Seesaw…most definitely another one of my many passions.
My name is Stacey and I am passionate about Seesaw. No not the rocking plank at the playground, but rather the versatile and engaging “Learning Journal” for elementary students around the globe. I am so passionate in fact, that I became a Seesaw Ambassador, which means that I train, support and advocate for the use of Seesaw at my school and beyond. I have used Seesaw with students grades 3-6 and I wish I could say that I will never go back.
Unfortunately, in Ontario (and perhaps other areas as well), Seesaw is becoming obsolete in many schools. It is being banned by school boards due to privacy issues. I personally feel that this is criminal. I am not an expert on these settings. However, I believe that if we follow the agreed upon guidelines of not using names and other personal information, then we can still protect privacy. We need the benefits that this program provides. Here is my Letterman’s (I mean 1 Passionate Teacher’s) Top 10 list of why Seesaw should NOT be banned. Please note- Although Seesaw offers me incentives to be an ambassador, the features outlined are those included in the free version.
For all of you who are still allowed to use Seesaw and were thinking of giving it a try, this blog is for you.
If you use and LOVE Seesaw and just can’t resist reading about it’s awesomeness, this blog is for you.
For those of you who have been told that you can no longer use Seesaw and want to join my complaint train, this blog is for you. But mostly, for those of you who are responsible for the decision of banning this vital learning tool, this blog is definitely for you!
10. seesaw offers Seven apps all in one
Why go anywhere else? Seesaw offers a variety of functions all in one place. If we are worrying about student information being insecure, then wouldn’t it be better if we keep all of the learning in one place? I don’t need Educreations for a whiteboard, Flipgrid for video, Remind for parent communication, Wix for blogging, etc. etc., I just need Seesaw, which does it all. Less downloading, less password creation, less management of accounts. Makes perfect sense to me.
9. seesaw allows Links to ALL other apps
Even if you really wanted to give your students other options with different functionality, you still can with Seesaw. Seesaw allows the uploading of pretty much all other programs. Simply press the “Upload” or “Link” buttons and students can link files from their Google Drive, a file from the computer or a video. This includes files from other apps and website links as well.
8. Parent/ Student/ Teacher Communication
Parent communication is one of those oh so important aspects to teaching, that many of us struggle with. Calling, emailing, writing notes in an agenda that never gets returned…it all takes time; time that is already so limited. Seesaw to save the day again.
With the app directly on parents phones, Seesaw allows for instant direct messaging. Logging into another app takes time. When connected to their child’s account, parents get to see everything; every post, every feedback comment, every picture and every message directly to them. Could you image asking parents to connect to 7 different apps, just so that they can see everything? Or even worse, they just don’t see anything at all (flash back to my first few years of teaching…😞). My student’s parents now see EVERYTHING and that is the way it always should be. Students can also communicate directly with me and vise versa (I use notes for this) and with each other.
Last year during distance learning, I even used Seesaw to hold our community circles. (Please take a moment to read about how important including community circles are this year, in class or distance learning)! Ask any parent/ child in my class how they feel about Seesaw and communication will be part of their answer. Such a shame that we will have to inform them, that this will no longer be an option going forward.
7. seesaw helps you give immediate Feedback
When done right, feedback can be so time consuming. Seesaw allows me to give my students specific personalized feedback much faster. One way is to create rubric templates and add individualized comments for each student. Another is to simply add a text or voice note comment to the activity. Students can receive this feedback at home and at school, continuing to improve on teacher/ student communication. Teachers can choose to have their students continue to deepen their learning, by editing their work to apply the feedback given.
Speaking of communication, making sure that parents see the feedback that we are providing is also key. When parents know how they can help their child, they can have conversations with them about their learning. Even if it is just in passing, during their busy lives (trust me I know),these conversations are so helpful. If feedback helps students and their parents understand student learning, then let’s make it easy to do. Seesaw helps to ensure that that feedback is given in a timely fashion, is individualized, and that it is easily accessible.
6. seesaw makes Sending Resources easy
I believe in sending my students the lessons that we are working on. After we have completed a lesson together as a class or in a differentiated group, I send my student the lesson, so that they are able to refer back to it, study with it and use it however they need, at their individual pace. Although there are other platforms for doing this, Seesaw, once again, keeps everything in one place, where students and parents can access the information easily. This also acts as a way of keeping families up to date with what is being taught at that time and parents LOVE this! Of course, this is perfect for distance learning as well (My digital math guided lessons are a perfect example of lessons that I send to my students. Check them out in my TpT Store).
5. seesaw helps you with Organization
For us A type personality people, who crave organization, Seesaw uses folders, created by the teacher and students, to help keep activities grouped together. Parents, students and teachers can all use the folders to search for the resource/ information they are looking for easily and effectively. And then there is the newly added feature, where students now have a to-do list available to keep track of the activities that they haven’t completed, helpi
4. it offers lots of Activities
Seesaw activities is a fairly new feature that has been a game changer! Seesaw activities is a library of resources that teachers can search, save, then assign to their students at their leisure (sort of like Pinterest, but all FREE and more geared to your needs). The activities function tracks when students have and have not finished the task. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can also create your own activity to share with your colleagues, making teacher collaboration very convenient. Seesaw activities also provide opportunities for differentiation and choice, making them a perfect addition to our learning centers.
3. Teacher Choice is valuable
By banning Seesaw, it is taking away options from teachers; teachers who are using their professional judgement to do what they believe is right for their students. In my school board, we are actually being told that we have to start using one particular LMS. As long as we are following protocol for safety, we should be able to choose what works best for us and our students. After all, we differentiate for our students, so that everyone gets what they need. Don’t teachers deserve that too?
2. with seesaw, we can Differentiate lessons
Differentiation is yet another important aspect of teaching, that when done right, takes us time. Seesaw offers many opportunities for teachers to differentiate learning. Since, teachers can choose to upload a lesson, a task/ activity, rubrics and materials to an entire class or to specific groups, it makes giving each student what they need fast and efficient. Differentiation is also offered through student choice…
And the number one reason why Seesaw should NOT be banned…
1. Student Choice
I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming😀. Rather than giving our students one app to use for a particular project, Seesaw offers multiple differentiated choices. This helps students share thinking, both in app and on the web. With all of the research about multiple intelligence out there, it is important that we offer students a choice in how they make their thinking visible. Seesaw is the perfect tool for providing students with this choice.
Well, there you have it! The 10 reasons why it is criminal to take this learning tool, which promotes higher level thinking, away from our students. Please share a comment about why you love Seesaw and think it should be banned.
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P.S. The pictures used for this blog were taken from my Seesaw account, as well as products that I have available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. If there was anything that you want to know more about, please check out my shop or email me anytime.