Schools in the Fresno Unified School District are now using Strides, an app that tracks students’ progress, Wired reports.
Strides, an app solution based off of data-tracking technology like FitBit, is currently an experiment in the Fresno school system. According to Wired, schools are utilizing tracked data as a catalyst for decision-making; giving students a tracking solution like this – which they can use to track their progress in school – is “the next frontier” in classroom learning. “By letting students see trends in their grades and attendance and making that data fun to track, administrators hope students can be nudged toward behaviors that are good for them academically,” Wired reports.
Through Strides, students are able to gain points or level up for things they do at school, including showing up for class, checking into the school portal, participating in after-school activities, and more. The more students participate in these events, the more points they earn; students also never lose points, even if they miss a day of school or can’t attend an afterschool activity due to a prior commitment. Students can also use Strides to see how they rank among their classmates, and show them what they need to do to level up (students have to ask each other for permission to view their profiles). The goal, Wired says, is to encourage students to keep up the good work at school through positive reinforcement.
What this means for decision makers:
Solutions like Strides give education decision makers, and end users (including teachers) the opportunity to better engage with their students, and encourage them to be more active in the classroom. Wired says that students in the Fresno school district enjoy using the app, and like to be rewarded for behaviors they’re already doing, such as checking into the school portal. Solutions like Stride can also help end users, like instructors, evaluate the progress of students who fall in the “murky middle,” since high achieving students and low achieving students typically receive the most attention, Wired says.
While Wired reports that Fresno students who have logged into Strides at least twice a week scored higher GPAs, there was some concern that this might make lower-ranked students lose motivation to try harder at school; plus, kids who cannot participate in other activities to earn points, such as extracurricular activities, might feel pressure to make up what they missed for the points, even though they do not need to. As a result, technology decision makers should make sure both their needs and the students’ needs are met when investing in this type of solution, and that these needs can be maintained consistently.