Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Up and Downs - Seesaw app review

Hey folks,

Sorry I haven't uploaded any new entries this week. New term equals more work urge :)

Image result for seesaw learning journalAnyway, this week I am going to review a fantastic app that has been probably my biggest pet project to date. I'm sure many other schools are using apps to connect learning, assessment and the general information technology age. But this has to be one of the best. After seeing edmodo, a great app for connecting the learning in the classroom with the home, I was determined to find something that would do the same. As I have a KS1 class of my own I felt that the edmodo platform was a little complicated and tricky to navigate for their little souls. But I came across this app called Seesaw: the learning journey...  Things have been changing rapidly since!!!

What does it do?

Simply put it is a learning journey digitised. You setup avatars and areas for children with their names. No email address required!!! When this is done you download the class app onto each of the iPads in your classroom. You can then produce a really easy qr class code so the children can point a camera and log on. The platform its has a rolling feed a little like Facebook (which is a bonus when teaching internet responsibility). Children can upload videos, pictures, links and drawings all made in app or from the rest of the iPad. Not sure that is very well explained but they can upload a range of multimedia. When they upload they will be asked to tag themselves in the photo. A comment or recording can be added as well. Great for those children that find writing really difficult. Children can comment and like others work. As the teacher you can give feedback in the form of likes and comments. Of course as the moderator you have to approve any uploads first.

I have found this a powerful class tool to share links quickly for really complicated subjects. Moreover, children can upload their work form other platforms. Getting work in on iPads can be tricky at the best of times but this really is a handy tool for getting the stuff in one place ready for me.

When you have sufficient data you give handouts the parents to upload the parent app onto their devices. They get live feedback of what the children are working on. More than this they can even comment back and like posts.

Draw backs?

Well so far I am in the beta testing stage for school. You get tremendous support online from the San Francisco based company. I haven't had any problems so far... knock on wood. But their are a few concerns I have. First of which is how will it react with multiple classes with shared iPads. Obviously iPads are difficult to get at the best of times with stretched school budgets. How will it work with multiple classes? Second, at the end of the year it says I have the option to archive the class. But where and who has the data? What happens if my data gets lost?

Why did I choose it?

Well after strenuous research this app just seemed the easiest to work for me as the teacher and the children. Moreover, graphically it seemed more child friendly and appealing. My children certainly love choosing those avatars. But most of all, it just seems like someone who teaches in education has thought this through. Down to the minor details of the left and right camera button on the screen. It's intuitive and everything that is good about modern technology. I don't find uploading a nuisance but a pleasure. I love seeing positive comments back from parents and involving people in my classroom.