Apr 15 / Julie Anne de Brún

The benefits of using Seesaw for Primary Schools

by Julie Anne de Brun
Using Seesaw in Primary School

Seesaw is a brilliant digital learning platform that allows teachers of all class levels to easily develop, create and administer work, learning tasks and assignments for their pupils. The free version of the platform includes access to Seesaw’s library of tasks and activities which teachers can manipulate to use in their own lessons and the platform includes many multimedia features to bring assignments alive including videos, photos, text, images, files, or drawings. Teachers can also use Seesaw to generate a class blog, communicate with their pupils and families and differentiate and assess their student’s work via their digital portfolios. 

In this blog, I will outline the ways in which I use Seesaw to assign and assess students work, communicate with students and parents and save myself time in the process!
Setting up the Seesaw and Seesaw Parent and Family app

The initial process of setting up your class on Seesaw is easy and Seesaw's online support team can facilitate this. The Seesaw Parent & Family app is available via Android or iOS and it allows for parents/ caregivers to stay up-to-date with their children's learning and to keep important communication between school and home at all times. An important translation tool is also accessible to families (but not for pupils) to translate notes, captions, and observations on their children’s work in addition to communication to or from their teacher.

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How can teachers in primary schools use Seesaw?
Here are some examples of the ways that Seesaw is currently utilised in my classroom:  

Assigning work

Teachers can assign any variety of tasks on Seesaw, which can be as simple as a scanned worksheet, screenshot or photograph of work, or as complex as a multistep project with video lessons and a combination of Google Docs. 

Using Audio Recording

When posting tasks on Seesaw, I frequently use voice instructions for my pupils. This is a wonderful tool at any age, especially for younger students. It is also an excellent tool to have for Gaelscoileanna and Scoileanna sa Ghaeltacht / Irish language schools. The class teacher or pupils can model the language and record it onto an image or text in the task to scaffold the learning and provide continued opportunities for learning at home.  Using this tool also allows teachers to easily assess all of their students’ work at the same time or to measure their understanding of a skill or concept. 

Using Video Recording

My class have really enjoyed making videos to communicate with each other on a very secure platform and this has also helped students who were at home due to long term illness or other reasons to keep up with the classwork and stay in contact with their peers and their classmates. In lieu of performances and plays, we have also been able to make videos to showcase our artwork, STEAM events, plays and performances; all of which have been posted for parents to view on Seesaw.

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Setting Interactive Homework Assignments
Posting a picture of the same Obair Bhaile the children have written in their Dialann Obair Bhaile/ Homework Journal, each day to Seesaw allows me to also write out any communications or notes I need to convey to the parents. 
Literacy and oral language can be improved by using Seesaw for reading practice at home. The children do their English and Gaeilge reading using the mic function on Seesaw and a modelled reading of the page by the children or the teacher is provided daily. The children then either record themselves reading as a video or audio file as part of their daily homework in the student response section. Some children also post a picture of the page and read over this using the video function and an arrow shape. 
As well as literacy and numeracy activities, I post STEAM experiments, music practice (we are currently learning the feadóg stáin/ tin-whistle), prayers, and mindful activities via videos, pdfs or weblinks which are sent home weekly. Pupils who are as láthair/ absent from school can also engage or post a picture of their learning.

For more information on creating assignments and using the multimedia features on Seesaw, check out the
Seesaw courses in our iPad learning pathway on Wriggle Connect.
Assessing Student Work with Digital Portfolios

Pupils can gather their Seesaw tasks in a digital portfolio, either by saving their already completed work online, or by using the app to take pictures of their art/ music/ copybook or workbook work or artifacts demonstrating their learning. This is especially important as a record for their SALF- Self Assessment for Learning. SALF provides a framework for children to present evidence of their work and their assessment of that work across all curricular areas and beyond.  Their digital portfolio also enables teachers to assess their pupils’ progress over time. This video demonstrates how a pupil can use Seesaw to make a digital portfolio.

Increasing Collaboration and Communication with Class blogs

Creating class blogposts on Seesaw gives teachers the chance to create a shared learning space, which in turn gives students the opportunity to work together, view and comment on one another’s thoughts. The blog, which is at a separate web address/URL, can be password protected, and teachers can moderate posts. Teachers can also input this link into their tasks and posts too. This overview video about Seesaw blogs discusses the many components of using this function on Seesaw.


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About the Author

Julie Anne de Brún

Julie Anne is a primary school teacher in Scoil Mhuire, Maigh Cuilinn, Co na Gaillimhe. She has a Post Grad in Special Educational Needs Teaching, a Masters in ICT in Education and is passionate about promoting the Irish language through music, art, STEAM and workshops, and is currently promoting the use of Gaeilge in education and creating resources to support Cianmhúinteoireacht agus Cianfhoghlaim/ online teaching and learning.  

As a Wriggle Connect Ambassador, Julie Anne is creating the 'Seesaw' Learning Pathway on the new Wriggle Connect Family Platform for Student and Parents. Watch out for this brand new platform coming soon!!!

To learn more about the courses available to teachers on the Wriggle Connect platform, click on the 'Courses' section if you have a Wriggle Connect account, or sign up for a FREE 14 day sample course on the Wriggle Connect platform today!