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Featured Website of the Month (Feb.) - Incorporating Technology in the Classroom

Have you ever felt the pressure to integrate more technology into the classroom? Or had to desire to involve parents more in student learning? Or felt the tension between parents not having enough time to engage, but also wanting to be well-informed about what their child is learning? If you have felt these things, you are definitely not alone. I get the sense that parents want to know exactly what’s happening in the classroom, which is awesome! They want to be informed about what their child is learning. They want to be involved in the goal making process. They desire to be connected to their child’s learning. However, a lot of parents do not have time to be physically present in the classroom.

This month’s website feature will hopefully help to increase the use of technology in the classroom, as well as involve parents in their child’s learning and goal setting. SeeSaw is an online portfolio where teachers, parents and students can document kid’s learning. There is an app for parents, teachers and students associated with the website.

SeeSaw is advertised as a “platform for student engagement.” Each student is given access to an online portfolio, which is password protected and can only be accessed by the student, teacher and parents (or relatives that the password is given to). Pictures, videos, comments and files can be posted to the student’s account. Students can post. Teachers can post. And parents can comment and send messages. This website is easy to navigate, which gives students independence. I know some teachers who use this website kind of like an ‘Instagram’ account for the classroom. They simply post pictures and videos about what is happening in the classroom. They post pictures of student work and leave comments to help parents know areas of strength and weakness.

However, SeeSaw is much more than an ‘Instagram’ account of student learning. In addition to posting pictures, videos and files, there are a plethora of activities. These activities can be used for learning or as assessment of learning. Teachers can browse through premade activities and select ones that they wish students to complete. There are activities for all areas of academics, including Math, Science, and Language Arts. For example, there is an activity where students listen to a story and then record themselves retelling the story in their own words. This will then get posted to their account for parents and teachers to watch. Not only does this allow the adults to see how the child is doing, they are then able to help the student create goals for their learning.

For teachers who feel a little more tech savvy, there are ways to self-create activities for students to complete. Students would then access the activity through their app and post the completed activity to their portfolios.

For those who are not as tech savvy, there are tutorials about how to effectively use SeeSaw. These tutorials can be found on YouTube. They are called “PD in Your PJs”. They are around 30 minutes long and give good tips for implementing SeeSaw.

I know, sometimes setting up online portfolios like this seems daunting, or it feels like we’re giving-in to the latest trends. However, I know teachers who have used this website and have seen increased parental involvement and student engagement. It also helps all parties involved to more easily pinpoint learning goals.

There are a lot of different online portfolio options out there. Have you come across any that work well for you?

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