App review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2021
Seesaw
Common Sense Selection
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Seesaw

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

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Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 52 reviews
Privacy rating
82%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Intuitive for students and teachers. Tons of ideas up for grabs in the Activity Library.

Cons: In the paid skills feature, skills and standards must be manually entered.

Bottom Line: A powerful multimedia learning and communication tool that demonstrates student progress over time.

Seesaw provides opportunities for students and teachers to really think creatively and demonstrate learning in different ways. Students can show their work and thought processes in real time by submitting a video of themselves working through a math problem, snapping a picture of a paragraph they wrote, recording themselves reading a speech, or uploading a file from a device, cloud locations, or Google Drive to demonstrate their learning. Encourage kids to submit a series of images along with notes that tell the story that connects them. Or let kids collaborate with each other by sharing student responses and using peer feedback to offer suggestions on writing content, scientific hypotheses, or creative ideas.

Teachers at all grade levels and across all content areas can use Seesaw to keep digital portfolios of student work, including responding to student submissions via written or voice comments. You can communicate with families easily and share student work with them, or push out assignments to students to individualize instruction. For teachers who wish to connect their classes with a broader audience, consider sharing students' submissions via a personalized class blog. As with any parent communication platform, it's important to remember that it's possible some parents don't have easy access to tech and/or may not be super comfortable using tech, so find out what support parents might need to use the platform effectively.

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Seesaw (formerly known as Seesaw: The Learning Journal) is a robust digital portfolio and interactive learning platform where teachers can create meaningful multimedia experiences for students. To get started, teachers can manually enter students or integrate classes from Google Classroom. If younger students don't have email accounts, there's also an option for them to sign in using a QR or text code. Whether teachers create their own activities or draw from the extensive library of teacher-created and rated content, assigned tasks engage students with a variety of work in the form of videos, photos, text, images, files, and drawings. Teachers follow up by approving posts, offering feedback, and, if desired, making items accessible to families via the Seesaw Parent and Family app (available online and via Android or iOS). Since teachers can view all students' submissions at once, it's an easy way to check for whole-class understanding. Teachers can also enable peer-to-peer feedback or create a class blog to encourage a richer, more connected experience. For added security, blogs can be password protected, and teachers moderate posts before they are made public. 

Designed with an intuitive interface, Seesaw logically leads teachers through processes such as creating assignments, recording directions, providing student feedback, and sending one-to-one or group messages to students, parents, or families. Translation is available if the device language settings are different from the original message. The Help Center provides lots of support as well as professional development online for teachers. A paid upgrade allows adding and tracking of skills mastery, portfolios that travel with kids from year to year, multipage posts, and more.

In a digital learning environment, keeping all stakeholders informed of student progress can be a challenge, but Seesaw accomplishes that and more. It does so much to engage students, provide evidence of learning, and encourage self-reflection -- and teachers can access it for free. Audio, video, and drawing options add tons of opportunities to differentiate and personalize learning, enabling teachers to accommodate a variety of learning preferences without a lot of extra effort. Teachers can enable student likes, comments, and editing as well, providing opportunities for collaboration, peer-to-peer feedback, and social and emotional learning experiences. Notably, teachers may choose to moderate comments which, while time-consuming, may prevent inappropriate comments or inadvertently showing a student's struggles with writing or spelling. Communication with all students and parents is a snap, thanks to Seesaw's messaging, translation, and announcement features. Plus, having both formative and summative data and evidence of student work is especially handy for student or parent conferences.

While teachers may not like that there's no place to enter or track grades, doing so would feel almost antithetical. The focus is on mastery of standards, and teachers can monitor students' progress toward key skills (paid version) instead of pinning students to number or letter grades that fail to show the complete picture. And the paid version also allows portfolios to travel with students from year to year. Designed to show both process and product, Seesaw is a powerful platform for kids to demonstrate evidence of learning over time.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Kids will be drawn in by the variety of activities that allow them to demonstrate progress in creative ways, and teachers and families will be interested to see each student's unique content.

Pedagogy

Teachers can tailor content to students' learning preferences and enable parents to keep up with student progress. Quick and easy feedback and moderation tools allow teachers to communicate and engage regularly with learners.

Support

Teachers can tailor assignments to students' learning needs, so differentiation is a natural fit. A translation feature makes communication with parents easy.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

(See all 52 reviews) (52 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Ashleigh B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Guadalupe Elementary
San Jose, United States
A Teacher's Dream
It is SO easy to use. There are AWESOME activities that have been created by other educators but it is also very easy to create a new activity. I teach Kindergarten so not all of my students are readers...SeeSaw has a feature in the directions portions where icons or dictation can be used to explain an activity.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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