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Teacher Observation App Goes Native on iPad

An educational technology company that specializes in creating products for improving educator practices has launched a version of its teacher observation application for the Apple iPad. Teachscape's Reflect Live app lets observers collect classroom evidence and works even when there's no Wi-Fi connection available in the room. The non-iPad version of the product works on a laptop or another type of tablet device.

According to the company, the app has a simple interface for recording details during an observation. When the device has access to Wi-Fi, the user can upload that data to the Teachscape Reflect Live system to align against an instructional framework for scoring and review with the observed teacher. The program has Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching pre-loaded; however, the software works with any instructional rubric and pre- and post-observation forms.

The iPad edition can work with the dictation feature included in the new iPad, introduced by Apple earlier this month. This function allows principals or others to dictate evidence into an observation without using the keyboard.

Performing a teacher observation with Reflect Live follows a five-part process. First, the user schedules the observation, and the teacher to be observed fills out a pre- and post-observation form and attaches lesson artifacts. Second, the observer takes notes and associates the evidence collected with components in the framework. Third, the observer aligns specific teaching practices with the chosen rubric and chooses a performance level. Fourth, the two participants review the teacher's self-review and the observer's feedback side by side, discuss next steps, and document recommendations. Fifth, participants review teacher performance over time to identify trends and potential professional development needs.

"With the increased demand for classroom observations and teacher evaluations, observers need a simple tool that supports efficient observations," said Jonathan Stowe, chief operating officer of Teachscape. "This app exploits the power of the iPad by allowing for its use in environments where connectivity is not always available."

The iPad version of the app is free in the iTunes store. However, the app requires a paid version of Teachscape Reflect Live for full functionality.

Among the company's customers are Escambia County School District in Pensacola, FL and La Joya Independent School District in Texas, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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