Angela Elligson is a First Grade Teacher in Pensacola, FL.
My colleagues and I had been longing for an app to get our students' projects off of their iPads in an easy way. Slow internet connections, school internet firewalls, and just not having a lot of extra time had previously made exporting and sharing projects difficult--not to mention that most social media sites aren't private or appropriate for first graders. Seesaw solves all of that.
I have 8 school-distributed iPad 2's, so my 17 students usually work in pairs. Seesaw is great in that it allows us to tag multiple students. Perfect for cooperative learning. My favorite app to use in conjunction with Seesaw is Book Creator. My students create e-Books, save them as videos to their Camera Roll, and then upload the videos to Seesaw. Before, I had to email these e-books, and the students' audio recordings would be left off (a major disappointment to parents.) My students also like to create Tellagami projects and upload them to Seesaw. I love that even my young first graders can navigate Seesaw and see what their parents have commented!
I generally have students create an iPad project as a follow-up activity to my lessons, and they know they are supposed to upload each project to Seesaw when they are done. It's just naturally become a final step of their projects. The kids can navigate the app themselves because the icons are simple and clean-cut, so it doesn't take up my instructional time at all. In reality, uploading to Seesaw is the quickest part of the iPad project process. I love the fact that I am required to approve the project first. Not only is it safe, but my students know they are expected to put forth their best work if they want their projects published so that their parents can see!
What I like most, however, is that I do not have to use storage space on my iPads for their projects. Storage is hard to come by, and before Seesaw I frequently found myself deleting photos, videos, and projects to make room for new apps. The kids are so excited to be able to keep their old projects and see how much they have learned since the beginning of the year.
My students really enjoy seeing their work published. It gives them a sense of pride to know that their parents can view their projects and leave comments. They also beg me to let them share their published projects with other teachers and their classes. How can I refuse?
I know I sound like I'm gushing, but I've used a lot of apps in the last 4 years, and Seesaw finally allows parents to see how we use iPads for learning. Dream. Come. True.