Thursday, September 22, 2016

Digital Portfolios- Seesaw

Part of an art teacher's job is to make sure that their student's artwork is displayed.  Brag about the happenings in your class.  Show students that art should be shared beyond the classroom walls. In the past, that meant that an art teacher would line the walls with beautiful art to show to the rest of the school.  This is still a practice that many of us do.  However, many art teachers are looking to make the viewers of their classroom’s art be shared beyond the school walls.  Using social media is one way to do that… another way to share art is through Artsonia, Seesaw, and or Creatubbles.

Using apps to share art is HOT right now. How does an art teacher choose what platform to go with?  We thought we would help with this question.  I will be sharing about the app Seesaw in this post.  Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia. Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. This Creatubble team is art teachers from Texas who just happen to be valued members of my #PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter. Beth Carter will be highlighting their take on Creatubbles posting on her blog, It’s Art Day.

I learned about Seesaw two years ago.  It perked my interest the minute that I heard of it.  I love that this app was so quick and easy for everyone to use.  I mean everyone… the teachers, students, and parents.  I talked my specialist team into giving the free version a try last year focusing on only our 1st grade students.  This year our whole district, Kindergarten through Second Grade is a ‘Seesaw’ school. Now we are all, homeroom teachers, specialist, and special ed teachers learning together to use this tool for communication with parents and admin, as well as assessment and documentation.  Let me break down this app for you a bit more.

Seesaw is an application that allows parents to see real-time (or almost real-time) information of the happenings at school throughout the day.  Teachers will start a 'class' on Seesaw and invite parents to get an app on their phone.  Then when items are posted to the app, parents are informed with a notification that their student (or teacher) has shared something on Seesaw.  It is private between the student and the guardians.  Teachers and co-teachers such as Specialist, Special Ed, and Administration also have access to the submitted work.  This allows the whole team to view the work of the students and in our teams case, has allowed for some amazing collaboration!

My favorite thing about Seesaw is how easy it is for very young students to use on their own. Once trained and with some practice, students start sharing information about school on Seesaw without prompts.  This means they are empowered to tell their parents about the learning going on at school.  Teachers can change settings to authorize the work that is being sent home to parents as well.  This is a great feature because teachers can comment on the work, have a formative assessment or even a summative assessment before giving the OK to the app to send the information to the parents.

I also have fallen in love with the support Seesaw gives to their users. They are on Twitter and post new ideas all the time @Seesaw. They also have an amazing Help Center on their website with lots of resources such as videos and webinars. They also have Seesaw Ambassadors who are all over social media sharing what they are doing with this app.  One of my favorite to follow is Angela Gadtke, @MrsGadtke on twitter, she is working hard to show educators the many possibilities to this app.

I have posted about Seesaw before and will continue to do so because I am using this tool inside and out! Click here to see support post about Seesaw.  I am a Seesaw fan.  I choose to focus on using this app more than ever this year because our district adopted it in such a BIG way with all students K-2 at ISD 728 having an account this year.  Last year I researched Creatubbles and Artsonia... Both are amazing apps and serve some of the same purposes, however, also have some different features that might be more appealing to the needs in your classroom.

Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia on her blog. Click here for a link to read the many great capabilities of Artsonia in her classroom.

Also, Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. I adore the global aspect of Creatubbles and the three will be sharing so much more in their collaborative post. Click here for the post about Creatubbles.

The five of us have also put our heads together to work on this table highlighting the features that each app has.  We all agree... All applications are amazing.  Each teacher must choose what works best in their classroom.  Allow us to give you some incite in our blog posts.

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