Teacher Blogger | By Marie-Eve L.
Seesaw is a 2 tiered learning-management system designed to showcase students’ work, just like a personal portfolio. There are two different applications or levels to this system: Seesaw Class which is used by teachers and students in the classroom, and Seesaw Family, where parents and other family members can view students’ showcased work. Although this blog will describe both aspects of Seesaw, Seesaw Class will be mostly discussed.
In order to access Seesaw, a student must have a code: either a QR code or a temporary text code provided by the teacher. Other login options are also available (such as email or Clever) as long as they are linked to the student who is logging in. Once the student logs in, they have access to different tabs such as: the journal, where all of their approved work is showcased, the activities, where students can view and complete interactive activities assigned by a teacher, the inbox, where students can receive class-wide messages from their teachers, and the blog (if activated) where they can view and post work that is available to a wider audience than just family members that have access to Seesaw Family.
As an educator, you have access to every class that you teach by clicking on the class to have access to all of the students’ portfolios. Teachers can also communicate with their class as well as with parents through inbox, and can create a class blog where specific students’ work can be showcased to whomever has the blog address. Finally, educators have access to an activity-creating and assigning platform, where they can create and assign interactive activities as well as view and assign activities from a bank of lessons created by Seesaw users from around the world.
A little background knowledge
Seesaw was co-founded in 2013 by Carl Sjogreen Adrian Graham and Charles Lin, who transformed their unsuccessful app Shadow Puppet into a sharing and digital activities center geared for elementary students and teachers. The app is geared toward young student accessibility and safety: Even in the free version of Seesaw, there are no advertisements, and teachers have the same privacy controls as with the paid version in order to protect the privacy of all students. The content created and/or posted on the app never becomes owned by Seesaw, but stays the property of the poster. Seesaw has strict privacy protocols and is compliant with many international privacy laws such as FERPA, COPPA, GDPR, MFIPPA, and the Australian Privacy Act. Data is stored in Amazon servers in the United States by default, although Seesaw for Schools paying customers can choose to have their data stored in Canadian, Australian, or EU servers.
What makes Seesaw a worthwhile tool?
Seesaw, as opposed to other learning management systems, is designed with younger audiences in mind. The overall platform design is bright and simple, and uses both words and icons in order to make it easier for younger learners. Seesaw is fully customizable to suit the teacher’s needs: settings can be set to 1:1 or shared device classrooms, and permissions can be set for students to be able to see and/or comment on each other’s work or not. Settings can also be set so that students can collaborate on work and then “tag” all of their partners so that the work appears on every student’s portfolio but teachers will only be viewing and grading one activity. Teachers have the option to record their instructions for their young learners so they have access to both written and auditory directions. Once in an activity, students can take pictures or videos using the camera icons, and can record their voice using the microphone icon making it easier for “ learners with weak writing skills that may be hesitant to contribute in class activities that are primarily text based” (Rice, 2012 P. 51) .