Seesaw: the Ultimate Digital Portfolio and Reflection Tool

Seesaw is the kind of app I have been waiting for. All teachers know that student reflection is important and that timely feedback is paramount, but both of these things are notoriously difficult to track. I needed something that showed my students the progress they had made, allowed comments on their work and did not require my students to be over 13 to use!

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Seesaw Landing Page

Let’s start with the QR code sign in. I know that a teacher must have been behind this particular feature, because only a teacher who had faced 25 simultaneous questions about ‘Which one is my user name?’ and children’s password typos would include it. Once you sign up and add in your students names, you are sent a QR code poster that allows the children to sign in.¬†They just need to find the app and point the camera at the QR code and away they go! I have never had this many 7 year olds sign in this successfully all at once before.

Moving on to the incredibly simple layout. They layout (below) makes this app incredibly easy for everyone to use, including early readers who can use the images as a guide. It includes everything you need to create a fantastic digital portfolio, with no superfluous buttons to be accidentally pressed. In our very first half an hour session with Seesaw, none of my Year 2 students needed help with choosing the correct icon – they all just used the simple text and images to discover it by themselves. This gave me a lot more time that I could then spend assisting students with improving their content, rather than just solving technical issues.

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Of course, not all of the reflection work I need students to document can be photographed or typed. Sometimes they will create work in other apps that they would also like to reflect on. Again, that is not a problem in Seesaw. Students just need to click the share button in almost every app to export their product to Seesaw. My class tried this with Book Creator, and it worked so quickly that we even had time for them to leave feedback on their classmates’ work. If you are not sure how to export from any particular app, Seesaw provides a fairly extensive list of apps and instructions on how to export products from them into the students’ portfolios.

The final aspect of Seesaw I love, is that it is so easy for students to share their work with their parents. If they have an iPad at home, parents can download the Seesaw Parent app to view their child’s work. Alternatively, they are always welcome to use one of the class iPads before and after school to view what their child has been doing in class. It is very easy to filter the children’s work so that a parent can only see their child’s work. it would be perfect for student lead conferences, as it is easy for students to show their progress and their reflections on what they have learnt through each task.

I will definitely be posting in the near future on some of the ways that I have used Seesaw in my classroom. Until then, how have you used Seesaw with your class?

Rebecca Davies

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