Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2018
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Seesaw: The Learning Journal

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Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (36 Reviews)
Privacy (See details)

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Pros: Both student and teacher interfaces are intuitive, and there are 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: The Learning Journal provides opportunities for students -- and teachers -- to really think outside the box. 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 poem, or uploading a file 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 using peer-to-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 commenting on student submissions. You can communicate with families easily and share student work with them, or push out assignments to students to individualize instruction. You can also choose work to share with a broader audience via a blog.

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Seesaw: The Learning Journal is a robust digital portfolio and learning system where teachers can create meaningful multimedia experiences for students. Using Google, Clever, student emails, or a QR code, teachers assign tasks that 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 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, the blogs can be password protected, and teachers can opt to moderate posts. 

Designed with an intuitive interface, Seesaw logically leads teachers through processes such as creating assignments, recording directions, providing student feedback, and sending family communications. Translation is available if the device language settings are different from the original message. The Activity Library hosts a variety of activities aligned with Common Core for all grade levels, and the Help Center provides lots of support as well as professional development online for teachers. A paid upgrade allows tracking of skills mastery.

It's hard to find a tool like Seesaw that does so much to engage students and provide evidence of learning, especially one that offers most of its powerful features for free. Audio, video, and drawing options add tons of opportunities for differentiation and reflection, enabling teachers to accommodate a variety of learning styles 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; while time-consuming, it may prevent inappropriate comments or inadvertently showing a student's struggles with writing or spelling. Teachers can use Seesaw to communicate easily with all students and parents. They have the option to review a feed of an entire class's work or view work by a specific student, which 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. Designed to show both process and product, Seesaw is a powerful way for kids to demonstrate evidence of learning over time.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids will be drawn in by the variety of engaging activities, and teachers and families will be interested to see each student's creative content.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Opportunities abound for kids to show learning in a variety of ways. Students can collaborate on and keep digital portfolios of their work, seeing progress over time.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Teachers can tailor assignments to students' learning needs, so differentiation is a natural fit; opportunities to record voice or video, draw, upload files, and more means there's something for every learner.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 36 reviews) (36 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Gary G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
P.S. 80 Michael J Petrides School
Staten Island, United States
Great tool for being reflective learners!
As an educator, I found this digital tool to be beneficial in building reflective learners who took the time to think through their work and monitor their own progress. I was able to also link specific standards to the work they uploaded to show student work samples as evidence of addressing and achieving specific standards. Finally, the student engagement while using this tool proved to be the greatest advantage of them all. Students were eager to use SeeSaw and share their work products with one ...
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