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Looking at Tapestry - advice from those that use it please


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Morning

Sat here on a Sunday morning after spending a couple of hours updating my LJs and thinking "there must be a better way!"

Have read through some of the Tapestry info but have questions about the practicality if those that use Tapestry don't mind answering.

I love the idea that the obs are so instant rather than me having to print everyone's pics at the end of the week then them sat there until staff have time to write up the obs (which they do at home as we don't have allocated time during sessions).

We are a preschool with maximum 25 in session with 4 or 5 staff and only have one tablet which I only use for staff/peer observations at the moment. If staff are to record obs on a preschool tablet (seeing as though they are not allowed to use personal phones) then I would need considerable funds to buy a tablet for each or risk obs being missed due to another staff member using it at the time another child is doing something amazing! Also when I see pics of people sitting together each looking at their mobile phone it makes me feel sad and I would really hate it if the staff were then sitting with a tablet in hand and not interacting with the children, so how does this work in practice? (I have visions of the children playing whilst a staff member is sat looking at tablet for ages updating their Tapestry - is it really quick? Does it really replace the LJ thoroughly and plot the developmental stage well?)

Next concerns are for those staff and parents who are not great with technology. Did you send out a questionnaire to parents to see if they were able to/could afford the technology for Tapestry?

Having said all this, I love the sound of not having to haul all the LJs home, cut and stick and colour in the correct boxes etc then haul it all back again just to have them sat there ready to show parents if they ask or I approach them (although, they are a lovely record for when the child leaves). The fact that we could update instantly, have parent comments back and plot development without the extra slog seems to good to be true!

So, anyone tried it and didn't like it?

Those that are using it, was it an easy process to convert? Any drawbacks?

All comments appreciated, sorry for the long post!

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HI

We found it a fairly easy change but was best to do it at the start of an academic year for us.

Some of the staff were scared in prospect but everyone is happy with it now.

We use a tablet, an ipod and just ordinary cameras and download photos into a Dropbox. Then everyone gets some time on the work computer to move pics and do assessment.

It worked really well to start with, the parents love it and put on lots of entries and comments. But at this time of year, when we are full it is hard to find the time for people to get on the computer. But that would be true of however we do LJs so not a problem with Tapestry really.

Our internet connection is a bit rubbish and goes through the school filters so mobile devices only work up to a point and if all staff had one I think that there would be times when nobody was watching the children!

Staff can login to Tapestry at home as well but we hoped to avoid that so I am the only one who really does more work on it at home than at work.

We have a few parents who can't or won't use it so they have paper journals like the old days.

Over all we are very happy and would not go back to paper LJs.

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I can honestly say that Tapestry has revolutionised how I use my time in respect of learning journeys. Both myself and the TA (Reception) have i pads which we use to take photos (and videos, which is brilliant) with and then upload and write obs/do assessments later - so no time lost in class. I prefer to do this at home, I give my TA time to do this during the week. We also collect evidence of writing, maths, pictures, wow bubbles sent in from home etc in a folder. It saves me hours each week and I feel it is a more constructive use of my time as a teacher - cutting and sticking wasn't! Parents love it and we get lots of replies and uploads from them. Only two have retained paper based LJ's - interestingly, neither of them contributes anything to those, so maybe wouldn't not matter how we did it.

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Thanks to you both for your replies. Interesting to hear that you still have parents who will not use it and that it still takes time after session to do the obs/assessment as this is what I was trying to eliminate. I thought that maybe staff could take a pic, type a quick ob and instantly upload, allocate the area of learning and therefore job done ... but guessing that it isn't quite as instant as this?

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Thanks to you both for your replies. Interesting to hear that you still have parents who will not use it and that it still takes time after session to do the obs/assessment as this is what I was trying to eliminate. I thought that maybe staff could take a pic, type a quick ob and instantly upload, allocate the area of learning and therefore job done ... but guessing that it isn't quite as instant as this?

Hi, it can be instant. The more you use it the quicker you get at putting in the assessment as well. We are Reception class and have used it for this academic year and I would not go back. We had 100% parent/Carer sign up and only have 2 who choose not to access it. The time I have saved this year in not having to cut and stick is huge. We have 3 tablets between 6 staff and that works well. Myself and the other Reception teacher approve the obs and this allows us to quality assure them at the same time. Our attached preschool is going with it from September as they have seen how good we have found it.

Bev

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Do you have to have parent participation?

Could this just be taken on as progress just for the staff to begin with and then perhaps once the staff have fully taken it all on board then push it out to parents? Or does that defeat the object?

With those parents who still want a paper journal could you not use Tapestry and then print off once a month / term??

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Hi Thumperrabbit

 

There is no reason why when you start you leave off the parents, run the system for half a term so you and your team get comfortable and then when you are ready launch it to your parents and add them in.

 

I think this is a really nice way for a team to start while they find their feet :D

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