Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chronicle - A one of a kind data tracking app for teachers


Purpose of App: Easy and thorough data tracking and gradebook for teachers

Strengths: Easy to use. Highly customizable. Data can be exported and shared. Ability to attach pictures, video, and sound clips to notes.

Weaknesses: No major weaknesses. Does take awhile to initially set up, but this is usual for all education data tracking.

Suggested Audience: Teachers, SLPs and anyone needing to track data for a variety of students

If you would like to purchase Chronicle ($19.99, iPad Only), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using our link:

A lite version is available to try for free before buying the full version.

There is a button to rate the app in iTunes, but it opens within the app.


This app has so many wonderful features that I will only be able to touch on them here or else this post could go on for a long time. I encourage you to check out Power House Education's YouTube channel. You will find a variety of videos about their apps, including step by step instructions for setting up the app for your students.

This app provides the opportunity to track data about students easily. When using this in class, I am able to input a date and an assessment tag. Then, I can quickly mark red, yellow, or green dots by each child's name to show their understanding. Every lesson has to have an assessment with it in my school's lesson plans, but as teachers know, we don't always give a paper and pencil test each day. We do a lot through informal assessments. This app would assist in keeping a record of those informal assessments and daily observations. Even if a teacher didn't have time to mark every student, he or she could mark those with red that really need more practice on the skill for planning reteaching and even center activities.

Another good part of this app is the conference notes. Whenever a teacher meets with a child or is tracking data on a specific student, information can be entered quickly and easily. Up to 5 different customizable notes can be added per conference. Pictures, videos, and sound clips can all be taken easily within the conference notes and saved with the note. This would allow a teacher to record a child reading and take notes on it. A project or presentation could be captured in pictures or on video.

Once information is entered, it can be shared. There is a share button at the bottom of most screens. Once that button is touched, a box pops up to pick the type of file to export into. Each file can be exported as a Text file, a Word document, or as a spreadsheet into either iCloud or Dropbox. This helps with communication to be able to export data and e-mail it straight to parents and even administrators. All information for a student can be exported and shared with another teacher that has Chronicle also. If a child is moving from one grade to the next between two teachers that use Chronicle, the student's data can be exported from one teacher's app, shared via Dropbox or iCloud, and then imported into the new teacher's app. This is a great way for a new teacher to see how a student has been doing.

There is also a Gradebook in Chronicle. A grading event category, an event, and a date can be typed in. Then, a score, comment, and a stoplight color can be chosen for each student. The app will provide the teacher with an average score for the assessment.

I will admit that I was a bit overwhelmed when I first started exploring this app. I was just not sure where to start, but I found out that the app is easy to use. The initial set up does take some time to do, but once that is completed, it is not too time-consuming for classroom use. 

I started by inputting my roster, which is very easy to do. The teacher can type in each student's information or a list can be imported from Dropbox. For each student, one or two e-mail addresses can be added and a picture can be assigned to the student's profile. All students can be entered at once into a roster or each class' roster can be uploaded individually. Having the option to upload each class would prove to be a wonderful feature for a teacher that teaches a variety of sections of different students. I found it easiest to input my students into the roster and then customize classes by selecting them from the roster.

The customization of Chronicle really impresses me. A teacher can customize the conference note fields for each class. Notes that a teacher would take about a student in reading would be very different than what is needed for Math. The information that I would want to keep may be different than what another teacher would want to keep, so I find this customization option very important. Common Core standards can be chosen to attach to a class, but if a teacher's state or country doesn't use Common Core -- no problem -- the Common Core setting can be turned on or off with 1 simple click. If turned on, the appropriate standards can be chosen easily. The last part of the customization page that I find helpful is the color highlighting system that can be turned on or off. When turned on, this system highlights a child in green, yellow, or red based on how long ago a conference note was taken for that child. The length of days can be chosen in settings. Too often, I get caught up in the day to day teaching and then realize I haven't taken hard data in awhile. This part of the app really helps to remind me to take data consistently.

Whenever I see apps that cost in the double digits, I become apprehensive of them, but this one is worth every penny. It truly helps a teacher with data in all the areas of daily and weekly tracking. I need to make it an integral part of my week to keep all data in. There is so much to it that it can be very overwhelming to work with at first. I did have to learn about some of the features through the videos on the developer's YouTube Channel, but I don't know of anything I would change on this app. Setting up any type of data tracking system for teachers is time consuming, and this app makes up for that by making the tracking process after initial set up so easy. I highly recommend this app to teachers, SLPs or anyone looking for a way to track data. 

Here is a quick peek at the app.

Heather S. believes this app and Evernote will be her data tracking heroes from now on. 

No comments:

Post a Comment