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Tapestry pros and cons


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Hi everyone,

I currently use another online system for observations, tracking etc and although there are some great features on it, it is starting to drive me mad as it is just not reliable, sometimes information will upload, sometimes it won't, parts of the system work and some don't, at the moment, despite numerous calls and emails, we cannot view any child's progress at all, this is not helping staff to plan or to fill out transition documents. I'm now thinking of cutting my losses and switching to tapestry as i have heard so many of you praise it.

My question is, what would you honestly say are the pros and cons of the system? can you always connect or does the site 'go down' often (this is our biggest problem). I would love to hear your honest views.

Thanks

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Honestly? I think it's great. The preschool I'm working with at the moment bought into 2Simple and it's all the things you claim above. So much so, that it's going to be an uphill battle to 'sell' the idea of Tapestry to them as they are do frustrated with the whole electronic tablet thing. They are seriously considering going back to paper-based systems.

 

I used Tapestry since its conception at the preschool I managed and have seen it grow from strength to strength. The help systems are great if you are stuck, and there's a helpful Facebook group too for day to day help. I think the only cons to the system is that it's very easy to generate too much for every child if you're not careful!

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Honestly? I think it's great. The preschool I'm working with at the moment bought into 2Simple and it's all the things you claim above. So much so, that it's going to be an uphill battle to 'sell' the idea of Tapestry to them as they are do frustrated with the whole electronic tablet thing. They are seriously considering going back to paper-based systems.

 

I used Tapestry since its conception at the preschool I managed and have seen it grow from strength to strength. The help systems are great if you are stuck, and there's a helpful Facebook group too for day to day help. I think the only cons to the system is that it's very easy to generate too much for every child if you're not careful!

Thanks Cait, we are using Capture Education, i love that it has a Wheel, which basically shows at a glance where each child is in every area, but this is just not working, it keeps freezing and showing up obs that are emerging as though they have achieved them. I must admit i have been considering going back to paper too!

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We have been really pleased with Tapestry - been using it for about 15 months and don't know how we managed the paper work before!

We haven't had any major issues at all - it tends to be our internet that goes slow/hangs so we have installed a booster signal plug in the middle of the building which seems to have sorted that out.

I think the only thing that happened was a problem with the server back ups a few months ago which caused a problem with retrieving photos but everything got restored after a few days. The Tapestry people are always very helpful and respond quite quickly to queries/requests for help.

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Yep i can echo the above positive comments regarding Tapestry. We have been using it also for around 15 months.. and both staff and parents love it. It is GREAT for supervisions and for really being able to check observations and assessments quickly. The data you can see at a glance is so valuable n the time it saves.

 

If the observations are good and the assessment data is accurate.. it really paints a very accurate picture for every child and for groups of children, however you decide to group them! What more could you want?

 

The only slightly annoying thing about it though.. if I am honest.. it still doesn't actually teach the children or play with them, and we still need humans to do this! Maybe one day tho :P

 

Hopefully more features will be added in the future including a registration system that will be extremely useful in the nursery sector.. due to only existing ones being for designed for schools..

 

So yes... it is GREAT..

 

(ps.. I am not on commission.. YET!)

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Ohh I just thought. We do have a few staff who are not very good with technology, so to speak and they do struggle slightly.. and have mentioned they still prefer the paper trackers.. the Emerging, Developing and Secure assessments can be quite tricky without a tracker, they say. Although I feel if you know your children well enough, this should be fairly easy to assess?

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Tapestry is fantastic, it save time and money. All of my staff and parents love it, the children really enjoy it as well. I have recommended it to many settings. The only downfall is our slow Internet, however if you have a good connection it's fine, we have just boosted our wifi and its much faster now.

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Hi, Happy Friday ....finally!

Do the majority of you use tablets for Tapestry and if so which have you chosen? I'm seriously thinking of starting this for September as we have really struggled this term with our paper files, I seem to be drowning in random bits of paper just shoved in the box ready to put in the lj's ........but never quite getting there.

It will need a considerable investment as our old laptop is donkeys years old and really slow but I'm thinking of applying to a local firm for a bit of specific funding for it.

Do you have a couple of tablets that the staff share or do they have one each? One setting I know have the tesco hudl but they don't do them anymore and ipads although lovely are well beyond our means.

:1b

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I love, love love it as the person who had to print off and cut out all the photos it's a godsend.

Parents love it - although this years parents haven't been quite so 'responsive' to it in respect of replying & adding their own posts but it was great last year

My only 'stumbling block' with it is the analysis I just can't get my head around it - but I think that must be 'user error' rather than system error! :P

I'd say go for it I had 2 VERY reluctant staff 1 of them can't believe how much time it's given her back the other one perhaps doesn't love it so much but on a good day will admit to not missing the glue sticks for the paper journals!

