In the classroom, educators gather a lot of data on students. Such data helps paint a quantitative picture of a students' development, educational progress, and even social well-being. This data can help to make decisions at a state, district, school, or classroom level. But, more importantly, such information provides great guidance for designing the most effective instruction for that student. It aids in the understanding of what is working well, what could be done better, and how a student is progressing toward his educational goals.
To this end, teachers across the country have implemented data notebooks into their classrooms to provide students with a dedicated space for setting goals, monitoring progress, and reflecting on performance. Common notebook pages include mission statements, behavioral and academic goal setting, histograms, and plus/deltas for reflecting on past performance. While some of this might seem redundant, since teachers too keep a wealth of student data, research has shown significant differences in academic motivation between students who set and track their own goals versus students who are assigned goals by their teacher. Also, having students engage in such activities provides an excellent opportunity to model self-regulatory behaviors--behaviors associated with lifelong learning skills.
To achieve these benefits, we developed Data Notebook as a digital solution for paper-pencil notebooks. Designed to support students’ self-regulation, Data Notebook provides tools for students to set personal goals, monitor their own learning, reflect on previous work, and communicate their progress to teachers and parents using real data. Within the notebook, students can use built-in templates to create mission statements, set goals, generate checklists, reflect using plus/deltas, create and practice spelling lists, and plot histograms. Data Notebook also includes a blank-page and scratch-paper template that enables students to load pictures, drawings, and more into their notebook. Students can also add sections to the notebook in order to set, monitor, and reflect on individual goals by subject.
"Keeping track of their own data gives them ownership. I don't have a single student who doesn't want to improve each time we put in new data."
—5th grade teacher
Ready to get started? Here are a few integration strategies:
- Integrate into daily instruction. We produce data every day; be sure to capture that.
- Encourage students to set both short-term and long-term goals.
- Use the share function to create a notebook skeleton for younger students.
- Strive for cross-disciplinary use. Take advantage of the features that allow students to organize their notebooks by subject.
- Collaboratively create classroom-level data to model best practices.
- Do not forget about time for reflection.
- Use as a centerpiece for parent-teacher conferences (or student-led parent conferences!).