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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Electronic Documentation Depending on the type of setting in which you work, you may have opportunities to use applications to develop digital documentation and to disseminate this informa- tion electronically. This approach can make producing documentation incredibly con- venient and quick. Some families may be more inclined to read the documentation if it appears on their smartphones or tablets. In addition, presentation applications such as PowerPoint can guide you through graphic design decisions and help you make your documentation look neat and professional. However, electronic documentation does have its pitfalls. When your documen- tation process speeds up, you can find yourself with a missing middle if you skip the all-important step of reflection. We will explore this challenge in chapter 6, which discusses electronic documentation in depth. Transcripts or Recordings of Conversations A conversation with a child can provide so much information about the child’s ideas and way of thinking that you simply can’t write it all down. This is when you need a recording device. If you record a child speaking, you can listen to the recording later, when you have a few free moments, and think about what meaning you should pull from the child’s words. When you transcribe parts of these conversations and use them in documentation, you provide insight for others to consider, and the docu- mentation itself becomes richer. In the monograph Making Teaching Visible, Harvard Graduate School of Educa- tion researchers comment on this richness. They offer the example of conversations during and after a simple field trip: Consider the following: What if teachers kept track of what the children were saying on the trip, or alternatively, on coming back from the outing asked children, “What surprised you at the pond? What discoveries did you make?” The children’s words (or writing or pictorial depictions) would add further information about the experience. What if the teacher were to add his or her perspective on the field trip, writing not only a log of what happened, but also an analysis of what learning and discoveries were made during the outing? The result would be a powerful reminder, not only of the events of the trip but also of the learning that happened as a result of the experience. Children would be enabled to reflect on their learning and potentially learn more. (Project Zero 2003, 54) This quote reminds us to listen and take note, as well as watch. And then, we need to reflect on next steps. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction 7