What is Seesaw?
Seesaw is an iPad app that is marketed as a "learning journal." Honestly, I have not used it with a group of students, but I have played with it...pretending to be a student, teacher, and parent, and it seems like a neat program.
Below...I will explain its uses, and I will show some of my experiences with it through a series of screen captures and step-by-step instructions.
Getting Started Tips
Example of an Activity Idea:
Good General Help--FAQ Page
Working with Parents
Seesaw allows you to privately share student journals with parents easily. As I was working through the process, I used my iPad to sign up as a teacher. Then, I used an alternative email address to pretend I was a parent so that I could understand what parents and teachers would see. The process was straight-forward and simple. Each step took just minutes.
There were options to email parents or print a ready-made handout with a QR code on it.
Parents can access their child's journal on an iPad, iPhone, Android Phone or Tablet, or a computer!
I was happy to discover that the Seesaw app is mainly free. It is free for teachers to sign up and use. It is free for parents to view their student's work. The only time it costs money is if a parents wants the student's journal to carry over from year to year.
The Parent Process
An automated message is sent from the teacher iPad.
Parents click on the link & choose their child.
Parents are prompted to complete 4 required fields and an optional phone # field to create an account.
Parents are notified that the teacher must approve their access to the child's journal that they selected.
Before approving, Seesaw emails the teacher.
When teachers select "Approve Access," they are prompted to sign in.
Final Steps for Parent Approval
Parents receive a "thank you for signing up" and "welcome" emails.
Parents can log onto Seesaw to see their Child's Learning Journal on a computer.
Parents can use their mobile devices to sign in and view student journals.
A Few Limitations...
So far, I haven't seen a way for projects that are created with outside applications such as a video made with Movenote etc. to be included. As of right now (Feb 2015) I don't see a way for alternative media or links to media to be included within the students' journals. But Seesaw has said that they are working on it! In my experience, when new apps come out, their features can be limited until people start truly using it and giving feedback.
However, that being said...
From my perspective, as teachers and students first get started with any kind of digital publishing, digital portfolios, or simply sharing work with parents on a regular basis, I think that Seesaw is a great way to do it. With the ability to take a picture or video of student work as well as do some basic drawing and typing within the app, it is a great way to get a basic student portfolio started. The fact that it is private and and in a controlled environment is an ideal way to get started also!