iPads for Documenting Student Learning

With anecdotal evidence playing a key role in our early years classrooms, accurate and details notes and record keeping are vital in reporting learning progression back to parents. Our teachers in senior kindergarten are magnificent at keeping detailed observational and conference notes on the students and their learning but tend to spend many hours in keeping these notes. In an attempt to explore options for efficiency in their record keeping, some of the teachers will be using iPads after the break. Below is a list of some apps that I have recommended the teachers explore as possibilities as well as my initial thoughts on the pros and cons of each. If you know of others, please add your thoughts in the comments below.

APPLE APPS

Pages: allows you to input text, photos and/or video and easily format the page layout. Great to create a narrative of sorts for each of the students throughout the UOI. Photo and text documents are relatively easily transferable and printable. Downsides are mostly around the use of videos – the file becomes very large and not well transferable to other computers.

Keynote: similar features to Pages. The difference is in the organisation where each entry would be a new slide instead of having one continuous narrative. Same downsides as Pages.

NOTE TAKING APPS

Notes Proincludes text, video and photo but can’t be transferred from the iPads.

Evernote: includes text, photos and audio as clips within the document. Again, a nice way to create a narrative of each student throughout the unit. You will need a free account with www.evernote.com which the files are automatically synced to, so you can access them from any computer with internet access. Downsides include: can’t resize the photos, so they are quite large on the page, not as easily printed, app is a little ‘clunky’ to use.

Notability: can include text, photos, audio (as one attachment, rather than short clips throughout the document), and drawing/handwriting. Easy to use. Similar benefits to evernote and Pages. Photos can be resized and placed anywhere on the page. Can be emailed as a PDF with the sound recordings attached separately. Easy to print.

BOOK CREATORS

Creative Book Builder(CBB) & eBook Magic: both apps create an ePub book which can be viewed in iBooks on the iPad, iPhone, etc or on other ebook readers. CBB allows video, image and text but is a little more ‘clunky’ to use. eBook Magic is easier to use but doesn’t allow for video – text and photos only.