Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Goalbook App

Today’s Ed Tech review is for teachers –specifically special education teachers. It also happens to be one of our favorite resources. Goalbook is one of the few educational technologies that was created by a coder - one who also spent time as an educational specialist for students with disabilities in East Palo Alto, California. So Goalbook gets both the educational and the technology side of Ed Tech, which makes for the design of a very valuable and informed tool. Many teachers would agree that actual classroom teaching is the great aspect of the job, but the paperwork and IEP planning can be a bit tricky sometimes and at times a lot less rewarding, especially when you are trying to coordinate the schedules and insights of multiple people on your multidisciplinary team, and track results from the multiple services a student receives, all the while adhering to FERPA. This is where Goalbook can assist.

The Goalbook Toolkit really takes the mystery out of IEP writing and planning by helping educational professionals collaborate and communicate to devise meaningful, achievable goals for their students, as well providing amazing tools to track each student’s progress. Their entire system is aligned beautifully with all Common Core and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) standards, while also offering instructional ideas to achieve set goals. As a learning specialist, what really set Goalbook apart was how closely their team collaborated with the people at CAST to ensure that they infused multiple levels of support so that each accommodation and modification is truly differentiated and UDL-aligned. Beyond their framework, they also offer professional development and showcase the research that backs their approaches and model on their website.

Over the years CAST has shown that UDL isn’t just the best practice for diverse learners but, rather, that differentiation has merit for all learners. With this in mind,  Goalbook offers a new framework, Goalbook Pathways, for tailoring school-wide curriculum with the goal of helping schools provide and “design engaging, rigorous instruction for all students.” Again, just like with the Goalbook Toolkit, each instructional strategy is aligned with the Common Core and principles of UDL, as well as broken down into multiple levels of rigor. Sample formative assessment measures and professional development opportunities are also included with the model.

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