If you have been following my digital project you will know that I have been working on creating an in-depth guide to three apps that I have been studying. Seesaw, Wakelet, and TikTok.
Yesterday evening I had a conversation with Elizabeth Benno, a Digital Literacy Coach from Lovejoy ISD. Elizabeth is a Seesaw Ambassador and she speaks all over Texas on how to integrate technology in the classroom. I met Elizabeth in a Seesaw PD Session that she held in Austin, Texas in February 2020. Now, due to some technical glitches on my behalf, I was unable to get the recording on the audio or the video from my conversation with Elizabeth so my blog post will have to do for this week’s major update.
Below summarizes some key points of our conversation that we had in our great discussion all around how to integrate Seesaw in the classroom.
How are teachers using Seesaw in the classroom?
Some of the ways that teachers are using Seesaw in the classroom is to provide a glimpse into what is going on in the student’s day. Some teachers may just take a picture and post that picture to the student’s learning journal. Some of the teachers that Elizabeth is working with also use Seesaw as a platform to support the Global Read Aloud Project. Students are able to share their learning through their learning journals and it can be expanded to connect with other classrooms through Seesaw’s built-in blog. In Lovejoy ISD, Elizabeth has stated that their goal for Seesaw is the following. “Teachers will have at least one form of evidence for each outcome, recorded and documented in Seesaw”.
- Elizabeth has shared that teachers begin by using Seesaw to share the gems as to what is going on in the classroom.
- Global read aloud
- School District has a goal that every standard will have evidence in Seesaw.
2. How can we make connections with others using Seesaw?
Seesaw allows us to connect up to 10 family members to one student’s blog. This is a powerful tool that we can use to extend the ability for our students to have an audience. Elizabeth talked about how using Seesaw for Schools allowed administrators to the ability to comment on student work. This allows for collaboration and relationship building within the school.
One of the highlights of Seesaw is the ability to use the classroom blog feature. Seesaw blogs are a safe way to interact with and connect with other classes. These are teacher moderated, can be set to public blogs or password-protected blogs. Once a teacher signs up for blogs you can connect to other classrooms using Seesaw Blogs. This is a powerful took that Elizabeth uses with the teachers she works with to connect with others for the Global Read Aloud Project.
3. How can teachers get started with Seesaw and What are Some Ideas to Dive Deeper with?
The starting place for teachers is to get them to highlight some of the great things that are happening in the classroom. This could be as simple as taking pictures of the student’s work. However, soon teachers need to relinquish this control and give students control over their own student portfolios. Seesaw is most powerful when students take control of their work.
Elizabeth shared a great story and lesson around a Global Classroom Project that she initiated with a teacher in her school district in Texas, a teacher in Canada and a teacher in New Zealand. In this experience, the students educated each other on their interests and parts of their culture. This project inspired students to educate each other on different games, sports teams, among many other differences.
4. What is the Difference between Seesaw for Schools and the Free Version of Seesaw?
Seesaw for Schools and Seesaw Plus allow you access to the skills portion students achieve. The skills section is a great tool that allows educators to provide students with a mark on a 3-6 point scale. Elizabeth highlighted that since Seesaw for Schools the digital portfolio follows the student from year to year. The teacher could look in the past to view if a student struggled in a certain standard/outcome or indicator. This is a great tool to see growth over the years, or to identify areas that students need assistance in.
Furthermore, students have access to drafts in Seesaw. This allows students to save work in progress and finish it later. This is a premium feature only available in Seesaw for Schools and Seesaw Plus.
Seesaw for Schools offers regional data storage options which were very important to my school division’s decision to purchase Seesaw for Schools. This means that data that is entered into Seesaw is held in Canada, rather than the United States. It is also integrated with our Student Information System (SIS).
5. How do you engage parents with Seesaw?
This starts early. Have a Seesaw station at an open house or meet the teacher night early in the year, help parents get on Seesaw, learn about Seesaw. By getting parents on board with Seesaw early in the school year provides the opportunity for parents to learn how Seesaw works. Be sure to send home the highlights of your students as parents love to see what their children are doing at school.