This blog post was written by Matt Dolmont who is the IB PYP Technology Coach at ISPP
The International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) is a non-profit IB World School based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It hosts learners of over 50 different nationalities from Early Years (pre-kindergarten) to Diploma (Grade 12).
Increasingly, families turned to the teacher’s school blog to get weekly updates on their children. Student blogging in the upper elementary grades was quite successful, as students published their work independently and allowed families to comment and keep up with their learning, but for the early years program a single teacher blog wasn’t able to provide an in-depth look into each child’s experience. We experimented with custom portfolio blogs for each student, managed by the classroom teacher, and it became clear that the process was far too demanding for teachers already juggling classrooms full of 3-5 year olds all day. Collecting multimedia evidence from all of the students’ different activities and classes, writing summaries of the data, and uploading it all to individual student blogs one-by-one was something that could not happen spontaneously. Though we were through with the daunting binders, teacher workload increased, we were back to reporting twice a year, and the infrequency did not boost family engagement.
A team was formed, consisting of teachers from the Early Years (EY) and Kindergarten (KG) programs. Their objective: Divide and conquer the burgeoning range of portfolio and learning management platforms available, and select the one that best fit an inquiry-based early learning program. Criteria included the ability to manage multiple student profiles from a single account, capturing evidence “on-the-fly” and immediately uploading it to the relevant profile with minimal effort (“could a 5 year old do it?”), and flexibility for teachers to organize and curate these captures to increase readability for families. Long-term access for families was essential along with flexible ways for them to engage in their child’s learning through the portfolio. Functionality for tracking and analyzing student growth was a substantial plus. Teachers also looked for cross-platform compatibility so they could access on any device, exportable profiles so that students could move to more self-directed platforms as they matured, inter-class collaboration features, and integrated curriculum tools for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program used by our school.
Over the course of 3 months, teachers engaged with seven different platforms to try to find the best fit for us. With strong support of nearly all our criteria, and potential for future curriculum integration through collaboration with the IB, Storypark provided the best balance of daily usability and long-term evidence based practice. It provides a strong foundation for documenting a continuum of growth throughout the child’s school experience, and the tools to understand the data we collect for a holistic view of both the children and the program they are enrolled in. We’re getting started with Storypark at the moment and are looking forward to building our stories together, with contributions from teachers, students and families alike.
We hope that our evaluation process can help others save time and quickly learn the benefits of Storypark!
Storypark’s platform, philosophies, and values directly support those of the PYP framework. IB schools all over the world are using Storypark, including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Aust, NZ, China, South Africa and Amsterdam. To read more about IB Schools who use Storypark, check out this post from St Mark’s IB World School on engaging parents with the PYP curriculum and improving quality outcomes through digital technology.