The digital tool that’s vital for my classroom

Ashrita Johnson

Raised with the confidence required to pursue my dreams and the dedication to achieve them. With a desire to bring about change, whether through the teaching of underprivileged students in India or educating the young leaders of tomorrow. A passion to travel the world manifested by a pilot's license ad a fascination for international education. A lifelong learner and nurturer-imbued with curiosity, commitment and above all else, patience.

Follow @paisashrita @AsbIndia

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Images courtesy of author. Images courtesy of author.

I travel for 225 days in a year, and I’ve never felt closer to my child.” - the reaction of a parent my first year using Seesaw.

Seesaw was introduced to me by my then co-worker, now husband, Alexander Johnson. He couldn’t stop raving about this tool that he had heard about at an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) conference. Our school began using it as an e-portfolio tool in order to do away with physical portfolios in 2015. “Parents were extremely happy that they could get access to all they needed on one platform.” However, Seesaw has so many other features. Teachers began using it more as a learning journal with regular posts by students, a blog, rubrics and announcement space. Parents were extremely happy that they could get access to all they needed on one platform, and were amazed by how easy it was for them to share their child’s work with family and friends. In the international school setting, with so many third-culture kids, Seesaw is invaluable as it allows departing students leaving to take their work wherever they go.

Introducing Seesaw to my current school has been a great experience, making it very easy for my kindergarteners to add and upload items. The parents are extremely enthusiastic and leave voice comments for their children. Weekly, students reflect on both their work and that of their peers. Living in a world of social media, I consider these children very lucky to start developing these skills at such a young age. This tool has been a hit among the parents, at the end of two months of using this tool, here is what some of them said in an anonymous feedback form.

I love getting work home on a regular basis and not only mid and end-of-year work. Kate loves going through and telling us all about it. It is so meaningful when it brings up relevant conversations.”

It's a wonderful tool. I feel that as parents we can have meaningful conversations with our kids instead of the typical, "How was school today?”. Arunima is very happy to explain the events posted. Thank you for this platform.”

We think Seesaw is excellent and would love for it to be used in other year groups.”

So what makes this tool so powerful?

  • Accessibility - Parents can access Seesaw and be involved in their child’s learning from any device from any part of the world.
  • Easy-to-use - Even Kindergartners can easily click pictures of their work and add it to their journal, making them in charge of their own learning.
  • Features - You can add photos or videos from your camera roll or take one using the camera feature, adding in notes, files, links and drawings.
  • Portability - Pupils can keep using the resource over the years by archiving previous classes, while still being able to access them and reflect. Students leaving a school can download all their work and take it with them wherever they go.
  • Reflection - This platform enables students to reflect on their own work and that of their peers, giving meaningful feedback. Parents can like, comment or ask questions, which makes it interactive.

  • Folders - Creating folders makes the organisation of items easy. Students can choose the folder the item goes to, or teachers can select them. Teachers also have the option of putting items in a private folder (which only students and teachers can view, not parents). If required, the folders can be changed easily with just a click.
  • Sharing - Teachers can share activities with their students and collect responses in one place. They can also differentiate by selecting different students for each activity.
  • Settings - Teachers can choose to turn on ‘item editing’ by students, require teacher approval before an item is posted and enable likes and comments.
  • Collaboration - Inviting specialists to your Seesaw class enables students to add to their journal while in Music, Art or even PE. Specialists can see what is happening in the homeroom, and plan lessons to collaborate without having to spend time meeting with the homeroom teacher.
  • PD - Seesaw offers several options for PD - the best of which offers PD in your pajamas, to teach the new features in the comfort of your own home.

Seesaw is a new tool and, in the three years that I’ve been using it, I’ve seen so many changes, most of which have been suggested to the development team by teachers.

Seesaw has become much more than just a tech tool for my students; it empowers them to take ownership of their learning, to feel proud of their achievements, and to develop a deeper understanding of today’s increasingly connected world. In short, Seesaw is now a vital piece of my classroom, and one that I cannot imagine parting with anytime soon!

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