andrew Raupp on September 5, 2013

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Introducing a Powerful Teaching Aide for the iPad Enabled Teacher

Recently released in the educational market is a new iPad app, Chronicle, designed to enable teachers to easily implement best practice methodologies in the classroom.  Chronicle uses all the features of the iOS platform to help teachers efficiently capture valuable student data and use it to inform instruction and chronicle student growth.

Why Chronicle?
There are a lot of apps out in the market that help teachers to organize their notes.  There’s nothing so special about that.   There are also apps in the market that allow users to take pictures, audio, and video.  Big deal.  Absent from the market, however, is a comprehensive app that combines all of these features designed specifically for the life of an educator – an educator who fully understands the dynamic nature of a classroom and the pressing needs of their students, as well as the demands placed on them by parents and administrators.

This is where Chronicle comes in.  Chronicle was designed by a husband and wife teaching duo who not only can appreciate the pressures on a teacher, but who realized the amazing possibilities of providing teachers with an easy way to quickly capture and share student progress via text, photo, audio and video capabilities. Any of these notes can be applied to an individual student or a group of students. A teacher from Oregon who stumbled upon the app could also see the benefit, stating:

“I am looking forward to using this app with my students and sharing data with parents at conferences. With the photo, video, audio it can make the experience so much more of “show not tell” which is exactly what we expect of the students.”

Another teacher from Ontario expresses pleasure with its multimedia capabilities:

“I love that you can incorporate pictures/audio/video… Genius. I was looking for that feature in an app I used last year!”

Whether it’s taking pictures of student work, recording a student’s reading fluency, or videoing a group’s presentation, Chronicle’s user-friendly interface makes acquiring these forms of student data a snap.  And the means by which Chronicle provides for the viewing, playback, and sharing of this authentic data, providing parent and student feedback becomes more efficient and effective, ultimately helping to guide instructional next steps, set student goals, and boost student achievement.

Furthermore, any text, photo, audio, or video note can be designated as an artifact.  An artifact is any note that the teacher would like to recognize as a benchmark achievement, milestone, or some other indicator of student progress.  In light of many of today’s new teacher evaluation models, this feature equips teachers with a painless method of demonstrating student growth.  Gone are the days of running to the copy machine and organizing hard copies in student folders to be stored in a file cabinet, as Chronicle automatically stores the artifacts in chronological order and makes them accessible with just the tap of a button.

The Key Word:  Inform
A teacher can accumulate piles of student data, but it becomes meaningless if it doesn’t inform instruction in some capacity – who to meet with, what material to use, what skills to teach.  Woven into the design of Chronicle’s features is the underlying purpose of providing teachers with an easy way of both obtaining student data and using it to inform instruction.  Among these features are the multiple categorization options teacher are given.  Which student(s) do I need to touch base with?  Not a problem.  With one tap the teacher can categorize students by the date of their last note, with the highest-need students being placed on top.  Teachers even have a customization option of color coding these dates to bring greater awareness to their students’ needs.   No more students slipping through the cracks.  Which of my students are in danger of not passing the standardized test?  Simple to find.  Teachers have the ability to input a score, perhaps how the student tested on the standardized test coming into their grade, or if a standardized test doesn’t apply, another assessment-based measure could be inputted.  Nonetheless, the teacher can make instructional decisions based off of this data.  Chronicle provides multiple other ways to categorize student data, such as by name, by level, by type of note, and by group, all of which can inform instructional materials, inform instructional groups, and inform instructional steps.

Inform: Stop, Yield, Go
In the spirit of informing instruction, Chronicle also provides a unique Traffic Light design, which allows teachers to quickly assess understanding, achievement, or progress by tapping the corresponding traffic light signal next to each student, assigning the student the color red, yellow, or green. Teachers then have the ability to attach an assessment tag, such as a learning standard or a learning/social behavior.  Teachers can then tap on that stored assessment tag and view the students categorized by their assigned colors.  Let’s say the objective of the day’s lesson is to identify theme and its supporting details, and the teacher observes that three students completely misunderstand the concept.  Those students would then be assigned a red color, and assuming all other students understood the lesson, they’d receive a green color (students with partial understanding would receive a yellow color).  After attaching the assessment tag (identifying theme and its supporting details), the teacher can always tap back into it to view and work with the three students who need some type of remediation or reinforcement.  The teacher can now be proactive in noting and addressing students’ needs prior to a summative assessment, such as a test or a quiz.

Chronicle iPad app image

This feature can serve many other purposes as well, such as tracking report card descriptors or IEP goals for special education students, or even providing an effective behavior management tool.  Taking a look at the latter, perhaps an elementary student is having difficulty with respecting the rights, feelings, and property of others.  Worked into a behavior modification plan could be the goal of an increased length of time being able to maintain a green light.  Numerous use cases are found within the Traffic Light design.

Those Things Called Standards
The Common Core Standards are impacting many in the field of education.  Chronicle incorporates these K-12 standards out of the box.  If a teacher is in a state in which these standards apply, Chronicle allows for their easy activation, making them a cinch to incorporate into their daily teaching routine.

Chronicle, however, was intentionally designed to support educational standards in any school, district, or state, not only those in which the Common Core Standards apply.  Powerhouse Education welcomes inquires to discuss how local standards can be incorporated.

More Than Just Notes
Chronicle offers more than just the ability to take qualitative notes.  A large part of teaching is acquiring quantitative data, which is why Chronicle equips teachers with another powerful tool, the Gradebook. Transcending the limitations of a traditional gradebook, Chronicle’s gradebook offers a number of rich, informative features, including easily accessible comments, color-coded tracking of student progress, and quick calculation of class average, among others.

Chronicle’s combination of capturing both qualitative and quantitative data truly helps teachers capture the essence of a student.

Wrapping It Up
Chronicle offers many rich features, all of which empower teachers to instruct, manage, and communicate more efficiently and more effectively in the classroom.  Other useful features – such as the ability to import data from a previous year’s teacher or the ability to save and restore student data via Dropbox or iCloud – are also found within its practical design.

Although there is limited functionality and data capability in its Lite Version, the user can try it out and get a good idea of how the full-version, priced at $19.99 on iTunes, works.

Additionally, a YouTube link on the Powerhouse Education website can be utilized to watch comprehensive tutorials on how Chronicle works and what the full-version provides.

Check it out at www.powerhouseed.com

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
iPad Educator Professional Development – The Three R’s
Teaching and Learning with the iPad – a 3 Year Review
15 Favorite iPad Apps As Selected By Teachers

About 

Powerhouse Education was founded by husband and wife teachers, Andy and Ellen Raupp. With each having approximately ten years of teaching experience, Andy and Ellen are board certified teachers working in a nationally top-ranked school district in New Jersey.

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