It’s been a busy start to the year as usual, and there have been so many new and exciting things going on. One thing which I have been using for just over a week now is the Seesaw app. Seesaw is an app which I saw a while back, looked at briefly and filed away under my “must have a look at when I get more time” section. The app was brought to my attention again this year by the wonderful Laura Dickinson. Laura is a gem of a resource if you are based in North Tyneside, she is so enthusiastic and full of great ideas and support. If you are in North Tyneside (or near) I strongly recommend you get in touch, as her enthusiasm and support certainly drive things forward.
As a Seesaw Ambassador, Laura talked me through the features and uses in the classroom, and beyond. She then helped me get setup, although it really is simple (a case of creating classes, drag and drop to upload children’s names, and create a profile). Once the children are uploaded I created a colour coded folder for each subject, so work can be filed in the relevant location and the subject easily identified when scrolling through the class timeline.
Seesaw is basically an online learning journal where children can upload their work to their profile. This is brilliant because it allows them to access and upload their work from anywhere with a wi-fi connection, as well as providing valuable evidence of all the wonderful practical, creative and digital work that can otherwise go unnoticed. A real valuable tool to thrust into the faces of the ‘Big O’. What I particularly like about Seesaw is that it works with a variety of essential classroom apps. Apps such as Explain Everything, Book Creator, Pic Collage, iMovie and Puppet Edu to name a few, all work wonderfully well. If you cannot upload directly from the app using the share button, you can generally save it to camera roll and upload it. There are so many ways to evidence the learning that has taken place!
The children log in by using either a class code or scanning a QR code (something which I have laminated and given to children to keep in their learning toolkits). Once they have done this they are ready to go and can either upload from the app they are working in, or when they open Seesaw again, are taken to the page below.
From here they can take a photo or video from within the app which is instantly uploaded without the need to save to camera roll, they can draw, post something from the camera roll, write a note or embed a link which contains their work (which shows up directly on the platform). Once it has been uploaded it is then stored to give the teacher a chance to approve before going live, something invaluable as I found out when a child I was working with decided to include thousands of emoji’s in a maths problem-solving session! The work can then be marked in a variety of ways. A note can be written, a verbal feedback recorded, or annotations made using the draw feature. Another great feature for giving feedback is the share option. This allows you to upload it to social media, but more importantly, open it in another app. I have taken to opening the work in Explain Everything to give feedback using the excellent tools available there. From here I can either airdrop the feedback, email it, or upload it back to Seesaw. I have found this particularly helpful in giving feedback for PE lessons by annotating a video and giving verbal feedback to highlight positives and areas to improve. Using videos as evidence is brilliant to back up teacher judgements in subjects that are difficult to provide evidence for, such as PE, music, drama and art. A video also provides much more insight into the specific learning that has taken place in that session compared to a photograph stuck in a book, as you can see the involvement of the children and their role, rather than a single frame snapshot of the lesson. However to evidence the learning in books I have made a simple sticker to include alongside the Learning Intention and Success Criteria.
Another great feature in Seesaw is the option to link with parents. As I am trialling it in my school, I haven’t actually used it yet as we have been seeing how easy to use and effective it is, but I am definitely planning to utilise it after half term. The parents, or any other approved adult, receive a QR code or an email invitation to connect with their child. This allows them to only see their child’s work and has a Facebook feel to it (as seen below). They see their child’s feed, have the option to like, comment and interact with pupil and teacher, and they can share their child’s work too. This can be great way to promote involvement in the child’s learning, but also to share with parents who don’t see their children daily, as well as Grandparents and relatives who may live in different parts of the country or world. A brilliant feature, and one that I am very eager to explore.
I am excited by the possibilities that Seesaw can bring, but also at the level of ownership and interaction that I have seen from my Year 3 children. Teachers at my school who I have briefly shown are amazed and very keen to get on board. Which is something that really excites me. Have a look, I doubt you will regret it.