WellyED: Classrooms Across Wellington – Day 22

Today’s post comes from the pre-school at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School.

Viewing and collaborating with learners for their on-line portfolios.

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As Early Childhood Educators we no longer wanted to spend so many hours making portfolio books, with self-review, PTC’s, strategic plans and daily planning our portfolios were just another ‘thing’ to get done. With a lack of enthusiasm for these books began to show, the effort sometimes outweighed the purpose. This documentation is so important it’s how we assess and plan for the individual learner.

We moved in to the future as teachers implementing on-line portfolios. The downside was we were still printing out stories and making hard copies for parents and children to view, as children need access to their portfolios. We didn’t want to keep doing this, there had to be a better way, we wanted this to change for ourselves and our learners.

We asked ourselves “how can we change this?” And “how can our children have access to their own work when they want?” Searching for on-line articles was unsuccessful, there wasn’t much on this topic around. Was it still common for preschools and centres to have hard copies because of the children’s need for access?

Hard copies were enjoyed by children and parents alike, the downside was they often got torn, went home and never came back, or not returned for a long time. And what do you give the learner for their transition to primary school, the new entrant/ year one teachers or for the parent’s to enjoy with their children after they leave ECC?

Switching to on-line portfolios was huge for us, it saved us time in the office, work was posted a lot quicker, there were links to Te Whāriki through the provider, saving even more time, parents and whanau were giving feedback and children were viewing their portfolios at home with their families on devices. We were happy until we realised that the children were not accessing their portfolios when they wanted, and there was no collaboration with teachers on the content in their ‘books.’

Our on-line provider had an app that allowed the children to ‘read’ their own books with a swipe of their finger across the ipad. The children quickly picked up how this went and really enjoy finding their picture and looking in their ‘book.’ The ipads are in the classroom and we have recently taught the children to take photos and make short videos and together we post these in to their on-line books. The children know when they really value something, whether it be a piece of art, a block construction and performance with their friends, they can grab an ipad and document it, have a little help and ‘post-it’ for their parents and families to get an email and see it right after it happens!

Children still love books, they always will, but could the book of the future be a device? It seems increasingly so. Will children take these devices to school to ‘page’ through their portfolio with their friends and teachers? Right now our families save their portfolios to a usb or device so they can have it when they leave. They can choose who to share it with and back it up to a cloud so memories and documented learning are stored to pull out in the future and not get lost or torn along the way.

As a teacher I am so happy with how we document our children’s learning at Preschool, it has saved me time. As teachers we now collaborate and work with the children a lot more than we did and they are making choices about their own work. Best of all as a teacher I’m excited to document their learning, it’s gone back to a whole lot of fun not a whole lot of boring!

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