We had a good turn this week for the presentation of our ‘EYFS assessment and observation with Apps’ pilot. The teachers who took part in trialling the use of tablets, smartphones and Apps gave really useful feedback on what worked well, what didn’t and what potential these tools could have.
Early years practitioners will all recognise the sensation of mad scribbling on post-it notes, desperately trying to capture the learning and conversation of a young child deeply involved in an activity. Making sense of these scrawls across dozens of notes on a dark evening is even more challenging. For several years we’ve been talking to practitioners about how technology can help the process without adding an extra burden of too much data management. In the autumn we began working with staff from early years’ classes and settings on a pilot to use smart phones, tablets and iPod Touches to record and save observations and assessments. We lent devices such including HTC Flyer tablet and iPhones to the practitioners and suggested Shelfster, Evernote and Springpad Apps for taking notes used in combination with Dragon Dictation to change speech to text. Evernote soon turned out to be the by far the most powerful tool.
The four teachers who took part in the pilot presented their experiences to a packed room of early years practitioners.
Some of the challenges included not having reliable wifi in some settings, fiddly typing, the need to sort out notes on a desktop, the shift in thinking needed. Positives included the simplicity of recording running commentary of timed observations, turning this into text, saving it and tagging, the ability to access the information from anywhere, the ability to tag children’s names, areas of learning and sub areas of learning. Everyone agreed that this is the way assessment is going and visiting teachers left keen to get going on their own trials. For more on using Evernote in education have a look at:
We’re really excited that next week we’ll start working with Tom Barrett and Year 3 classes at Rosendale Primary to explore how Evernote and iPads can help children capture their own learning.