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Pros: Intuitive for students and teachers. Tons of ideas up for grabs in the Activity Library.
Cons: In the paid skills feature, skills and standards must be manually entered.
Bottom Line: A powerful multimedia learning and communication tool that demonstrates student progress over time.
Seesaw provides opportunities for students and teachers to really think creatively and demonstrate learning in different ways. Students can show their work and thought processes in real time by submitting a video of themselves working through a math problem, snapping a picture of a paragraph they wrote, recording themselves reading a speech, or uploading a file from a device, cloud locations, or Google Drive to demonstrate their learning. Encourage kids to submit a series of images along with notes that tell the story that connects them. Or let kids collaborate with each other by sharing student responses and using peer feedback to offer suggestions on writing content, scientific hypotheses, or creative ideas.
Teachers at all grade levels and across all content areas can use Seesaw to keep digital portfolios of student work, including responding to student submissions via written or voice comments. You can communicate with families easily and share student work with them, or push out assignments to students to individualize instruction. For teachers who wish to connect their classes with a broader audience, consider sharing students' submissions via a personalized class blog. As with any parent communication platform, it's important to remember that it's possible some parents don't have easy access to tech and/or may not be super comfortable using tech, so find out what support parents might need to use the platform effectively.
Seesaw (formerly known as Seesaw: The Learning Journal) is a robust digital portfolio and interactive learning platform where teachers can create meaningful multimedia experiences for students. To get started, teachers can manually enter students or integrate classes from Google Classroom. If younger students don't have email accounts, there's also an option for them to sign in using a QR or text code. Whether teachers create their own activities or draw from the extensive library of teacher-created and rated content, assigned tasks engage students with a variety of work in the form of videos, photos, text, images, files, and drawings. Teachers follow up by approving posts, offering feedback, and, if desired, making items accessible to families via the Seesaw Parent and Family app (available online and via Android or iOS). Since teachers can view all students' submissions at once, it's an easy way to check for whole-class understanding. Teachers can also enable peer-to-peer feedback or create a class blog to encourage a richer, more connected experience. For added security, blogs can be password protected, and teachers moderate posts before they are made public.
Designed with an intuitive interface, Seesaw logically leads teachers through processes such as creating assignments, recording directions, providing student feedback, and sending one-to-one or group messages to students, parents, or families. Translation is available if the device language settings are different from the original message. The Help Center provides lots of support as well as professional development online for teachers. A paid upgrade allows adding and tracking of skills mastery, portfolios that travel with kids from year to year, multipage posts, and more.
In a digital learning environment, keeping all stakeholders informed of student progress can be a challenge, but Seesaw accomplishes that and more. It does so much to engage students, provide evidence of learning, and encourage self-reflection -- and teachers can access it for free. Audio, video, and drawing options add tons of opportunities to differentiate and personalize learning, enabling teachers to accommodate a variety of learning preferences without a lot of extra effort. Teachers can enable student likes, comments, and editing as well, providing opportunities for collaboration, peer-to-peer feedback, and social and emotional learning experiences. Notably, teachers may choose to moderate comments which, while time-consuming, may prevent inappropriate comments or inadvertently showing a student's struggles with writing or spelling. Communication with all students and parents is a snap, thanks to Seesaw's messaging, translation, and announcement features. Plus, having both formative and summative data and evidence of student work is especially handy for student or parent conferences.
While teachers may not like that there's no place to enter or track grades, doing so would feel almost antithetical. The focus is on mastery of standards, and teachers can monitor students' progress toward key skills (paid version) instead of pinning students to number or letter grades that fail to show the complete picture. And the paid version also allows portfolios to travel with students from year to year. Designed to show both process and product, Seesaw is a powerful platform for kids to demonstrate evidence of learning over time.