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The Pros and Cons of Behavior Tracking Education Technology

Classroom etiquette is one of the tenets of good classroom management. While helping to provide an optimal environment for educators, research shows that there is a positive correlation between those students who exhibit good classroom behavior and academic achievement. As with most fields today, education is undergoing rapid change with the emergence and implementation of new technology. One such education technology, behavior tracking, is currently dividing educators over the benefits of its implementation.

Behavior tracking programs allow teachers to track the classroom conduct of individual students and reward or punish it accordingly. Probably the most popular example is Class Dojo, but all behavior tracking education technology follows a similar formula: Students are awarded points for good behavior and these accumulated points are usually paired with some kind of extrinsic reward by the educator. Most of the behavior tracking programs send messages to students’ parents and some even offer language translation. These enticing features explain why some educators embrace behavior tracking education technology.

Pros of Behavior Tracking Education Technology

1. Cultivating Relationships with Parents

By allowing educators to easily inform parents of their students’ conduct, behavior tracking education technology facilitates a synergy between the class environment and the home environment, the two pillars of the learning process. Furthermore, some apps have translation capabilities, which enable educators to bridge the language gap in an instant.

2. Tracking Behavior in Real Time

Beyond awarding points and handing out rewards, the goal of these programs is long-term behavior modification. Educators can track students’ progress in real time on their tablets or phones and then identify which students need special attention.

3. Simplicity

The simplicity of behavior tracking education technology means that it can be used by anyone in the education field, regardless of technology expertise. This ensures that data is properly tracked even when educators are not in the classroom and don’t have access to an IT professional.

By embedding one of these behavior tracking programs into the digital classroom with the LiveTiles Mosaic navigation tool, educators can seamlessly integrate their points and rewards system with other aspects of the digital classroom like class notes, assignments and even video.

The screen shot of Box Hill Institute‘s intranet below provides a powerful example of what an engaging digital school platform can look like. By picking which educational tools to place in the digital classroom, educators provide a personalized learning experience for their students.

Box Hill TAFE intranet screen shot of the digital classroom
Box Hill TAFE intranet screen shot

But not all faculty feedback on behavior tracking education technology is good. There are a contingent of educators that have rejected these platforms on the basis that they can do more harm than good.

Cons of Behavior Tracking Education Technology

1. Behavior Shame

Some educators have taken issue with behavior tracking education technology because they feel it can shame students into low self-esteem. Because many of these platforms are based on a points and rewards system that is openly displayed and sent immediately to parents, students who have lower points may be negatively impacted. They could be scarred with a stigmatic label like “problem child,” or worse, blindly practice obedience to avoid shame without understanding the reasoning behind such behavior.

2. Valuing the Extrinsic Over the Intrinsic

Because children receive rewards when they accumulate points for good behavior, educators worry that this type of system provides the wrong motivation for students. This is based on the thinking that the reward is intrinsic in learning, and that extrinsic rewards could have a negative impact on a student’s work ethic.

Digital classroom tips
Hybrid learning infographic

Whether or not educators use behavior tracking education technology has a lot to do with the methods of implementation. Educators have their own ways of teaching and technology is merely a force that amplifies the human element of education. It is up to the educators, then, to decide whether behavior tracking education technology would hurt or help their students. Let us know: What do you think about behavior tracking education technology?

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