07 February 2016

What's in a Seesaw (and What's Not?)

I'm not using Google Classroom quite as much as I did last year. Uploading videos and submitting shared work have been big hassles. Also scrolling through and finding previous assignments to add to portfolios? It's been a bit time consuming.

Seesaw, however, solves those problems. Gone are the days of waiting for a video to process on Google Drive before you can share it with your team or even just watch it. No more figuring out whether you have to add the file, add a link to the file, or comment with the link on a Google Classroom assignment that you worked on with a partner.

And if students need examples to post to their VoiceThread portfolios? They can just check the class folder! And if I want them to submit their own work before inspecting examples, I simply hold off on checking the little green check mark saying their approved until all work for that assignment is submitted! What's more, I can even post the best videos, portfolios, or writing sample photos to a class Seesaw blog to hold up as examples for students AND parents!

Students' portfolios, however, are still Google Sites/VoiceThread hybrids. I think it's just a little more polished for display and reflection purposes. However, most of the samples that end up in the portfolios are also in Seesaw folders, just in their pre-revision, pre-reflection forms.

So what are some of the things sitting in my students' Seesaw folders right now?
  • First-day review station videos (GreenScreen karaoke and AdobeVoice story summaries)
  • Links to their new e-portfolios
  • Images they can use for e-portfolio title pages throughout the semester
  • Links to their individual blogs for the "Mejor yo" unit
  • Links to each Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking Voicethread for each student
  • Introduction videos for conversation buddies in other schools
  • Folders full of conversation videos for each song students have discussed
  • A screenshot of a blanked out activity infograph everyone can copy and mark up
  • Photos of their "Escribe en Cinco" notebook pages
  • Photos of clean copies (pre-Sexton-highlighting) of their IPA writing
This means...

  1. Everyone can enjoy each other's fun videos without necessarily taking class time to broadcast them.
  2. I can always find each student's portfolio, whether or not it's turned in for that week's update or linked in the pledge--and so can they!
  3. The portfolio process is streamlined for the rest of the semester (just download and upload!)
  4. I can always find their blogs for checking posts--and their teammates can always find them for commenting!
  5. If they had embedding problems with their VoiceThreads in their Google Sites, I can check the original source, and maybe even fix it for them!
  6. They could upload quickly, and I could (make Sr. Sexton) download quickly to share with our penpals!!
  7. They can edit out the blank space and make one or two solid conversation videos with their best questions and answers (bonus! speaking reflection!)
  8. They can mark up the image to show their labeling skills (thought the image quality was  higher with Nearpod--just harder to distribute).
  9. Their portfolios have their writing in their own handwriting for extra authenticity--and none of mine, for extra professional neatness.

However, there are still a few things you will not find in my Seesaw feed or theirs:

  • grades, scores, or proficiency levels
  • specific comments and feedback
  • survey questions for reflection or class business
  • assignment descriptions, rubrics, or reminders
  • videos that last more than 5 minutes
Classroom is still my favorite for disseminating information. Students (and my principal) get emailed updates for each grade, assignment, question, and announcement with Classroom, and I have a quick way to see who's submitted work, and who needs a little reminder. Plus they have a little more space to play with, say, if their teacher keeps them talking for 5 minutes and 11 seconds during the IPA.


But for basic sample collection of just about any sort? Seesaw has saved me and my students a lot of time already this semester.

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