Enhancing Foundation Stage Assessment with Technology

After Reception’s assessment was moderated in June, September gave an opportunity for the Foundation Team to give our assessment strategies a make over.

Amongst the staff we decided that photographic evidence provides excellent opportunities for assessment. The problem we found was the management and recalling of the hundreds of photographs we would be taking each week.

I began to investigate hardware and software options.

iTag

I found a software called iTag. The company provided 3 user licenses for about £25 (Bargain!). The software allows me to tag children that are in each photograph, the area of learning related to the evidence and sometimes I include specific profile points.

Tags that I use: CLL, KUW, PD, PSRN, PSED, CD …. More specific profile points: CLL W7, KUW6a, PSED DA6, PSRN S9 

I can also type in any observation notes into the description window.

Hugh spent 20 minutes working in the construction area. He explored vaiours shapes, naming and discussing the properties of cubes and cylinders. He built an ancient village and was using a small wooden jenga piece as a car to explore his settlement. Janine was working alongside, building a farm house. She soon collected small world farm tools and Hugh used the farmer from this set to drive his car….

When viewing the photograph in iTag after editting, this description along with any tags is displayed when hovering the cursor over the image. The date and time is also displayed so make sure your camera or any other image capturing device has the correct date and time set.

In the ‘Search Mode’ of the software, I can retrieve photographs by searching for children’s names, areas of learning or profile points. I can combine children’s names with areas of learning so the search is more specific, eg: “hugh” or “hugh cll”.

itag_1-scaled1000

A nice feature in search mode is that all of the tags you have used are displayed. The larger the font the more photographs contain that tag (similar to how Wordle displays common words in a piece of text). Therefore I can see which children are lacking evidence and I can keep an eye out for photograph opportunities of that child.

I have also started collecting video evidence as iTag allows me to tag video evidence too. I’m now training my children to use FlipVideo Cameras in their play and this can be imported into iTag and tagged. This means that the children are going to contribute to their own evidence as well.

Using video evidence means we are moving away from more ‘traditional’ handwritten long observations on paper, meaning our Foundation Stage is becoming more sustainable.

Final Thoughts…

I save the images in weekly folders relating to each topic.

Filing

Class 1 Assessment > Summer Term 1 > Week 1 > save all photographs, videos and audio clips from Week 1 of Summer Term 2 in here.

Class 1 Assessment > Summer Term 1 > Week 2 > all evidence collected saved in this folder

and so on…

This makes it easy to file and recall groups of photographs alongside weekly evaluations of planning.

It takes me 15 minutes to tag 100 photographs.

If you use iTag in your school or Foundation unit please comment and let me know, it would be great to hear how you are getting on with the tool.

References

www.itagsoftware.com

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5 thoughts on “Enhancing Foundation Stage Assessment with Technology

  1. great post! i shall be investigating the program- hopefully it can help me sift through the tonnes of photos we’ve collected.

  2. There is a free version that only let’s you tag three items per photo. We used that for a few weeks to trial it before buying it for unlimited tags.

  3. About nine years ago I started to produce DVDs for parents (only photo/data CDs prior) in order to included them in what we use to send out to parents in Australia, the children’s learning portfolios. They were treasured by parents because they saw their child at work. While a wonderful idea for the time, it was labour intensive in filming, editing, creating and printing the DVDs, it was limited to my class only as the school didn’t yet have the technology. iTag would have been a wonderful way to get all teachers involved without the need for higher skills. Seems to work as in tagging photos in Facebook. Thanks for the post.Ross MannellAustraliaPS recently had a request from a former student for anything I had so I’m recopying stored DVDs. It’s great to look back over the years.

  4. I’ve been asked by a few professionals if iTag would make it easier to write photos of specific children to CD/DVD. I am yet to try it out though. You should look up Leamore Primary on Twitter, as their Foundation Stage have been ‘live blogging’ to share evidence with parents. The principle is the same as iTag, they upload evidence from iPod touches (or any image capturing device with wifi) and tag the photographs on the blog to organise children’s work. That way parents could save the images they want without the teacher needing to make copies for everyone.

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