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Panorama Education Takes Aim at K-12 Student Behavior Issues

The Boston-based ed-tech company recently launched its Positive Behavior tool to address growing challenges with K-12 students, some of whose stresses and behaviors have worsened over the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A new mobile tool from Panorama Education allows teachers to track student behavior and feedback, potentially informing how they respond to misbehavior.
The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the education space on its head, heralding both a seismic shift toward technology use and a crisis of social and emotional well-being among students, coinciding with rampant behavior issues in school. Capitalizing on the former in response to the latter, a Boston-based ed-tech company has launched an online tool that strives to bring out positive behavior in students.

Panorama Education, which focuses on tracking and improving academic success and social-emotional development, this week launched "Panorama for Positive Behavior" for K-12 district leaders and educators. The tool was based on research that revealed the efficacy of behavior-specific praise and other positive behavior supports, according to a news release from Panorama. It encourages teachers to set positive behavior goals, log behavior-specific praise and behavior incidents, and monitor students' improvement over time, the release said.

The tool, which is available for educators and district leaders in a mobile app as well as a desktop version, is comprised of three components: Behavior Boost, Behavior Logging and Behavior Analytics. Boost is a mobile app, specifically designed for teachers to promote positive behaviors in classrooms through the use of tracking and responding to specific behaviors.

“In particular, this is a tool to help teachers develop their use of behavior-specific praise,” Panorama's Group Product Manager Ali Bartos told Government Technology.

The logging component allows educators to record notable behaviors of students. The analytics component is used on a desktop at the district, school and teacher level, bringing together data from the Boost app and logging component on a dashboard to help teachers track what outcomes result from behavior-specific praise, Bartos said. The three components work cyclically, beginning with the teachers developing positive praise, followed by logging, and then diving into the analytics. From there, the educators map out strategies to reach students who need it and look into potential resources for support. Panorama also offers insights into actionable behavior and trends.

Bartos said a significant number of students faced behavioral and well-being challenges before the pandemic. Now more than ever, she said, in the wake of the pandemic, students are facing mental health and behavioral challenges, not only due to the disruption of virtual lessons but due to other traumas within their lives and communities. That inspired Panorama to create the Positive Behavior tool, which includes district-, school- and administration-level professional development training prior to implementation, along with support to help staff with day-to-day usage and effective rollout.

“We've understood that students who do not receive the behavioral and mental health support that they need are much higher risk for being at risk of behavioral disorder,” Bartos said, adding that studies have shown those at-risk students often do not receive adequate support. “For example, they usually receive fewer responses in classes, higher levels of negative feedback and lower levels of praise than their peers."

The effect of this lack of support is a long-lasting impact on a student's development in the classroom, leaving educators in more of a reactive cycle, responding to incidents after they have already happened.

“Ultimately it is negatively impacting students' learning opportunities and experiences in schools,” Bartos said. “Panorama learned a lot about this space, and with Positive Behavior, we're looking to elevate educator practices to foster students’ experience and address them as well.”

This is the fourth product release by Panorama Education since its inception in 2012. Prior to Positive Behavior, Panorama Education, which has clients in roughly 1,500 school districts throughout all 50 U.S. states, had released Student Success, Student and Adult Social-Emotional Learning, and Surveys. The goal of its latest tool, Bartos said, is to ultimately implement more forward-thinking behavior strategies in classrooms.

“This is really our first step in solving some of these key behavior challenges, to be able to both test and foster youth education practices that we know through evidence and research are proven to be effective in improving positive student behavior and climate,” she said.
Giovanni Albanese Jr. is a staff writer for the Center for Digital Education. He has covered business, politics, breaking news and professional soccer over his more than 15-year reporting career. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Salem State University in Massachusetts.