Module 1: Empowering Students to Set and Achieve Learning Goals for Improved Outcomes

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) revamped and rereleased the student standards for technology in 2016. Throughout this quarter in my M.Ed. program will be reflecting on the 2016 standards, considering one standard at a time, carefully reviewing that particular standard and asking a question to guide our investigation in order to apply the learning in our current or future classrooms. For our first module we are investigating standard 1, the empowered learner. The standard says, “students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.” (ISTE, 2016) Within that standard under 1a the ISTE student standards mention how students could incorporate technology in order to achieve learning goals and “reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.” That led me to ask, how can students in middle elementary grades move from passive to active users of technology in order to track and evaluate their learning over the course of a week, month or school year? The question of how students can track and evaluate their learning is one that I have been struggling with for some time. I have long hoped for some technology tool that would allow students to track their learning and reflect on that learning all at once leading to them setting (and achieving) powerful learning goals. Much of our reading last quarter brought me back to this same idea because of the focus on metacognition and the role it can play in learning. There seemed to be a clear connection between goal setting and metacognition. You need metacognition to set meaningful goals. I thought that naturally technology would help to easily allow that goal setting to happen. However I also want to be sure that I’m not simply using technology for the novelty, it should be used in a powerful and transformational way, such that it empowers the learner and improves learning outcomes, exactly as it is written in the standard. (2016)

In my search for a technology tool to help with student goal setting I found a collection of 8 apps for goal tracking for teachers and students on the blog Avatargeneration. The apps that were on this website all seemed to be best suited for teachers themselves, or for teachers to use to monitor an entire class. Instead of allowing a class to share access among students allowing each student to set individual goals. Additionally most of the apps would require accounts to be created which is not always feasible in an elementary classroom. The app that was most appealing to me was Toodledo, however it still requires individual users to sign up using an email address. That would require me to get approval from my school district to use the app and would add another layer of difficulty for intermediate elementary age students to have to log in and then try to share goals with the teacher. So ultimately my resource seemed to be one that might benefit a teacher in goal setting or tracking a task or tasks, but I don’t think it would fit the need I envisioned for helping my students to set goals based on ISTE standard 1a. I’m not sure if the ideal app or web tool I’m looking for doesn’t exist or if I just don’t know where to find it. I also don’t know if there are no published academic articles that track goal setting through technology or if I simply could not find them. 

Ultimately because of how my district approves or denies the use of technology based on the privacy policy and a review of terms and conditions, it seems smart to look to see if any approved resources could already work to aid in student goal setting, tracking and reflecting on their goals. I think setting up a password protected blog, using an already approved blog resource, where they can track progress, or creating a form using student G Suite accounts, for them to fill out and submit every week, month, unit and at the end of a school year might be a way to help students use technology to reflect on the learning process. Another consideration is I want to be careful to encourage mindful goal setting instead of compliance without question. As Maurice Elias points out “the pressures of education today seem to be tilting the balance toward order and compliance, and this can have harmful long-term effects on both children and society.” (Elias, 2016). I have to be willing to dedicate sufficient time to goal setting with my students, as well as give them the time to use technology in class to be able to track and evaluate their learning often. It may take time to guide students toward autonomy in goal setting, but I think that the positive effect will be worth the effort. After this module I’m left with some new ideas to look in to for helping students to use technology to help students “achieve and demonstrate competency in their learning goals” but I’m left looking for a tool that is well designed to do that within a classroom setting. (ISTE, 2016) At the very least I have some ideas for moving forward so that my intermediate elementary students can begin to develop the necessary metacognition related to goal setting and evaluation of effort and learning that will serve them in school and life. 


8 Apps for goal tracking for teachers and students [blog post]. (2014, August 8). Retrieved from

2016 ISTE Standards for Students, (2016). ISTE International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from

Elias, M. J. (2016, February 1). Student autonomy, compliance and intrinsic motivation [blog post]. Retrieved from

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