 

We have 2 Samsung Galaxy tablets approx £99 each and theyve been fine.

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Thanks everyone, Think i have decided to go for it, i'm going to do the trial after the funding has finished and then hopefully i'll be ready for September.

Also thinking of getting iPads for the staff to use, at the moment we have galaxy tab 4's, the staff seem to like them but i really struggle with them and prefer the iPad, very selfish, i know! but i'm justifying it with 'at least i can monitor them better and help people if they get stuck instead of the boss looking like an old fool!'

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We use Tapestry and have been doing so for about two years. We don't have wifi unfortunately so have to upload obs at home, so I do find keeping on top of this and authorising obs a challenge (literacy levels very mixed in my setting). However it is definitely better than the paper systems I've used in the past and does mean I have a handle on all the children and not just my own.

 

Haven't had any issues with connectivity and there's also notice if any system will down for maintenance.

 

Parents love it. Some are great at engaging, others not but that's always the way.

 

Like Thumperrabbit I can't get my head around the analysis, but I make it work for me. I'm just about getting to a place where I can use it proactively rather than retrospectively. It's great for gap identification.

 

I also think it's very reasonably priced compared to other software.

 

Good luck. Don't think you'll regret it.

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Thanks guys you have convinced me to buy Tapestry with all your excellent feedback.I was nearly ready to by an online learning journal software by capture Education which was being sold to me at the same price as Tapestry. After hearing about Capture Education by Aliceinwonderland I am totally put off.Thankyou Aliceinwonderland

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Thanks guys you have convinced me to buy Tapestry with all your excellent feedback.I was nearly ready to by an online learning journal software by capture Education which was being sold to me at the same price as Tapestry. After hearing about Capture Education by Aliceinwonderland I am totally put off.Thankyou Aliceinwonderland

I think you have made the right choice, can't believe they are now selling it at the same price as Tapestry! i paid a lot for it! The guys on the phone are lovely and try their best but i just think it isn't working, We were inspected in December and i couldn't show the inspector some things to back myself up as parts were not working properly, and it's still having the same issues now, 6 months on. They have tried to move us onto a new page to correct some of the problems, which it has, but instead it has created other problems, we can not currently see where each child is at which makes it impossible to write our transition documents and very hard to write our planning! Hopefully i will have Tapestry up and running for September, good luck with what you choose.

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Thanks Cait, we are using Capture Education, i love that it has a Wheel, which basically shows at a glance where each child is in every area, but this is just not working, it keeps freezing and showing up obs that are emerging as though they have achieved them. I must admit i have been considering going back to paper too!

 

Tapestry has this too AliceinWonderland. It's called Snapshots and does just that - gives you a snapshot view of where each child is in each area and each aspect as well as whether they are emerging, developing or secure. Easy peasy!

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Agree with most of the comments above, the parents love it, the staff find it easy to use, but the assessment section is confusing at best and doesn't really work for us, so doesn't get used unfortunately; so we are still doing paper group assessments and using Making My Children's Learning Visible, so in essence, inputting information which shouldn't be necessary, which is a shame.

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Bugbabe, we do realise that as the analysis sections have grown, due to users' requests for more screens, etc. it has become confusing! :huh:

After the next Tapestry update, we're going to be carrying out a thorough review of all the analysis screens, taking on board any comments in our future developments forum area, and also any correspondence we've received behind the scenes. Do please let us know what you'd like to see; perhaps you could attach your paper versions to a post in that forum area? That will really help us to see what screens would be useful to you. We really don't want you to be uploading data twice!

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The assessment section works well if your staff actually know their key children. I understand if staff have many children to collect data for, then it can be hard to accurately assess each child.

 

The Summative Assessment data is very easy to follow and acts much like a tracker for each area of learning, although it is not broken down into each statement, it shows if a child is emerging, developing or secure in each area of learning. This is where knowing a child well enough to make an accurate assessment, for each area of learning really helps.

 

Using the "latest assessment period" option for the Summative Assessment data should give you a very accurate picture for each child, and indicate where they are upto at this stage.

 

I suppose the only helpful tool to now have would be a way to see the Summative Assessment that includes each element in list form, and each element that has been achieved can be highlighted in a different colour to indicate how many times an element has been chosen for a particular child. ie.. if a particular element has been used 3 times from 3 separate observations, then it would go GREEN to show that we feel this child is secure in that element.. and then has the greens populate the Area of learning i.e Making Relationships.. once it gets to a set percentage of green.. 70% - it SECURES that area of learning?

