To say that the app Seesaw: The Learning Journal has changed the way I teach after 8 years in the profession is a big statement. But truthfully this app is what two of my department have called a ‘game changer’. Thankfully the students seem to like it too and with its intuitive and attractive looking interface I can see why. Described as a student-driven digital portfolio that empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school; Seesaw is an electronic exercise book, a way to share video projects, a peer assessment tool and more.
How can Seesaw be used?
To share worksheets with the class
- This week I shared exam questions with the students which they annotated and reposted within the app.
- Also sharing mark schemes is genius using Seesaw as it can handle pdf’s with ease.
- I often display student answers on the board to assess as a class.
- Students can leave verbal feedback for each other to suggest improvements.
- Year 7 and 10 filmed videos with a voice over to explain various key concepts.
- They can also type an explanation, definition or label a photo.
The students were highly engaged with each of these activities and its use can be developed as it links with so many other apps for direct uploads (apps such as Mindly, Google Drive, iMovie and many more). The settings within the app are easy to navigate and you can have it configured so students can view each other’s work freely or make each student’s account only visible to you. I chose the latter, but to help with differentiation I share specific help sheets or examples with the whole class or selected students when necessary.
I already use Seesaw as an electronic exercise book for several of my classes. If they take images of their classwork, I can check that graphs are draw correctly and conclusions written in full all without having to collect in a single book. I can mark anywhere I have my iPad with me (also the web access is good and there is an Android app too). The students are receiving near instant feedback on how to improve their answers and I am spotting misconceptions much earlier, which I can address with that student next lesson.
You can review students work more regularly without taking in books
It allows for more creativity in lesson or homework activities
You can flag work for follow up discussions with the student
You can allow parental access to boost the communication with home
You can group work by topic which will help with revision
It can be difficult to keep track of which students have completed an assignment, but this is something Seesaw say they are working on.
I am constantly thinking of ways to improve the use of this app and will post more soon. If you use Seesaw let me know which function you like best!