Thursday, 12 December 2013

Learning Journals in the Early Years

It's early days but our concerted efforts to realise the first examples of ePortfolios AKA Learning Journals in the Early Years are starting to take shape.

Why Learning Journals, what's wrong with Portfolio?

We feel that the term 'Portfolio' has a tendency to imply product over process, best work over, well, work. What we really want to see is the 'journey' of learning, yes the final 'product', but arguably more importantly, the process of learning that the student/teacher documented on the way there.

Here's a tantalising glimpse of two our Kindergarten classes K1 and K2, trust me when I tell you that the actual contents are truly transformational, no, revolutionary when compared to the pretty but teacher centred, relatively passive paper counterparts. Unfortunately as these are live journals, I can't share access to the journals themselves.

More to follow later in the year when they are more representative of an entire years learning, but for now, the strategy in a nutshell is:

  • Teachers who are not 'techie' but are great teachers, and ready to learn
  • Build a 'capture culture' in every classroom, not just the teacher, the kids.
  • Lot's of devices in the hands of the kids—2:1 iPads, and 6 iPod touches in every classroom
  • Every teacher with a MacBook, and an iPad
  • Tools: iOS Devices, iPhoto, iCloud and Picasa
  • An amazing school that stops at nothing to provide teachers with whatever they could possibly need to innovate, create and excel at cultivating & motivating learning.


Work flow:

  • We set up iCloud accounts for each classroom, and connect every iOS device in that room to that account.
  • We activated PhotoStream in a separate account on the classroom teacher's Mac (to avoid PhotoStream conflict)
  • Now any content saved to the camera roll on any device (screen capture makes this very easy) connected to that classroom account wirelessly loads directly into the teacher's PhotoStream—a stream of class capture culture consciousness... 
  • In iPhoto, Teachers 'curate' content from the stream, dragging 'critical incidents' into an album that they have created for each child.
  • Captions are added using the 'Info' button in iPhoto
  • Video is not supported by PhotoStream so that has to be downloaded manually into iPhoto
  • When teachers are ready, each album is Exported to Picasa directly from iPhoto, with video that's about 10 minutes per album, with a decent connection
  • Once they are all uploaded, each album is then shared by the teacher with parents via email directly from Picasa (or Google+ Photos) this takes about an hour.

iPhoto Photo Stream - Reflecting Classroom Capture Culture

#rEvolutionary


Reality Check:

This model could be replicated using as little as ONE iOS device, ie a teacher iPhone,  and one Apple Mac computer (all come with iPhoto as standard) it just means that the teacher would have to do the capturing, instead of the kids. Even one shared class iOS device would make capturing learning by students possible as well, obviously the more devices you can out in the hands of the kids, the easier it is to capture their learning, but the more content you will need to curate!