An incredible system for schools to streamline and revolutionise reporting and parental engagement
From the outset, it is worth being clear that this is not a review of a standalone app. Earwig is a system that schools buy into, which includes the main web-based application and mobile apps that can be used on either iOS, Android or Windows platforms. The web application has an enormous numbers of features and huge scope for different uses, the main aspects of which will be discussed here.
For teachers, the Earwig system saved the age-old problem of trying to record evidence of classroom activities for assessment, reporting to parents and recording for internal school use. Rather than spend hours printing, cutting and pasting photos into different notebooks and files, the Earwig app makes it incredibly easy to take pictures which can then be used in a rich variety of ways within the web application. Through this combination of native app and webapp for creating and assigning information to captured moments, teachers can build up a series of “timelines” of information about individual students, small group or class activities, topic or subject based selections or items of whole school interest. Once information has been uploaded to the system, it is very easy to reuse it, edit and share everything. Another major benefit of this over the more traditional approach of pen and paper with some photos stuck in is that there can be a variety of media used. In particular, the use of video opens up whole new ways to record and report on learning in the classroom.
Once teachers have recorded information about a particular learner, and chosen to share it, this is then viewable in the parent’s timeline for this child. This opens up opportunities for parents to take an interest in, understand and celebrate their children’s learning without having to wait until the next parents’ evening. Whereas teachers would never have been able to spend this much time communicating with individual parents in the past, using the Earwig system a rich volume of relevant information can be given to parents with almost no extra effort. School leadership teams and administrators are the final group poised to benefit from a school using Earwig, both from the point of view of easily being able to monitor and report on activity on a whole-school level, but also given the opportunity included to make some money from parents buying the photos that appear in their children’s timelines.
The effects on students of knowing that both their teachers and parents will be able to recognise any learning successes more easily should provide a motivating aspect, and indeed some schools encourage children to ask for their class work and performances to be recorded into Earwig. This extra incentive to learn and share the learning journey is never going to be a bad thing, and may also lead to greater learner involvement and responsibility for making sure that valid assessments and recognition of learning outcomes are recorded on the system.
One aspect worthy of particular note is that the system is currently set up with the EYFS curriculum outcomes loaded in, making it especially advantageous for early years teachers and other staff involved with this age group. Alongside the standard options for a record being saving, relevant outcomes and stages can easily be ticked off, meaning that evidence is automatically organised and development reports become incredibly easy to prepare and print as required. Hopefully in future, this would be a common feature for those teaching other age groups as well, since the additional benefit of this ease and precision of assessment against learning outcomes could make a huge impact across the board.
It would be possible to discuss the great features and probable impact of using the Earwig system at very great length, and those interested in finding out more would do well to watch some of the video testimonials from real teachers and headteachers already using the system, as linked to from the Earwig website. It is hard to fault this product for its genuine ambition to change the lives of teachers, lessening administration time whilst simultaneously vastly improving the volume and quality of recording and reporting that can take place. It is clear that the developers of the Earwig system are keen to keep making improvements and work with teachers to shape the product to be the most useful as it can be for them, and it is hard to think of another app or system that is likely to impact its users quite as much as this.
From the Developer
This is the new app for teachers at schools using the Earwig software package. You can now turn photos and video into teaching evidence with a couple of clicks. You will need your Earwig login details.
SubjectsApps for Teachers
AgesToddler Apps (0-3 Years)
Reception/Preschool Apps (3-5 Years)
Primary School Apps (5-7 Years)
Primary School Apps (7-11 Years)
Secondary School Apps (11-14 Years)
Secondary School Apps (14-18 Years)