A recent shift in my thinking I experienced recently was that a key purpose of documentation in the early years is making students' thinking (and the learning process) visible. It is about metacognition and learners engaging with and reflecting on the process of learning. For this reason the documentation for the students was not in the form of a portfolio but was mainly explicit on the classroom walls in photographs, pictures of the process of learning and so on. The students were interacting with this documentation to reflect on how they learned.
I had always assumed documentation was for assessment purposes. Prior to a Reggio workshop I attended I assumed assessment was all about looking for misconceptions in order to put to right such student 'wrongs'. I still believe this is what assessment is largely about in upper primary. One thing which was apparent was the level of fantasy in the early years. Children at that age have difficulty separating fantasy from reality. What struck me was that the Reggio teachers were not looking for misconceptions so much but were listening (e.g. by documenting and scribing conversations) in order to expand the students' thinking. So in the example I remember the child thought there were eggs in a cloud. Rather than arrange an activity for the child to discover they were wrong and to put to right this misconception, the teacher instead took this notion and arranged for the children to create model clouds with eggs in them. She asked for their creative input. In other words the teacher looked for the interest and belief to expand creatively rather than worry about the misconception. This was fascinating and seems to me to make sense.
Using Movie Maker (or IMovie) to document
At the United Nations International School of Hanoi several teachers are now documenting using iMovie. Here is one such example I was involved with today. Not early years but Grade 1. The teacher (Jen Kelly) will use this video next lesson so that in the words of Lela Gandini learners can view their learning from an external viewpoint. And thus learn to learn.