My school’s Primary Section spent last year trialling Seesaw as an alternative to paper-pencil portfolios. The buy-in we got from teachers, parents, and students alike was extraordinary. As we move into a “Phase II” of Seesaw implementation this year, I’ve been tasked with moving teachers from simply using Seesaw as a showcase of student work, to a model that fully takes advantage of all of the features that Seesaw has to offer.
In this post, I am going to be taking about two very different Seesaw users, Teacher A and Teacher B. Teacher A uses Seesaw as an online journaling and portfolio tool, and nothing more. I imagine that the majority of teachers casually using Seesaw today fit into this category. Teacher B, however, uses Seesaw to its fullest potential, and considers Seesaw to be an extension of the physical learning environment more than just a hub for storing pictures and videos.
Teacher A has kids taking pictures of worksheets.
Teacher A simply sticks to taking pictures of worksheets and posting them onto Seesaw. I am going to be using this M&M worksheet as an example throughout this article. Let’s see what Teacher B would do with the very same assignment.
Teacher B Uses the Note Tool to Assign the Task, Putting the Instructions in the Students’ Hands.
Using notes in Seesaw is an essential communication tool for Teacher B. Teacher B doesn’t write the instructions on the board, or project a PowerPoint; She puts the instructions right into the students’ hands.
Teacher B Has A Video Channel For Students that Need Help, or Need an Extension Activity
Teacher B wants their students to know how to do this assignment, so they have created quick instructional videos and uploaded them to their Teacher Channel. Teacher B’s students know where to go for help, and quickly throw on their headphones and solve their problem.
I’ve talked before about the importance of creating a “Fake Student” to flip your classroom. Whenever a student needs help with an assignment, such as the M&M graphing example, they can go to your Teacher Channel and watch the video that you’ve created for them. I use a document camera + a piece of paper most of the time, and I create the videos while the students are in between things. There is very little prep, and it helps students to be self-directed with their learning.
Teacher B Develops the Activity Using a Variety of Apps.
Teacher B understands that one of Seesaw’s greatest advantages is that it is compatible with almost any app – See What Apps is Seesaw Compatible With? – so posts another note to instruct students to input their data onto Numbers or Keynote.
Teacher B would never stop at just photographing a worksheet for formality’s sake, but would take the original activity and develop it so that students are getting the most out of the task.
Teacher B Links External Tools Such as Polls, Online Sticky Notes and Quizzes.
To consolidate data in this M&M’s activity, Teacher B uses an external tool such as Poll Daddy, or Survey Monkey, and links it to her classroom using the Link Tool. In this way, the students can see which of the M&M’s were the most frequently featured in the class.
The Link Tool: The Most Underutilized Tool on Seesaw?
One of the areas that I want to focus on this year with my school is how to build resources and activities by using what is available online. Instead of writing down links to things, or projecting them on PowerPoint, why not put the links to Padlet, Quizlet, PollDaddy, etc, onto Seesaw? Something I’ve yet to do, but will soon, is to create a “Fake Student” named Mr. Link that just has the latest links to all of the things that we are working on.
Teacher B Uses Social Media to Extend the Conversation
Teacher B uses his class Twitter account to ask the M&M company about the data that was found, hopefully prompting a response or retweet. Teacher B understands how to leverage the power of social media with Seesaw.
Teacher A had students do a paper-pencil activity, and take a picture of it. Yes, some of the parents may have seen it, but the conversation ended there. Teacher B, on the other hand, took the opportunity to use multiple native and non-native tools within Seesaw, and ultimately deepen student learning. There are so many more ways to use Seesaw to its fullest potential that will have to be saved for another article.
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