EdTech Quick Take: Seesaw vs. FreshGrade

A teacher-focused showdown between two popular digital-portfolio apps.

November 17, 2015
Jeff Knutson Senior Manager, Education Content
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Technology Integration, Tools

Portfolios and project-based learning (commonly known as PBL) are great ways for students to take ownership of their learning and share what they know with others. Whether you're looking to go all in with a completely PBL-centered classroom or even just looking to give your students a project with a more authentic means for assessment, digital portfolios are definitely the way to go. These digital-portfolio and PBL tools can help make it a cinch for students to document and share all the important moments and artifacts that speak to their learning.

But here's the thing: Portfolio- and project-based learning also require teachers to manage a lot of content. Digital-portfolio tools can definitely help make this easier, but there are a bunch of them out there, and each offers different tools and features. How do you know which one's best for your classroom's needs?

In this episode of our EdTech Quick Take series, we chose two popular digital-portfolio apps: Seesaw and FreshGrade

Both apps cover the important basics, in terms of offering students a place to capture, manage, and share evidence of their amazing work. However, each tool has some key features that really set it apart from the other. Depending on your students' needs, one app might be a better choice than the other. So, how are they different? Check out the video to see a breakdown of the features along with our analysis!

And if you're already a user of either Seesaw or FreshGrade, tell us what you think in the comments below. If you've found other tools to be useful, tell us about that, too!


Karie Spurlock
Classroom teacher
Village of Barboursville Elementary

I absolutely love See Saw digital learning journal.  I'm a pre-k teacher and utilize this program to keep current anecdotal records, picture progress, voice recordings, video, etc. to assess individual present level of performance.

Families have been invited since the first parent/teacher conference to sign up.  They have opportunity to see their child's progress,  view group assignments, links, and any other information that the teacher provides.  

Parents and caregivers have already stated their excitement.  They love it too.  It's a way to review and reflect with their children daily.  They say that it allows them to be more involved because it is difficult for their children open up or remember key activities unless visual or verbal  prompts are provided.  This app does just that.  Also, as soon as their child sees a picture their teacher posts for their parents, they immediately get a sense of pride and confidence excels.

Parents also say it has been a great way to eliminate stress.  Often parents who have little ones starting school for the first time can be a very difficult transition for both the child and caregiver.  However, receiving a snapshot of their child throughout the day or throughout the week is so encouraging and personal that anxiety is reduced significantly.

In addition to establishing a successful way to keep a individual portfolio,  this app has also been used to communicate with families as a whole.  It can be useful to remind parents of important memos and time sensitive deadlines.  I have never used the app Remind 101 as a teacher but as a parent I was not able to respond or ask a question to the teacher with it.  In Sea Saw, a parent can write a comment, ask a question, or like a post similar to Facebook but very limited to the students in class only.  Also, the teacher is overall responsible to approve a comment and allow for others to see.   If needed a parent can communicate with the teacher this way.  

In summary I give this app 2 thumbs up and a score of 10 out of 10 .  I love it and my families and students love it too.  

It's a win-win application in my book report.





Louise Lewis

I do like Seesaw because of its true e-portfolio features.  Symbalooedu has just developed a new feature called 'lesson plan' which has much of these benefits.  It may be worth reviewing in the coming months as Symbalooedu is a great intuitive tool already.

Tracy Nelson
Media specialist/librarian
Garnet Valley Elementary School
Glen Mills, PA

Seesaw would be a great fit for my students who are in grades 3-5, however I see 750 students per week and I don't believe I could get my entire class load enrolled for free.  I will probably need to wait to see if my district decides to purchase a subscription for all teachers.