Yes, I too longed for less paperwork. Yes, I too thought going digital was the way to go. Yes, I too thought I’d have more free time than I’d know what to do with.
It all started out well enough. Set up an account, add in the children, invite their parents to join via email. Upload photos, input observation notes, link to EYFS and write next steps. Wow, I could actually do this during the working day rather than in my own time after the children had long gone home. So far, so good.
But then the photos took an age to upload and I’d be timed-out. I’d forget my password and have to re-set it every other day (I’m a bit dippy like that). There wasn’t time to find which development outcome the photo ‘fit’ into. (You’ve all done it). And, in fact, the photographic evidence actually covered more than one outcome so which one do I go with? (You’ve all done this too). You might say “all of them” which is all well and good – hurrah – our children are developing holistically and we’ve got the evidence to prove it! Aaah, but then linking this piece of evidence to all that apply means that writing the next steps shortly after is going to take 2 or 3 times (or more) longer to plan and type up. There wasn’t enough time to type the observation up and there definitely wasn’t enough time to write up the next steps. Then the app would crash. Data would be lost or corrupted. Parents would tell me they couldn’t log in or couldn’t see what I’d uploaded, that their child’s timeline displayed every stage of their development as having occurred all on the same date. (Picture a 5 month old baby rolling over onto his back, having his first solid meal, taking his first sip from an open cup, taking his first steps, going on the toilet for the first time, putting on his own shoes on the correct feet and spending his first day at school nursery – and all of this happening on the 15th of September 2014, 2 days before my Ofsted inspection).
So it all went downhill from there really. Instead of pushing pieces of paper and photographs around my dining table from 6pm till midnight, I was uploading digital photos and typing up notes on my laptop at the dining table from 6pm till midnight. And I’ve met many a Childminder paying monthly subscriptions for similar systems they’re not using or who are using but clearly not as often as they should because guess what…they’re still behind on their paperwork. But hey, at least it’s paperless.
Yes, I too am still waiting for the perfect time-saving system.