Seesaw: Using a Portfolio-Based LMS in Elementary Classes

Teacher Blogger  |  By Marie-Eve L.

SeeSaw LogoSeesaw 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

Liam typing his name and drawing his teacher via the Seesaw AppSeesaw 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) .

Continue reading “Seesaw: Using a Portfolio-Based LMS in Elementary Classes”

Online Proctoring: A Look at the Software that are Watching You

Teacher Blogger  |  By Kathleen G 

e1It was in 2018, during the end of my second undergraduate degree, when I first heard the term “online proctoring”. Until that time, and throughout my other undergraduate experiences, exams had always been synonymous with a classroom and a person standing at the front.  The concept of having an online proctor made a ton sense. Many for credit degrees and courses have made the move to completely online, so it made sense that the required proctored exams followed.  Many students make use of these services for various reasons including convenience, flexibility and accessibility – many of the same reasons people choose online education over face-to-face education in the first place. It seems like the perfect match.

What is Online Proctoring?

e2So, what exactly is online proctoring? Well, to start, it differs from remote proctoring, although these terms are sometimes used synonymously.  The term online proctoring is a very specific term that describes a student’s exam being proctored by a human with the use of the internet and a webcam (Foster & Layman, 2013).  Remote proctoring is different as it can describe an exam that takes place anywhere outside what is considered the standard testing area (testing site, proctor that comes to the house, etc.) (Foster & Layman, 2013). While the perception is that this technology is relatively new in the last few years, it really isn’t. While many more software companies have emerged, the first company, Kryterion, emerged back in 2006 (Foster & Layman, 2013).  Other popular companies include ProctorU, which I will discuss the most in this blog because of personal experience.

The Good, The Bad, and The Awkward…Has Anyone Evaluated the Evaluators?

So, I am sure you are thinking, “That sounds great; tell me more!” So, let’s talk about the pros and cons. As in most decisions, there are positives and many negatives that need to be considered; but let’s look at this as a glass half full situation and look at some positives first. In 2013, David Foster of Caveon Test Security and Harry Layman of The College Board put together a report that compared these systems called Online Proctoring Systems Compared. In this article they listed the three valuable benefits to adopt online proctoring vs traditional proctoring (Foster & Layman, 2013):

e4Traditional proctoring is not as secure as we once thought. Online proctoring addresses these weaknesses. Online proctoring can detect cheating JUST as much as in person proctoring – possibly better.

On-site proctors are not always trained and motivated to ensure the academic integrity required. Not all are instructors or teaching assistants, and some may even be volunteers.

Proctoring software is becoming more capable, which is gaining the attention of many students and institutions.

Continue reading “Online Proctoring: A Look at the Software that are Watching You”