By Deborah Thomas*
I would like to share with you our journey from paper to screen as we researched many online providers and chose a platform.
We found after choosing Storypark that we could do many things we couldn't do before, enhancing the quality of assessment, sharing and children's learning.
What we wanted
- A genuine inclusion of the parent's voice.
- To include the child's voice unedited and unchanged through interpretation.
- Individuality and creativity with flexibility to create different types of observations and learning stories.
- A safe sharing space.
- Ability to take and share video.
- Confidentiality, yet the ability to communicate openly on different levels, e.g. parent, centre, school.
- Ability to collaborate with children.
- Ability to share ongoing learning progress instead of waiting until the end of a term.
- Time efficiency.
- To save folders, plastic sleeves and copious amounts of paper for 80 children.
- To use technology for the better, not for the sake of it.
Platforms we tried
We asked companies to come and share their services, but we ended up with more questions than we started with. The bigger issues emerging concerned safety, data storage and confidentiality.
We tried a range of services and platforms, including blogs and a custom-built website for our preschool.
When we were introduced to Storypark we were at a stage where we knew what we didn't want.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that Storypark ticked all the boxes for us.
One year later
A year has passed since we introduced Storypark and it has been a great success.
The staff did not have to change their daily practice much at all as they were already producing computer-generated documents. The advantage now is that they can be extremely creative with video and capturing the children's voice to share.
The children come into the centre and inform us that their 'news' is on Storypark. This is just a normal part of our day now.
Our assessment process has also become very meaningful, ongoing and authentic.
We're excited that this year's cohort of children will have Storypark ePortfolios that travel with them to school. The teachers are already viewing files and gaining greater access into the children's lives than ever before.
I feel Storypark allows the personality of the child and family to be portrayed; intangible information that pen and paper can't express. We are privileged to have access into families lives like never before. Storypark invites us to share our lives.
Seven things we do now because we are using Storypark that we couldn't do before
- Share documentation and moments of joy while it is happening and evolving with the children.
- Post music and video instead of having to describe what is happening in text.
- Show processes instead of the products produced by the children, e.g. timelapse photography.
- View pictures and videos shared from home.
- Answer parents' questions directly in their child's private notes without a formal interview.
- Communicate across classes (groups) and communities (teacher-teacher, parent-teacher,...) quickly and easily.
- Share ongoing assessment cycles with parents instead of standalone reports.
ChildForum is delighted to secure a special offer for our member ECE centres and home-based services with Storypark.
Storypark are providing 10% discount to ECE service members.
For more information and specifics go to the discounts page at https://www.childforum.com/management/supplier.html
* Abridged copy reproduced with the permission of Storypark
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