Let’s start this technology blog post series off with a product that I am VERY passionate about: Seesaw: The Learning Journal
What is Seesaw?
If you don’t already know what Seesaw is, QUICK!!! click the link below to watch a brief video explaining what Seesaw is and how it is commonly used for educators!
Phewf! Now that we are all on the same page, I would first like to start by saying, from a teachers perspective, WOW! SEESAW IS TRULY INCREDIBLE! Let me tell you, and more importantly, show you why:
An Incredible Learning Tool
Seesaw is an online digital portfolio that “empowers students of any age to independently document what they are learning at school” ~ Seesaw.
Seesaw is an incredible tool that allows children to showcase their learning, take pride in it, and share it with personal audiences that they care about! In my Kindergarten classroom, I have many family members linked to their child’s journals, even some people from across the world! Seesaw connects the children to people they love, people they actually WANT and are excited to share their learning journey with!
Here the students in my full day Kindergarten class are using Seesaw and the ease in its use is fantastic! Students can document their understanding, share an idea, or showcase a creation, all with the simplicity of a few taps. Students are able to do all of this in seconds!
Teacher Controlled & Completely Private
The best part about it? Teachers have 100% control over what is approved and published to each child’s journal, ensuring posts are academic and appropriate for sharing purposes. As shown in the photo above, I have full control as to whether I click approve or not (simple √ or x). If so, this item would be added to the child’s journal instantly, sending notifications of the new item to parents as well!
Journals are also COMPLETELY PRIVATE and only shared between the teacher and the connected family members! Family members easily connect to their child by scanning a QR code, instantly linking them to their child’s journal! Family members also have the option to like ❤ and comment on their child’s work through text or audio, sharing their excitement and enthusiasm about what has been posted! This is also a GREAT way for teachers to communicate with parents directly through the app!
Students LOVE It
Children absolutely LOVE using Seesaw and posting items has become a part of their daily routines in my classroom. Children are trusted to do this with independence and rarely need ANY assistance or support. They are learning how to use this device with purpose and how it can extend their learning through explanation and thought out descriptions of what they are doing at school. The most time I spent explaining Seesaw to the children happened in the first 1-2 weeks of introduction (this would be dependent on grade level), after that the kids picked up on it quickly, with enthusiasm and an eagerness to document their learning right away!
The children love using Seesaw and enjoy talking about their work. They also create incredible stories and imaginative explanations through this app. In this example, a child is explaining their picture of a fox. Listen to the story that was created by them… and guess what!? That amazing creation was captured on Seesaw to share and use for assessment purposes!
These direct quotes from students are reason enough to use Seesaw!
“I like Seesaw because we get to draw and talk about characters and we get to talk about school. I like sharing it with my parents because I love them.”
“I like Seesaw because I like to say stuff to my mom and dad about my work at school.”
“I like Seesaw because it is fun and because you can talk through what you did and I like sharing it with my Mom and Dad and my Grandma and Grandpa and everyone who I know.”
“I like sharing with my Mom pictures that I take of the drawings I do at school, Mom always says WOW!”
“I like drawing pictures with Seesaw because I get to talk about what I drew.”
“I like sharing with my Mom and Dad my journal writing because it is fun and I like sharing and reading my sentences.”
“I like showing my Mommy and Daddy the beautiful work that I make at school. Mommy and Daddy always tell me how much they like it. I like doing the drawing so I can circle what the things I did are.”
*Please note: when new features are added to Seesaw, they are always accompanied with lots of information from the company regarding how to pass it along to your students with success*
Seesaw is also so much fun to use as a learning tool FOR creation, not only for sharing completed work! Children are encouraged to create IN Seesaw, using features such as video and the Draw and Record feature to assist them. My kids love to go on Word Hunts, for example, finding, reading, and writing words that they find around the classroom and school, all completed through the app. Teachers and parents can see first hand what the child is doing, if they are able to read the words they find, and they can focus in on the child’s letter casing when writing too! Children also enjoy using this feature to explain their mathematical thinking, their problem solving skills, and to express how they know the answer to a challenging problem!
Tons of Features
Seesaw is JAM-PACKED with easy-to-use features! Students are able to take photos and apply audio to them. They can draw, video, access the camera roll to use Seesaw with other applications, and write notes or add links. The possibilities are truly ENDLESS and it is amazing how it can be used across all grade levels! If you click here, you will see that Seesaw has compiled an incredible selection of tips for getting started, lesson plans and ideas for implementing its use with your grade level, as well as videos to help you understand just how incredible this tool is!
Here some of the kids in Grade 2 are exploring with Seesaw for the first time, adding selfies to test out some of the features! They are thrilled to have been introduced to it and they are eager to start using it on a daily basis in their classroom too!
Student Work Samples
Below are a few more examples of how kids in my classroom are using Seesaw! I love how, being a HUGE Twitter fan, you can easily share and upload items from Seesaw to various social media platforms with a quick tap. These are posted anonymously too!
