My students and I used Seesaw regularly throughout last year. You can see my previous posts here. Since then, I have taken a break from Seesaw to assist with trialling some alternative portfolio/blogging platforms. Though there are many apps that are decent and constantly improving, Seesaw just seems to be one step ahead. For that reason, we have committed. Along with my colleagues Dickie and Fred, I have completed the online course to become a Seesaw Ambassador.
If you would like to become a Seesaw Ambassador yourself, follow this link.
During my break, Seesaw has continued to improve. This post will outline some of the developments that I will explore this year. If you are using Seesaw, consider its purpose and how you want to use it. Is it a way to communicate with parents/ a wider audience? Is it a showcase portfolio? Is it a tool for learning? Whatever your intention(s), consider how the following features could be used.
The following features are available in the free version of Seesaw:
Items from your class feed can be published to a Seesaw class blog. These blogs can be publicly accessed but can be password protected. From the feed view, simply click the blog icon on any item. This will push the item (along with the comments) to the class blog. What a wonderfully easy way to share learning with an authentic audience! If you have a public Seesaw blog, feel free to leave the URL address in the comments section below. I’d love to take a look and leave some words of encouragement.
Students can add more information to their drawings/photographs with the labelling function. Up to fifty labels can be added to each post and the style/colour of the labels can be edited.
If comments, captions or notes are added to Seesaw in a language different from your device’s setting, an option to ‘see translation’ will appear. Seesaw will translate the text to your preferred language. This is available for over fifty languages on all platforms. In my bilingual school with both English and Mandarin instruction, this feature will be invaluable! My Chinese partner understands my English, but I can’t read her Chinese text (or my students’ Chinese text). Most of my students and parents speak English as an additional language (some of the parents don’t speak English at all). It is fantastic that language does not need to be a barrier when communicating within the school community. Simply click ‘see translation’.
The following features are available in Seesaw Plus. Seesaw Plus is free for Seesaw Ambassadors. Other teachers will pay US$120 per year. For a one-month free trial of Seesaw Plus (with no commitment necessary) follow this link and either sign up (if you’re new to Seesaw) or log in with your usual details.
Private teacher-only folder
Items can be added to a private folder that is only visible to the teachers. Students and parents will not see these items and will not receive notifications about them. To add an item to the private folder, simply click on the padlock icon when selecting a folder for the item. Items can be later removed from the private folder and made visible to students and parents.
On any item within Seesaw, teachers can leave private comments. These comments (either typed or voice recorded) are visible to co-teachers but not to parents or students. To leave a private comment, click the teacher comment icon below any item (a speech bubble with a ‘T’ inside).
This is a fantastic feature. In my opinion, it’s worth exploring Seesaw Plus just for this! Teachers can input their own set of skills. These could be standards, objectives, etc. For me as a PYP teacher, I have added the transdisciplinary skills and the PYP attitudes (so far). These skills can be assigned to particular subjects, but they don’t have to be. Teachers can tag items with the relevant skills. You can even assign a 1-4 star rating for each skill (optional). From the skills view (accessible via the main menu), an overview for the class is shown. This can be filtered by skill, subject or student. The skills cannot be seen by parents or students on Seesaw, but you may choose to share them in class or at parent conferences.
Many schools are now implementing Seesaw across the whole school. Seesaw for Schools offers all of the above features, along with these additional benefits:
- A student’s portfolio stays with them throughout their entire time at school
- A data and management dashboard is available for admin staff, with access to all classes
- School-defined standards can be imported and tagged in all classes
- Up to twenty co-teachers can be added to a class
- Every teacher can be assigned to up to one hundred classes
- Up to ten staff members can be given an admin account
- Portfolios can be downloaded in bulk (class, student or school)
If there is a Seesaw Ambassador at your school, you can save 20% on your first year of Seesaw for Schools. Click here to find out more about schoolwide Seesaw and to get a quote.
I am absolutely thrilled to be a Seesaw Ambassador. Not just because I get access to the fantastic features of Seesaw Plus for free, but because I have joined an active and supportive network of fellow ambassadors and I have an association with a product that I absolutely love and am proud to endorse. If you haven’t tried Seesaw before, try it now! If you have, level up! Here is the link again for the free trial of Seesaw Plus.