18 October 2015

Sra. Spanglish Tech Tips: Seesaw

Goodness knows I've done some experimenting with portfolio platforms. I'm pretty satisfied with the VoiceThread option at the moment, but when my Pinnacle amigo, @jkylewood demonstrated Seesaw (that's web.seesaw.me NOT seesaw.com, by the way) after #langchat amiga @alenord had already been talking it up, I saw something broader than portfolios.

Now I can wax poetic on how portfolios are intended to represent an individual's abilities to The World, efficiently and attractively--that is largely the reason I don't see Seesaw as a portfolio tool. I mean, sure it collects the kids' work in one handy place more simply and swiftly than even--dare I say it--Google Classroom, and it lets you sort it. But at the moment, it's pretty much just for me to see...and maybe their classmates and parents (though I have been invited to "stay tuned").

Here are some reasons you probably want to try Seesaw, too, even if you, like me, are married to the idea of published portfolios


You can turn in just about ANYTHING in TWO CLICKS once you've got kids signed up for your Seesaw class. Photos, files, text notes, links, and even DRAWINGS. And there are FOLDERS, awesome, awesome folders. Now I can have students sort their files by the skill (reading/listening/speaking/writing) and/or assignment (coros, IPAs). And I can even peruse my calendar and go back to any date there were submissions and cruise through all of the class submissions for the day!

Maybe the Chromebooks need glasses?
Now you can make it so students can see each other's responses (for inspiration) or so they can't see them, in which case you can project them from your account for all to see if you decide you do want to share.

Also with Seesaw, no more nameless work: I had one kiddo turn in an excellent infograph last week...but no name. Fortunately, she'd snapped a picture of it and uploaded it under her name so I could match the paper to the photo! (We're still in experimental phase, so I went ahead and took it up both ways--which is good, because the Chromebook pictures were way fuzzy a lot of the time.) Of course this is true of Google Classroom, too, but the folders are a little harder to navigate in Classroom and/or Drive, and the upload function is way more streamlined on Seesaw.


First of all, I wish I could populate my classes myself. I get the attraction of the fifteen-minute code, and it did work fine for my classes for the most part. I just like having the rosters preloaded to save class time and to skip the dependence on students following an extra set of instructions.

I also wish I could select a bunch of submissions and add them all to a folder at once. It would probably half my sorting time if I could do that instead of clicking on each submission to add it to its folder(s) one at a time.

It would probably also half my IPA time on the interpersonal section if there was just a video capability. I mean, yeah, kids can post links if they use an online recording app, but iPad cameras are generally just the most straightforward way to go. But the posting videos to Classroom takes FOREVER, especially with partners sharing. In Seesaw, you can just tag all the students in the video!


So with all of this speedy posting of various media, I've started brainstorming a few things I can use Seesaw to do, either as a more efficient form of a previous activity or as something new and even more exciting.
  • Collect action shots for new vocabulary -- Sexton's Strategy for Vocabulary Retention #2 is ACTIONS, so I like to have students come up with actions for new words they might need in
    their active vocabulary. Now I got up the gumption to download a bunch of photos I had kids email me and then to assemble them into a review VoiceThread. One time. I've also just shunted them to a designated Google Drive folder and "flipped" through them there for review after the fact. But with Seesaw I can just go to the class feed and review not tomorrow, not in a week when I sort through them all, but then and there!
  • Make personalized "flash cards" -- Nearpod has filled the void InfuseLearning left for establishing personalized vocabulary without resorting to L1 translations. BUT getting those images back to kids has been a bit of a pain. Having the files there for easy download is going to make the Student Interests page SO MUCH EASIER to assemble! AND with each answer to a vocabulary-generating question, students will be creating images that apply to THEM DIRECTLY, so they'll be able to simply "flip" back through the images and quiz themselves--a la LangBook Make It Stick!
  • Share cool lyric videos -- I'm planning on mixing my coro roulette process with Bethanie Drew's Manía Musical to keep my baby parrots moving up the proficiency scale beyond simple, well, parroting. So to make sure everyone still gets to perform, they could all create an Adobe Voice video and submit the link! Instant music video fest!
  • Classcraft missions -- whether they were sharing music video finds or the funniest Verba responses, it'd be a quick way to collect everyone's contributions for The Awarding Of The Points.
  • Passion "blogging"-- I decided to forego the passion blogs this semester--individual and whole class. However, we're going to be collecting some contact information, and I want to see some actual links. The search terms, names, contact types, and even locations will go nicely on their reflection page for "Buscar expertos," but the link not so much. Plus I'd much rather click to check than type in a gazillion shortened links (much less print out a gazillion QR codes). Pins were fine for infographs, but we're branching beyond the merely visual into the "using prior knowledge" realm, meaning there might not even be anything TO pin on some sites!
  • Story building - I wonder if we could use the notes to do one of those stories where one person writes a sentence, then the next person adds?
  • Peer editing - I'm CONSTANTLY telling my SAT class to "combine and condense," so maybe I could throw up a note with something requiring said combination and condensation and have them post their suggestions--much like how we've been doing with Nearpod.
  • Co-construction - It's been quite a while since I've used the PACE grammar method, but I'm seeing a need for drawing attention to a few rules. I could post some examples and have them post what they notice with notes.
I'm sure there are two million other way to use it beyond portfolios and my paltry brain drizzles. What else can you do with instant posting of doodles, links, files, notes, or photos?

1 comment:

  1. I'm using Seesaw for the first time this year and LOVING it! Thanks for the fun ideas!

    FYI - There is a video option in the iPad/iPhone app. Not sure why it's not in the web version...

    -Heather (@senorasherrow)