University of Dundee (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 1261-1268
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The assessment of young children involves high quality interactions, based on thoughtful questions, careful listening and reflective responses. The way a child will see the world is dependent upon their application of experiences and perhaps how they imagine their connections, realities and non-realities. The child is constantly interacting with the physical world and internalizing this information mentally, to produce knowledge of it. The mental model that constructed the meaning or the knowing is difficult to define as it may be a personal model dependent on the variables of the individual child’s experiences within and outside of formal education. Rather than receive tangible outputs that can be reviewed and assessed as part of an asynchronous learning conversation (Laurillard 2008), the teacher can only assess the student within a synchronous conversation, which is time consuming and difficult to sustain, working with a large cohort of children. Experiences expressed in a narrative form help cement memories and knowledge (Hakkarainen et al 2013); therefore enabling experiences and listening to these narratives becomes vital. Stories also help children to use concepts that they have been learning, and in the process to organise concepts in context. We intend to provide young children with a tangible world environment that they can manipulate to produce a product in the form of an e-comic, where the story represents what they have understood and learned from the curriculum. The product from this environment could then be discussed to highlight understandings and potential misunderstandings with the child as a partner in their own assessment. This paper will explore the validity of this approach by reporting initial findings from work with young children who have been observed playing with LEGO in a nursery setting and will demonstrate how these interactions have informed our views on children as potential participants in their own assessment using traditional construction toys and the ways new technology could be used to truly listen and assess knowledge through the valuable medium of storytelling.

Initial observations showed the following interesting aspects:
a) Video recordings of children enacting stories do not serve as the basis of a learning conversation as the children don't remember the story and are distracted by their own presence in the video.
b) In the classroom, many of the “live” conversations that took place between the practitioner and the child were relatively shallow, rushed and interrupted.
c) There was a difference in the way that younger children and older children in the Early Years developmental stage use and tell stories.
d) The children built stories with ready made objects and elemental objects rather than the more abstract bricks.
e) The children changed the style and scope of the story depending on the audience and the context within which it was suggested that a story was set.

[1] Hakkarainen, P., Brėdikytė, M., Jakkula, K., & Munter, H. (2013). Adult play guidance and children’s play development in a narrative play-world. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(2), 213–225.
[2] Laurillard, D. (2008). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1), 5–20.
Assessment, technology, innovation, young children, knowledge aquisition, on-line assessment, early years.