For this module we were tasked with investigating ISTE Student Standard 1: Empowered Learner – “Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences”. Looking at the all the components for this standard, two jumped out at me-1a Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes and 1c-Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. These two components lead me to ask the following question-
How can students use technology to achieve and reflect on goals?
To help answer this question I turned to research and suggestions from professors. This lead to the discovery of the website Seesaw (https://web.seesaw.me/). Seesaw is a technology tool that empowers students to capture their learning in any form. Students can independently document their learning by using photos, videos, drawings, texts, PDFs, and links. Each student has their own digital portfolio which allows for them to share their understanding. Seesaw helps capture the learning process, not just the end result. Students can use Seesaw’s built-in audio recording, drawing and caption tools to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they got their answer.
Seesaw for teachers- Seesaw is not just a great tool for students but its a great monitoring tool for teachers. With this program teachers can create specific skills/goals for students making each students experience with Seesaw differentiated. Once a new skill is created it can be tagged to one or multiple students.After skills have been created for students the teacher can monitor the students progress in mastering that specific skill. Teachers can use Seesaw for formative assessment and can tag their students’ posts with their own set of skills or standards! Optionally, teachers can assign a simple 1-4 star rating to student work to get a real-time understanding of how students are progressing towards key curriculum objectives, inform instruction, and save time on reporting. Skills and ratings are only visible to teachers, and are fully customizable to the learning goals your class is working towards.Once students have submitted a piece of work to their portfolio the teacher can add a comment or feedback to their post by either typing or using a recording. This allows for students to improve their practice and to gather important feedback.
Metacognition with Seesaw
“Metacognitive practices help students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses as learners, writers, readers, test-takers, group members, etc. A key element is recognizing the limit of one’s knowledge or ability and then figuring out how to expand that knowledge or extend the ability. Those who know their strengths and weaknesses in these areas will be more likely to “actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tasks and performances” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, p. 67). Seesaw allows for students to use metacognitive practices with their digital portfolios. Students who are not naturally inclined to stop and think need explicit practices to nudge themselves toward quality reflection—and digital tools to make it easier. Keeping a log of tasks and habits, for example, gives students a rich source of data to mine when reflecting on their progress, and there are many apps that will collect and aggregate this information in accessible and attractive ways. The myriad of daily journals, goal-setting programs, and “productivity” apps help to create a regular time and place for reflection, which students can use toward academic or personal projects (Mindshift, 2014)
Using Seesaw in the Classroom
In order of this program to work effectively and for students to began to add to their digital portfolio, time needs to be set aside for students. For a primary classroom, this program could be used first thing in the morning as morning work, a learning center, during Daily 5 time, it is really is up to the teacher to find the right time for students to use this technology. However, I do think students need to be able to add to this regularly in order for them to have multiple opportunities to show understanding of a skill or goal. Plus, with more data the students have more information to share with their teachers and parents. Only using this program a few times doesn’t allow for students to show growth toward a specific skill/goal.
Student Led Conferences
Today many schools participate in student-led conferences where teachers, students, and parents discuss student goals and progress. By students having a digital portfolio through Seesaw, they feel motivated because they are sharing their real work with teachers and parents. Students can show their parents what they have done, their and how they are working toward that goal. A benefit in having a program like Seesaw is that the prep time for conferences is cut down. Students can simply log into their portfolio and have all of their evidence of learning at their fingertips.
Why It’s Worth It
Although setting up individual digital portfolios for your entire class might seem daunting, once you get started it becomes an easy way to collect student data without multiple checklists or portfolio binders. Seesaw is also a really good way to see a child’s complete learning process and allows for students to show you that process in different formats. Having students be able to choose how they show their understanding doesn’t confine their learning into a one size fits all box.
- Bransford, John D., Brown Ann L., and Cocking Rodney R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
- Iste.org. (2017). ISTE Standards For Students. [online] Available at: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
- MindShift. (2014). What Meaningful Reflection On Student Work Can Do for Learning. [online] Available at: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/12/03/what-meaningful-reflection-on-student-work-can-do-for-learning/
- Student Driven Digital Portfolios. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://web.seesaw.me/