Compatibility with Other Apps
If there wasn’t already enough to love, Seesaw is also compatible with other educational apps that allow students to easily create and share from different ED Tech platforms. Some of our favourite applications that we use with Seesaw are ChatterPix Kids and Shadow Puppet Edu!
These FREE storytelling apps easily allow us to create amazing projects and save them to our camera roll, accessing it simply with Seesaw.
ChatterPix Kids allows us to make our pictures talk by applying audio and adding a mouth to our creations, bringing them to life! The kids LOVE this app and it is a GIGGLE GUARANTEE! Here a child used this app to make their Thanksgiving turkey talk!
Shadow Puppet Edu gives us the ability to put a series of photos together, adding audio and turning it into a storybook! Here I created a Shadow Puppet story to explain some of the exciting routines in Kindergarten A!
Global Connections Through Seesaw
Through Seesaw, you can also easily create links around the world with global connections and other tech savvy teachers who are eager to connect! In my Kindergarten class, we joined a Seesaw Link-Up project (shout out to Angela Gadtke for inviting us) connecting regularly with classrooms, teachers and students in Northern Ireland, India and the United States of America! The children are thrilled every day to see the comparisons between schools and they enjoy learning about our new friends across the globe! The video below shows our self portraits that we shared with these friends, created in Shadow Puppet Edu!
Parents React to Seesaw
Not only does Seesaw benefit children in their abilities to use technology for purpose, but it also allows them to explain their learning and uncover meaning and understanding in their school careers. Children should be proud of the work they do and they should be excited to share it with others! Parents are thrilled with Seesaw and the connections it brings them to their child on a day-to-day basis! Here are some of the reasons that parents in my class LOVE having Seesaw as a learning tool in their child’s classroom:
“It is a great way to see what the kids are up to. We have also signed up both Grandmas and they are enjoying getting the posts very much. My child is very proud of his posts and loves to look at them, replay them and sit with us, his siblings, relatives, friends, grandmas and grandpas and tell them all about the posts. In short, I think it is fantastic!” ~ Michelle V.
“Seesaw is awesome. Personally, having two kids on it at very different levels, I find its uses multifaceted. I love seeing what my child is up to in the classroom and it is fun to watch” ~ Emma L.“I think the app is fantastic. I love throughout the day getting little updates about what my child is doing. And it’s also a great way to talk to him about his day.I highly recommend it for other teachers!” ~ Mary-Anne C.“I love Seesaw! It’s as simple as that. The updates that I get throughout the day are often the highlights of my day. It is so wonderful to be able to see not only what my son is doing (since getting that information directly from him is next to impossible), but to also see how happy he is. Miss Kim uses it regularly and it helps us engage in conversations about how our son is progressing. I am able to send her (and my son) comments and questions directly through the app. It is an informative and fun tool. LOVE the Seesaw!” ~ Luigi R.“My child seems to be gaining confidence. He is a shy child, and we’ve noticed that he is coming out of his shell more — that is evidenced by his enthusiasm in sharing his projects through Seesaw. It’s really nice to see the pride he has in the work he is sharing with us and it gives a great starting point to conversation with what happened at school.” ~ Christina R.
Assessments Made EASY
The possibilities with Seesaw are truly endless and I fully support and encourage all educators to try it out and adopt it into their classrooms and schools! Not only is it amazing for students, but it is also an incredible assessment tool for teachers!
Long gone are the many random pieces of paper with assessment notes scattered and scribbled about (I know you know what I mean) 😉 Seesaw keeps everything in one easily-accessible place: notes, audio messages, pictures, videos, all assessment needs are met! The easiest way to do this for me was to create a separate class for assessments only with no parent access given. This class is a forum for me to document any anecdotal notes and assessment thoughts throughout each day at school, filed nicely into folders and under each child’s name!
When I go to write reports, I can click on each child individually, seeing only their work, as well I can click on the folders (Math, Language Arts, etc) and assess from specific topic! Report card writing has never been so easy!
Can we say Seesaw to the RESCUE!?!
From my extreme interest and support with this product, I have become a Seesaw Ambassador, eager to share my passion with others!!
I am constantly learning more about this product and am very eager to share my knowledge and love of it with others! Connect with me on Twitter @ClimbandGrow, comment below, or send me an email if you ever have ANY questions or need help with using or introducing this product in your classroom!
Join us for #SeesawChat every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 5pm MT on Twitter where educators around the world using Seesaw meet, discuss and share!
I hope this post gives you a bit more information on using Seesaw! I know I love it and I have been spreading the word throughout my school and the social media world of education because it is necessary! I hope you recognize the benefits of Seesaw and jump to use it with your students very soon!
For the LOVE of technology, I HIGHLY recommend Seesaw!
*insert two thumbs up*
~ Miss Kim