Technology for Pedagogical Documentation

Area(s) of Focus: kindergarten
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Kindergarten

The Early Years are an important time in a student's life. Here they develop skills, relationships and confidence of learning. Pedagogical documentation enables teachers to make changes to our practice and to enhance collaborative inquiry.

The project will allow us to more effectively utilize technology for documenting student learning. Our team of Early Years staff will learn about tech tools that can be used to document and store evidence of student learning in ways that can be useful for the teacher, the student and for sharing with families. As we began implementation of the new kindergarten document, we were looking for ways to collect evidence of student learning through play. This documentation allowed us to connect with what the learning was and to see the students exploring the curriculum. Through this pedagogical documentation, the students were able to see their learning, and reflect upon and set their own goals as learners. We received some support from our school board’s program staff to help guide us on the tech tools we chose to use for the pedagogical documentation. We worked collaboratively and co-analyzed our pedagogical documentation to determine expectations from the new kindergarten document. Lastly, this collaboration and learning helped us support one another with different instructional moves for facilitating learning through play.

Team Members

  • Heather Brown

    Greater Essex County District School Board

  • Jenny Enns

    Greater Essex County District School Board

  • Melanie LaPorte

    Greater Essex County District School Board

  • Kim Mulligan

    Greater Essex County School Board

Professional Learning Goals

We are a group of four Early Years educators that share a common learning space of English and immersion kindergarten in a small elementary school in South Western Ontario. Our two classrooms were recently renovated to open the walls of the third classroom space between us so we had a common space for students to engage in play for meaningful learning, thus becoming the third teacher.

We envisioned the new created space to offer children a better sense of belonging and well-being opportunities for active and engaged exploration of the world, and opportunities to express themselves in many ways (Ministry of Education, 2014). The common space created an opportunity for us to come together as a team and discuss beliefs and practices that we could embrace together. We wanted to implement effectively the new program and we saw pedagogical documentation as a way to support learning of the whole child through a play-based program.

Our work as a team and our renovated space meant that we literally opened the walls on student’s and educator’s learning.

Our inquiry was focused on four goals. First, we focused on tech tools to use for pedagogical documentation including photos, videos, PicCollage, Seesaw, Edsby, Twitter and One Note. Our second goal was to incorporate the tech tools into our program as our method of assessment. Our third goal was  to work together to better understand how play-based learning outcomes connect to curriculum expectations. Our fourth and final goal was to more deeply implement the kindergarten play-based program.

Activities and Resources

As a team, we met five half days and between each meeting we individually worked to find our own best practices with pedagogical documentation. We tried different tech tools, talked about what learning we could see and hear in the documentation, and what educator moves we might make to respond to learning that we saw. We also had to do some problem-solving with what were the best tech tools that we could use for our pedagogical documentation. The data that we collected includes classroom documentation, meeting notes, educator reflections and teacher efficacy results. This qualitative data was analyzed by reading, describing, classifying and interpreting (Learning Forward Ontario, 2012). We read through the data and identified important phrases. Then we sorted these phrases into categories of common thoughts and we labelled each category. We also compared teacher efficacy scores from the beginning of the inquiry to the final stage of the inquiry to see if there had been any changes in educator’s beliefs about their efficacy.

From our sort of key phrases in our data, we found four categories of what we learned: using tech tools for pedagogical documentation, keeping students at the centre of the learning, assessing and communication,  and working together as a team.

Unexpected Challenges

In the beginning, we were unsure of what technology we would use and how we would use it and what the expectations were for using technology in a kindergarten program. We tried many different tools and discovered that individually we may use similar or different tech tools, depending on our individual comfort. By the end of the project, we had succeeded in finding tools that worked for each of us (e.g., Seesaw, One Note and Edsby).  We embraced the idea that we would all use different tools for different purposes (e.g., video, photos and Jot Notes).

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

As we began to use the technology to document learning and to share with each other how we saw learning emerging, we started to shift what we valued as learning. We followed the student’s lead and  we encouraged self-regulation and problem-solving with our students. The learning changed to a celebration as the children began to show that they valued their own learning and the learning of their peers. We noticed that they were becoming bigger thinkers in that they shared their learning with the ability to be able to communicate their thoughts. We often use a gallery of learning where the children share their successes. We are moving from project-based to inquiry-based learning by letting students show us how they can learn with the tools in their environment. Through our pedagogical documentation, we began to find the learning as it happened – where we once used checklists, we now use pictures and videos that tell  the child’s learning story. This year’s change in report cards to the kindergarten communication of learning was an uneasy shift. We had many questions about how to effectively use this new framework to tell families about student progress. Our pedagogical documentation was crucial in making this transition effective. Using Seesaw enabled us to organize our documentation into the four frames. It helped us see our students learning and be able to show their thinking through the pedagogical documentation. We focused more on observations for thinking and learning moments and from product towards process of learning (e.g., loose parts without our guidance and intention the child was allowed to envision their own purpose and result).


Over this past year, we worked with our board’s Edsby team and shared our new best practises at a dinner and learn meeting with other educators that were also just learning Edsby and implanting pedagogical documentation.

We shared with our Early Years teams new resources that we had personally purchased or documents and articles that we had found effective.

Lastly, at a staff team meeting, we recorded pedagogical documentation using our peers as students. This enabled our school team to understand what we were doing and why it is such an important process of learning.  We shared with the school what we had learned from documenting them during our learning and then we shared our year documentation with them through picture and video. It was very meaningful to see what we had accomplished in a year.

Project Evaluation

We believe that the project was a success. We feel that as educators, we have shifted our style of teaching. We are having the child lead the learning and we are encouraging a more play-based inquiry program that engages in more provocations and wonders. We love watching where it takes us, and seeing how the students are growing.

Differently, I believe that we would have liked to have more time to work together and collaborate. It would possibly been easier if we used school devices rather then specific purchased iPads for the grant.



Resources Used

Loose Parts by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky

Capacity Building Series K-2  Pedagogical Documentation by the Ministry of Education

Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood: Sharing Children’s Learning and Teacher’s Thinking by Susan Stacey

Reggio-Inspired Mathematics by Janice Novakowski in collaboration with teachers from the Richmond School Board

STEM Play: Integrating Inquiry into Learning Centres