Learning to make and achieve goals is one of the key skills for students to learn before they graduate, but it’s also one of the most challenging to teach and to learn. Keeping track of large assignments, breaking down goals into manageable steps, and working systematically to accomplish something, are all essential skills to learn in order to be successful as life becomes increasingly more complex.
Beginning this instruction early, and guiding students toward resources that will help them learn this skill in a hands-on way, will help goal setting and goal achievement become a successful part of every student’s life. Take at look at these 8 apps for goal tracking.
Goal For It
This goal tracking website allows users to input goals and break them into action steps, with a tracking system that can be completely individualized for the type of goal and the user. The app also offers multiple types of charts (such as chore charts and behavior charts) to help users visualize and track their progress. This app would be very useful for older students who want to create their own goal-setting progress reports. The app is free, so that makes it possible for students and schools to access.
Joe’s Goals is an online app that would be especially appropriate for younger grades who are just beginning to track their goals. Very simple and sharable, this app allows users to create positive and negative goals (i.e. things to do and things to avoid) and track them via checkmarks on a calendar. The app also allows users to enter brief notes into a “logbook” to further chronicle their progress. Because of its very simple design and easy to understand format, Joe’s Goals would help entire classes to track goals, as well as individual students who want to chart their own academic or personal achievements.
These two apps offer similar features, focused on providing a multipronged approach to goal setting and record keeping. Both Lifetick and Goals on Track focus on teaching users about how to create SMART goals (the characteristics of achievable goals) and how to break them down into steps. Lifetick also discusses whether or not the goals fit into what they term “core values,” an attempt to create balance for the users.
Each of these programs offer ways to track goals and steps, along with other features. Goals on Track is slightly more developed, with a time tracker, habit tracker, journal, and various charts and reports that can be used to visualize progress, but both are fairly comprehensive. These would likely be helpful to teachers who are looking for ways to teach goal setting (perhaps through modeling and integrating the information) or a method to track class or personal goals, but their high cost could make it difficult for individual students to utilize.
Toodledo and Checkmark are both to-do list apps that focus less on explaining how to make and keep goals and more on identifing the tasks that need to be done each day in an easy-to-use format. Toodledo offers the option of merging the tasks from multiple task managers into this app, which might be nice for perpetual listmakers or people who are responsible for keeping track of many different organizations and activities—namely, any teacher with a family! Toodledo also offers users the option of sorting and organizing the to-do list tasks using folders and tags and collaborating with other users on shared tasks. In short, this app would integrate very well into a school environment, allowing teachers to keep track of personal and professional tasks (especially those team teaching or committee tasks that can fall through the cracks) in one place. Bonus? You can swipe to “cross off” your achieved tasks, so you never lose that satisfying feeling.
Checkmark offers many of the same features, but focuses only on short-term goals. Checkmark’s philosophy is that what is important is what you achieve today, not what you did yesterday or what you plan to do tomorrow, and how that helps you ultimately achieve your long-term goals. It’s a carpe diem argument, and it works. The app asks that users input, each day, what tasks need to be accomplished and Checkmark reminds the user throughout the day and keeps track of success rates. This app would be good for students who have already learned about goals and their importance but need an easy-to-use app to show the significance of daily contribution to those goals.
These two apps are very different, but both focus on motivating users to keep good habits/behaviors going on by tracking the “streaks” of consistent effort. Habit List is an app that does more than just track these habits; it can sort habits into certain types of schedules (i.e. doing a task on specific days or in intervals, like every 2-3 days) and track your progress using multiple types of visuals. Reminders and app badges show you how many tasks you have left to perform and users can order those tasks based on importance. This app will likely be most effective for older students or teachers who are looking for some external motivation to keep healthy and productive habits going until they are a habit.
Don’t Break the Chain is based on Jerry Seinfeld’s strategy for success with his goals. Incredibly simple, this website app consists only of a calendar view and a red x that appears on each day that a chosen activity is performed. The idea centers on the idea that seeing a long stretch of red “x”’s will motivate users to continue the activity, so that remain focused on not breaking the “chain.” Users can add this app to iGoogle for easy tracking. This app would be very good for younger grades, who can easily understand the visual associated with the goal, and could be used to track a whole class goal easily.