It’s commonly understood that digital documentation can help educators and parents, but how does it help children directly?
A new research study by Dr. M.E. Picher on the use of a pedagogical documentation technology (called Storypark) showed that the online platform had a positive impact on educator-parent communication, educator’s understanding of curriculum and parents’ engagement in their children’s learning.
But what about Storypark’s impact on children?
When Picher originally conceived of her study she was not going to include children in her interviews. “Because the students were not going to be using Storypark directly, I thought it wouldn’t be necessary to talk to them,” Picher said.
However, in interviewing educators and parents about the impact of Storypark, Picher quickly realized that she had to include the perspectives of children in her research as well.
According to Picher, “Educators kept talking about how much their students loved having their learning documented and parents kept talking about how much their children enjoyed having them see what they were learning about in school. That’s when I understood that Storypark was not just impacting students indirectly–through their educators’ and parents’ use of Storypark–it was also impacting them directly.”
To better understand the direct impact that Storypark had upon students, Picher interviewed 33 four and five-year-old kindergarten students (three students from each of the participating classrooms). Through these interviews, Picher learned that Storypark impacted students in three primary ways.
- First, “Storypark helped students to remember their learning,” Picher said. “As I sat with students and scrolled through learning stories with them, they were able to remember details about their learning that were not shown in the photos or described in the text. It became clear to me that revisiting the students’ online portfolios with them helped them to remember their learning.”
- Second, Picher said, “Storypark helped students to talk about their learning.” According to Picher, “When I asked students how Storypark helped them many said that Storypark showed their parents what they had been learning about at school. The students said this was helpful because answering their parents’ questions about their day was often ‘tiring’ for them.” Picher said her interviews with parents confirmed this finding. According to Picher, “Parents said Storypark greatly enhanced the conversations they had with their children about their learning because it provided a ‘jumping-off point’ that allowed them to ask their children better questions about their day.”
- Finally, Picher said, “Storypark helped students to feel proud of their learning.” According to Picher, “When I asked the students about how Storypark helped them many said it made them feel good or proud. This was significant because it meant that educators’ and parents’ use of Storypark was positively reinforcing for the students.”
In other words, the more the students’ learning was documented and shared, the more they wanted to learn!
Hear about the findings in more detail in a webinar where M.E. Picher presented her research and answers some of the biggest questions administrators have about digital documentation technology.