Launch Center Pro & DayOne Apps

Launch Center Pro & DayOne Apps

tl;dr: I’m using a Launch Center Pro script to add lesson observation notes to a Day One journal which can be sent by email straight away. All on iPhone or iPad, of course.
Giving rapid feedback after a Learning Walk, lesson observation or drop-in can be a challenge – especially if you’ve got to dash off to teach, do a duty or attend a meeting. It’s many years since I’ve done this using paper. For the last 5 years or so I had scans of documents on my iPad and simply used a stylus or Apple Pencil to annotate (then export as PDF and send to the teacher I’d observed). It’s always worked well and I could also save the PDFs in OneNote.
The downside was that the PDF generated was quite big and sometimes wouldn’t email unless I opened it on my Mac and reduced its size. Which obviously took up even more time and slowed down when teachers got their feedback.

Recently I’ve been playing with Launch Center Pro and automating tasks. The app, which works on iPhone and iPad, launches sequences of actions and allows apps to pass information between each other. It speeds up simple tasks. Launch Centre Pro works with hundreds of apps, including the journalling app, DayOne. DayOne is, essentially, a diary app. Two of its features are that it uses Markdown, which is a lightweight means of writing HTML (the code that creates web pages) and that it’s possible to send journal entries using email.

Launch Center Pro can be “scripted” to collect input which it can then send to DayOne. I’d produced a script for my drop-ins and used it frequently during the first term of this year. I’d included a number of pre-written comments I could select – but actually found this was limiting as the comments didn’t always reflect what I saw in classrooms. Our school is conducting a review of teaching and learning quite soon and we’re focusing on these areas when we observe lessons:

  • Differentiation
  • Stretch & Challenge
  • Behaviour Managenent
  • Pace & Engagement
  • Pupil Progress

Now we’re no longer grading lessons (hooray!) we are giving each of the areas a RAG rating (boo!). Also, the form we’re using gives feedback on strengths (www) and things to improve (ebi). I’m expected to make up to 3 observations in a 60 minute period. (I’ll probably also keep additional notes in OneNote and take a photo of anything I see that’s striking.)
So, the script I’ve written let’s me add all this information and then email it immediately to the teacher. I can then arrange a time for discussion with the teacher about what I observed.

Note: you must have Launch Center Pro and DayOne installed on your iOS device for this to work. The script itself is pretty straightforward and could be adapted in all sorts of ways.

Here’s the script:

dayone://post?entry=%20Review%20Week%202%0A%0A%0A%0A%0AThank%20you%20for%20letting%20me%20observe%20your%20lesson.%20Here%20is%20my%20feedback:%0A%0A%0A%0A%7C%7C%7C%0A%7C%3A—%7C%3A—%7C%0A%7CTeacher:%7C[prompt:Teacher]%7C%0A%7CLesson:%7C[list:Lesson|1|2|3|4|5]%7C%0A%7CYear:%20%7C[list:Year #|7|8|9|10|11|12|13]%7C%0A%7CTopic:%20%7C[prompt:Topic]%7C%0A%7CDifferentiation:%7C[list:Differentiation|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CStretch+Challenge:%7C[list:Stretch+Challenge|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CBehaviour:%7C[list:Behaviour|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CPace+Engagement:%7C[list:Pace+Engagement|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CProgress:%7C[list:Progress|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CMarking:%7C[list:Marking|Red |Amber |Green ]%7C%0A%7CWWW%7C[prompt:WWW]%7C%0A%7CEBI%7C[prompt:EBI]

To use it you need to:

  1. Open the Launch Center Pro app and click on the pencil icon in the top right corner.
  2. Click on a big +
  3. Choose “Action” when promoted.
  4. Give the action a “Name”.
  5. Paste the script in the “URL” box.
  6. Click “Done”. (You can do other stuff at this point like choose a pretty-looking icon).
  7. Click “Done” (again).
  8. Launch the action you’ve just made.

If everything goes well, you should be able to add data and then see it open in DayOne. After that play with DayOne to see what you can do. One of the obvious things is that DayOne becomes your record of observations and drop-ins.