Seesaw: The Learning Journal is an application created by Adrian Graham and Carl Sjogreen with the intention that students and teachers use it to build and share their personal digital pedagogy. Seesaw captures student’s growth starting in kindergarten up until they graduate in High School through pictures, videos, voice recordings, and drawings. With multiple options, you can use captions and labels so that parents/guardians know exactly what their child is exploring at school. Parents will not be getting the typical response when asking “What did you do at school today?”, they can continue the learning from school to home. (Shah & Antonow, 2016)
Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that empowers students of any age to independently document what they are learning at school and share it with their teachers, parents, classmates, and even the world. – Seesaw
I have been using Seesaw for the past two years in each of my Kindergarten classes. My teaching partner and I have been finding Seesaw to be exceptionally well received this year, so much so that we have been encouraging other teachers to use it in their classrooms and I was even chosen to be a Seesaw Ambassador last year. Being an advocate for Seesaw got me thinking, it would be beneficial to personally be aware of the features and limitations that the software contains. The article Practical Guidelines for Evaluating Educational Software by June S. Goyne, Sharon K. McDonough & Dara D. Padgett reflects on questions that teachers and administrators should ask themselves when evaluating educational software for their classroom/school. With the education system encouraging blended learning, technology is being used to extend, document, and further the inquiry process for each child’s learning. When using a software system like Seesaw you are embracing blended learning within the classroom and using technology as a learning tool to in partnership with traditional teaching. A couple points mentioned in the article reference to features that help create a successful software include authentic learning, interactive approach, and accessibility. I used these points to evaluate the features and limitations that I observed while using Seesaw. (Goyne, 2000)
✅ Features of Seesaw:
- Seesaw is consistent with learning outcomes by offering a variety of approaches for capturing for different types of learning such as, taking pictures to document and then draw in the details, or even by taking videos to capture the excitement the students share. This is also helpful considering many teachers use different approaches in their curriculum, Seesaw is able to be used in both structured and unstructured curriculum depending on the specific outcome desired children can capture their learning in the same way it is presenting, like through writing or pictures. Seesaw also offers authentic learning as the activities and projects offer students an opportunity to directly apply their knowledge or skills to real-world situations.
- Seesaw allows the learner to make choices by using hypermedia and hypertext to create links connected with their media such as notes, drawings, video clips, audio clips, pictures and even web sites and sharing with Google Drive, Twitter, and Pinterest. This encourages learners to be in control of their learning and experiences by being interactive and staying engaged during instruction.
- Seesaw is available for free online and iOS/Android app, which allows enough licensed copies for the classroom. Each account is accessible to students, co-teachers and parents and has unlimited amount of space so that teachers can share students work and uploads. If you wish to purchase additional features, Seesaw Plus is is available per class, school, or even board.
“95% of teachers say that Seesaw helps teach their students 21st Century skills and use technology more effectively.” – Seesaw
“92% of teachers report an increase in parent involvement and engagement since using Seesaw.” – Seesaw
🚫 Limitations of Seesaw:
- Seesaw is user friendly and there are lots of online videos for assistance,. It would be helpful if there was guidance in the app itself although to accommodate needs while in the app it would benefit to add in a variety of media such as animation or video with detailed explanation to assist when needs arise. Not only will this help with teachers as they set up their class accounts but it would also accommodate students with diverse learning styles during a learning opportunity without having to break and wait for teacher assistance.
When you decide that your ready to start using Seesaw in your classroom make sure that you have time to invest as it becomes addictive! Start off by asking a co-worker or friend who already uses Seesaw if they can help you or check Twitter and YouTube – there are lots of great videos to help you get started, like this one. Get your children and parents involved and encourage them to turn on their notifications so they will be notified when you post something new. Explore all the fun things that Seesaw has to offer and be creative! Follow blogs, YouTube channels, twitter accounts and even check with other co-workers to see what their class is inquiring about and see the different ways they sharing their learning.
Here’s one last tip to end. Once you feel you have the basics of working with Seesaw down, I recommend looking at Teacher Tool Kit for Seesaw created by Zach Groshelle and Stephanie Groshell, founders of Education Rickshaw. This shares 6 helpful resources on Seesaw that illustrate “how to go beyond simply posting student work to creating an environment that facilitates learning” (Rickshaw, 2016).
Here are some other articles about Seesaw:
Education Rickshaw., (2016), Teacher Tool Kit for Seesaw. Retrieved from https://educationrickshaw.com/2016/10/21/teacher-tool-kit-for-seesaw/
Hill, Adam., (2017), Seesaw information (from a new Seesaw Ambassador). Retrieved from https://mrhillmusings.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/seesaw-information-from-a-new-seesaw-ambassador/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-5
June S. Goyne, Sharon K. McDonough & Dara D. Padgett (2000), Practical Guidelines for Evaluating Educational Software, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 73:6, 345-348, DOI: 10.1080/00098650009599441. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00098650009599441
Literacy Tools., (2017), Seesaw – Student Driven Digital Portfolios. Retrieved from http://www.reynoldsliteracytools.com/seesaw.html
Shah, Avni & Antonow, Eric., (2016), Interview with Adrian Graham and Carl Sjogreen. Retrieved from https://learningstuff.org/interview-with-adrian-graham-and-carl-sjogreen-1bb6de384b7a
Seesaw, (2017), Retrieved from https://web.seesaw.me
Youtube, Seesaw., (2016), What is Seesaw? Introduction for Families. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzlrtDR84KY