On March 1, 2017, our children and technology class invited yet another guest speaker to our class. This guest speaker was Drew and he came to talk to us about an app called Storypark. This app is similar to HiMama but it has multiple different features which separates it from HiMama. Here is a little information about the app.
@Storypark was created in New Zealand. The four co-founders of the app were not early childhood educators themselves but their mothers were. Storypark is seen as a social enterprise and they even have their own YouTube channel. Here is an example of a . YouTube video that is posted on their website.
This app unlike HiMama is free for families to use even after their child has left the centre. There is no fee provided for that. However, for educators there is a fee of 99cents/month per child. In order to have access to the app, the childcare centre first needs to invite the educator of the classroom, then the educator adds the children of the classroom into the app, giving children the option to add themselves as well. After that, the educator can add the parents and then the parents are allowed to choose who else they would like to add to view their child’s portfolio. This app allows for the portfolios to stay with the child and educators are able to create their own portfolios as well. It allows for the educators and parents to have a reciprocal relationship and allows for parental involvement. Additionally, it allows for authentic planning which allows for the child’s voice to be heard in their own learning.
This app allows for the educator to see and look if their documentation is being evenly dispersed within their classroom or if they are focusing on one gender over the other; or one domain over another. This would allow for looking for patterns and trends which would allow for the educator to better plan activities that are reflective of the children’s interests in their program. It allows especially for the child’s voice to be heard and seen when doing an activity, The educators can allow for one of the children to take pictures, or videos which would allow for parents to see everything at their children’s eye level and how they process information.
Now to answer my question stated in the title of the blog post, is Storypark a pedagogical form of documentation? Does this video clip do pedagogical documentation justice or does it just explore documenting for early childhood professionals?
Storypark allows for children to be active participants in their own learning. As an educator introduces a task, they are able to have the children do the task but at the same time be able to have the children capture their learning. This can be done by taking pictures and posting them on the child’s profile, portfolio; or by having the children video tape their progress in the activity and have it posted to the portfolio or profile. The fact that children have the ability to be taken pictures or videos of or have pictures and videos taken of them, this allows for documentation to occur as the children have the ability to be seen and heard. In the article written by Lindgren (2012), in order for documentation to be pedagogical, reflection within that documentation needs to be present. Storypark allows for this to occur as you have the physical documentation on the child’s portfolio, and then it is allowed for educators to use these forms of media to reflect on children’s learning and allow for them to be a part of the process as well.
Lindgren, A., Linköpings universitet, Institutionen för tema, Tema Barn, & Filosofiska fakulteten. (2012). Ethical issues in pedagogical documentation: Representations of children through digital technology. International Journal of Early Childhood, 44(3), 327-340. doi:10.1007/s13158-012-0074-x