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Archive for July, 2013

BehaviorLENS

BehaviorLENS appBehaviorLENS is an iOS app for school psychologists, social workers, behavior specialists, teacher consultants, etc., really anyone who observes behavior.  I took the leap and purchased BehaviorLENS ($29.99) to see if any of the cons I noted with SchoolPsychTools were addressed in this app.  The quick response is…some but not all which is pretty typical because I doubt we’ll ever have the perfect solution.  My review includes mostly information about the interval recording, frequency count, and duration options and not the ABC observation because I have yet to use it. So even though I don’t discuss does not mean that I don’t like or that it is great and no areas to improve upon, just a lack of information to share.

Strengths

  • One feature I really like in BehaviorLENS is the ability to note behaviors as they happen and have a time stamp added to note.  While this doesn’t lead to a structured observation it does allow you to add notes about other behaviors, classroom events and such while completing a structured observation such as an interval recording method.  This also allows you to see how some things unfold during the observation.
  • The pre-loaded lists of behaviors is outstanding, I can’t complain at all about how much is already included which is less work to set up. Also, the pre-sets of certain behaviors being “not engaged or “engaged” and “not disruptive” and “disruptive” are helpful as well.
  • The ability to combine reports is great although there is one trick I figured out.  You must run a report for a single observation and then run a second report where you can choose all of the observation sessions available. If you don’t first run one report, the option to add other observation sessions is not available.  Weird, but a pretty easy work around.
  • Reports are broken down in multiple ways. For example a report provides the percentage of intervals on-task versus off-task but then also another report of the percentage of intervals of all the on-task behaviors (ex. listening to discussion, interacting with teacher, transitioning, seatwork, etc.)

Graph 1Graph 2

  • Reports are easy to email to myself to include in my psychoeducational reports. I usually end up copying just the graphs from the BehaviorLENS report and adding them to my own reports, not using the whole report.
  • Password protected. Always good.
  • While their support on their website isn’t stellar when I sent an email asking about running multiple observation reports they did get back to me and were helpful.  It is always nice to have helpful support personnel.
  • Good video tutorials on their website.

Weaknesses – Reports

  • My biggest disappointment overall is when you create a report Duration Chart rom duration observation the total time for each behavior is not provided.  A graph with some approximation is provided but this lack of information forced me to write in my report, “on-task approximately 15 minutes”.  Not ok.
  • Surprisingly, even though I’m very happy to be able to add notes while the observation is in progress with time stamps, the time displayed is only the hour and minutes, not seconds.  This makes it difficult when I’m going back in my notes to remember if two notes happened 5 seconds apart or 59 seconds apart, if the notes happen to take place at 2:15.01 and the next at 2:15.59, currently both are noted as 2:15.
  • When you run the Duration observation report you’re only provided with duration data, not frequency data even though the instances of behaviors is actually counted in the app. Seems weird and an easy fix to add the instances to the report.

Weaknesses – Functionality

  • As I stated above, one of the strengths is the amount of pre-loaded behaviors to choose from. The down side to this is that there are so many to choose from. A “favorites” list or a list of focus behaviors for that particular student might be helpful.
  • Within the Duration observation section, it is great that you can choose 1-4 behaviors to focus on during the observation but I’m so surprised that the GREAT behavior lists from the interval recording method isn’t included so instead you write your own.  Pros and cons to this.
  • The recording button within the Duration observation method doesn’t change much and makes it hard to quickly determine if you’re recording or not.  I’ve had mini heart attacks when I look and think that I haven’t been recording a behavior when I have been.
  • A requirement to choose the activity at the start of the observation would be helpful because sometimes I forget to “change the activity” at the start of the observation.

Overall, BehaviorLENS is a good observation tool.  What I’m most excited about is the ability to add notes while I’m observing and not having to switch between an observation app and note taking app to make notes during the observation.

Any pros or cons that you’ve found when using BehaviorLENS?

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KustomNote a.k.a Awesome

You might be thinking that my spelling has gone to pot while I’ve been on vacation, right? Custom is spelled with a ‘c’ not a ‘k’! You may have noticed that many of the Web2.0 tools have “unique” spellings and KustomNote is no different. So what does this have to do with school psychology or education? Well, following several days of training at the end of the school year about the 7 Habits of Effective People and The Leader In Me I’ve been focusing on some “big rocks” in my life and while sharing tech resources is very important to me it hasn’t been my highest priority. Although as I’ve been learning and practicing the 7 Habits in my own life I’ve found a great tool which not only helps me with my “big rocks” but also will be helpful at the beginning of the school year!

As I shared before, I LOVE Evernote but I’ve often wished it had note templates, especially for meetings that have similar formats such as problem-solving/IST/student study team meetings and while you can set up a notebook of “template” notes, you then have to copy the note and such. It just isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be until I found KustomNote. I’ve been using Kustomnote to complete my weekly compass and I see lots of potential for uses during my school psych work day also. For example, one of my building uses a student profile form with strengths, weakness, current interventions and recommendations to guide our team meetings. Previously I had to type those headings out in Evernote every time we had a team meeting . Now, I have a student profile template and can fill in the fields as we go through the meeting. When I’m finished taking notes, my KustomNote is automatically saved into my Evernote notebook for easy future references.

Here is what my Student Profile note looks like while being created through the KustomNote app

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So here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Kustomnote
Strengths:

  • Great integration with Evernote
  • Easy interface to create your own templates
  • Database of templates shared by other for you to use and modify for your own needs (working smarter not harder)
  • Colors and note backgrounds are a welcome change for Evernote’s standard theme

Weakness:

  • Have to create the note either in the KustomNote app or through their website OR modify one of the other notes you’ve already created with KustomNote but that’s the same thing as having a “template” notebook in Evernote. A welcome change would be to be able to create a new note within Evernote just pulling in your KustomNote template
  • Limited formatting of the layout of your custom note. You’re only able to have one column in your note so you’re unable to have for example, a 4 quadrant note and have things side by side.
  • When editing an already created KustomNote that is now in Evernote, sometimes the formatting gets messed up and doesn’t follow the style of formatting of the original note. I often edit a note more than once so I need it to easily keep the same formatting and not get all jumbled up when I edit it multiple times.

All in all, while KustomNote has some weaknesses, it has enough benefits to me to keep using it for the foreseeable future or at least until I learn about a better solution.  

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