nextTRACK Value Proposition

Core purpose

Providing students with formatively inspired, individually tailored teaching, support, guidance, and feedback requires a very detailed understanding and great insight into the strength and weaknesses of students, their achievements, their attitudes and the ongoing social interactions. It requires a careful monitoring of the changes and the progress over time – for each individual student. This is a remarkable challenge for a teacher.

nextTRACK supports classroom-learning in two ways: On the one hand it allows a device-independent and very simple tracking of all sorts of events, activities and competence developments. As an example, having a tablet computer on a desk, a teacher can track important events right on time with a simple touch of the finger tip. Using nextTRACK is so easy, that students can use it as well. By documenting their own activities they unburden the teacher and, maybe even more important, take control over their own learning process – with all related positive pedagogical benefits (motivation, self-esteem, etc.).

On the other hand, nextTRACK provides modular features to analyse, work up, and present the gathered information. For example, a teacher can overlook the learning performance of the entire class and can immediately identify competence gaps or critical break-ins. A teacher can also look into the social relationships in a classroom and identify social roles. The system also automatically generates very detailed reports which can be used to communicate achievements or problems to the students or parents.

An epical feature is the Heuristics Engine that allows analysing certain data sets coming from external tools in terms of competency development. These analyses are based on a set of more or less complex rules and heuristics.

Finally, nextTRACK offers input and output interfaces to communicate with other tools a teacher wants to use, no matter if Moodle, Google Apps, an e-Portfolio, or the OLM platform.

nextTRACK comes either as “empty” system or with predefined sets of competencies and activities. There are various packages depending on age groups, curricula and competency standards.

Trends

  • Mobile computing has lowered the technology barrier in the classroom. Tablets are handy companions in daily classroom situations.
  • Learning analytics has been proved to be an important factor in improving learning outcomes.
  • 21st century skills are increasingly becoming part of the daily school curriculum. Taking over responsbility and control over ones own life (for a student this means school and its related learning activities) is a central concern.

Possible approaches to teaching and assessment

nextTRACK supports formative, evidence-based, lightweight assessment and feedback on the basis of the broad range of recorded data. The system is considering daily routines and constraints of the real classrooms and therefore is independent of technology, time or location. Assessment facilities include self- and peer assessment.

Environment

  • In the (technology-lean) classroom: Quick and effective tracking and recording of student’s activities, achievements, events, and learning. nextTRACK enables using lightweight and mobile devices such as tablet computers.
  • Outside of the classroom: nextTRACK can be accessed with any device at any time: During an excursion with the smart phone, in the teacher’s lobby with the laptop, or at home on a regular PC.

People and roles

  • Teachers: They collect information about activities, achievements and events and retrieve tailored analyses about their individual students or their entire class. Teachers can utilize the outcomes for their own planning and for communicating learning and teaching to students, parents and colleagues.
  • Students: Students can document their activities themselves. Visualisations about activities and outcomes forster reflection and motivate students for their future learning as well as for taking ownership of their own learning process.
  • Parents: By building on the evidence in form of a variety of recorded information teachers can communicate and negotiate achievements, assessments and appraisal.

Activities

nextTRACK provides predefined and well-elaborated content packages for certain curricula and competency standards. Examples for such packages are:

  • Math.4+IT.4+CEFR Primary School Curriculum for Austria
  • IT.8+CEFR (English as 2nd Language)

Resources

  • Any web-enabled device
  • nextTRACK comes with an authoring kit that enables an easy setup of people, classes, and learning goals
  • Optionally external tools such as e-Portfolios or learning / testing systems that provide an API

The ready-made software bundle for this NEXT-TELL package will be accessible here in Q3 2014.