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Broadoaks- this is already available from the statements screen. From the analysis tab, click on the EYFS heading and scroll right down to the bottom of your screen, to the statements screen. You can see how many times the statement was attached to an observation on the right hand side, and click through to those observations.

However! This comes with a warning :o

The statements were never designed as ticklist, where children are expected to achieve them all, or for staff to determine a child is 'developing' if they have half of the statements ticked, or 'secure' if they are all ticked. Please resist this! Nancy Stewart, the author of Development Matters, has written an excellent article about how best to use the document.

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Ahhh ok, I see what you mean regarding the number of times data, that is very useful indeed, thank you. I will be sure to use this more and let all staff know. However it is very time consuming to have to do this for each area of learning ie 17 areas.

 

I also understand these statements are not to be used as a tick sheet.. however it is the best guide we have got and this Development Matters has been put together from a lot of research. Also, Tapestry can only ideally use these statements to form the Assessment data... so I don't see why we can't use these statements as a tick sheet, or similar scenario statements that also correspond to each particular area.. although we would still need to choose a particular statement from Tapestry to output the correct Assessment.

 

The other option of course is that we could just choose to Secure a child in a particular area of learning when we have enough evidence from our own own scenarios.. but again, I still feel the Dev Matters statements are very well researched and thorough enough, to actually give us a great understanding of every child, in every area of learning. Again, it all comes down to how well staff know their children!

 

So with saying all this.. ideally for some of my staff, at least, the system I wrote above would be beneficial. It would give each area of learning an assessment grade automatically and be very much like the paper trackers, many are used to using.. (as tick sheets, right or wrong)

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Is there a way to over-ride other than at baseline? This might ameliorate the tick list issue.

Another question... why is the tracker not culmalative? We don't tend to re-observe typical behaviour and sometimes it appears that children are regressing. Sorry for hijacking thread.

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Yes, you can override on the snapshots screen, once you have selected the assessment period.

Which tracker do you mean Marsha? The age-band tracker on the snapshots screen is cumulative.

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Helen

 

I did mean the age band tracker. I thought I'd had a child who seemed to jump back an age band but can't find it now, so must have been mistaken!

 

Had a quick look at snapshots and see how to do this now, I'd been looking at latest assessments rather than specified periods. Thanks!

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"Using the "latest assessment period" option for the Summative Assessment data should give you a very accurate picture for each child, and indicate where they are upto at this stage."

 

Broadoaks....I always use 'latest' for summaries as well and think it gives the clearest picture, but we find if a child hasn't been assessed in a certain aspect over a half term it takes them back one refinement instead of just leaving them where they were, I think it must be because they are a couple of months older but not sure, do you find this ? Have I still got something set wrong do you think ? I don't use highest because as much as I ask staff not to they sometimes pick up a statement in a higher band that yes they aren't wrong but it puts the child to high overall, I think they've finally stopped going backwards if the see a missing statement from an early band....so I kind of get what Helen says about not being a tick list...but it is what staff feel comfortable with and I do wish in eyfs analysis you could open the band that hasn't had any assessments and select if you wanted to from there.

 

We love the interaction we now get from a high % of our parents and staff have found it easy to use :-)

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- Mouseketeer

 

Yes we also find that if an area hasn't been assessed in this particular term it can appear as though the child is behind in that area of learning, like you said because they might creep over the "line" - The only part I can see to change this is within the Summative Assessment options EYFS tab.. refinements can be altered. Not exactly sure if this is going to help if I am honest? If it was set to age bands for example.. it might?

 

At the end of the day Tapestry is an amazing tool that we can use confidently. I feel that if a child covers all the areas of learning and we can "tick" each one of a list.. (exact scenarios or similar scenarios) then the child has no developmental concerns and we can see clearly if they are above or below in every area of learning. This is a huge time saver and therefor a huge bonus to each child in our care.. so thank you for creating a great tool :)

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I have ticked the Include Refinements and set it to "Refinements and Statements" - so I am not sure if that's the best option?

 

I do find these Analysis data very useful now I am aware of them.. although 17 areas for each child can be very time consuming. They are extremely useful however.. and these are going to be used all the time from now on.

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I'm not sure 'get it' would describe my understanding thumperrabbit, I think I'm clearer on what we do that throws the progress backwards now (apart from the refinement thing when an aspect isn't assessed, shame it just doesn't pull through what it was in the last period and forget they are a few weeks older) we only add assessments to individual obs now, group ob assessments cause us lots of problems.

 

I use the analysis a lot, I find it really useful if a child has jumped to high or dropped back, you can quickly see the ob that has caused it and correct it....

 

I have refinements and statements selected, though wondering whether to stop refinements from Sept and add them to snapshots manually at end of periods ...any thoughts ?

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