A School Psychologist's resource for all things tech.

Posts tagged ‘observations’


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.


  • 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?


Psych Tools – An App made for School Psychs

I have been using Psych Tools regularly since I started using my iPad at school.   Despite the app being focused on support school psychologists, one of the reasons it tops my list and is the first one I want to share is the great support behind the app. After using the app for a while I submitted feedback to the app developer and we engaged in a dialogue about what I liked and didn’t like about the app. Many of my suggestions were ones they were working on but others were features they hadn’t yet thought about.  This back and forth is certainly the type of responsiveness I hope every app developer will have, but I know it isn’t reality. So because of their responsiveness, the app is one of my favorites.


Simply stated, it’s an app made for School Psychologists.  This fact alone makes this app better than others apps to support our day-to-day work.  Features include multiple observation methods (event recording, duration recording, interval recording, and ABC recording), observation reports, student list, evaluation time-line/to-do list, stopwatch, age calculator, and normal distribution chart.  The observation tools come pre-loaded with several standard behaviors but additional behaviors can easily be added.  If you have a standard template for completing observations you’re able to set-up your own observation templates.  Knowing what observation tool to use for your observation takes a little getting used to but after several observation sessions you’ll have no problem knowing how to setup the observation in the app to meet your observation needs.  A great feature for the app is the ability to create reports from single or multiple observations for an individual student.  While the reports are basic you are able to print (if you have the capability) or email the report to yourself to be inserted in to your report. As for the evaluation tracking and task lists, if you’re like me, you might not always remember to create your evaluation task list on the day the consent to evaluate is signed.  The app calculates the evaluation due date based on when the “Obtain Consent” item is completed but you are able to manually change the due date for the “Complete Evaluation” task.  There are task lists already created for evaluations and re-evaluations but you’re able to modify these lists to add additional items specific to the student or to all of your comprehensive evaluations and save your “regular” tasks to your own evaluation template. To-do lists are also available for Interventions.


The app is not individually password protected.  You can always password protect you’re entire iPad/iPhone but you can’t password protect this specific app.  The app is actually an iPhone app but you’re able to load and view it on an iPad however images get slightly distorted between the two platforms.  You also are not able to switch between portrait and landscape. The age calculator is great if you’re using it on the day you want to calculate from however if you want to calculate a student’s age several days after you completed the evaluation you’re not able to change your target day, it is set to the current date (see PAR toolkit for app that allows you to change the target date). While there are several observation options in order to add narrative information you must pause the observation and add a note.  An improvement suggestion has been made to split the screen in order to record narrative notes while still gathering duration or frequency behavior data.  I’d also like to see a feature where you can make a student inactive after they have left your building or cases when the student is doing so well you’re not long supporting the student. I have provided suggestions to resolve these “cons” to the app developers and they have been very receptive and indicated that many of my suggestions were already on their list of things to work on.  With app developers as responsive as they are, this app will only get better.

If you’ve been using Psych Tools, what do you like about it?  What features do you wish it had?  Are there creative ways you’ve found to use that app to overcome some the apps weaknesses?

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