We have very limited technology resources in our district, so when I was looking for a way to move past printing photos of student’s work and having them paste the photos in their sketchbooks, I was looking for something that students could easily access on a personal device. It needed to be free and simple. After spending a few weeks over the summer looking at several online portfolio options, I chose Seesaw. The other services I explored were great too, but Seesaw was a much simpler version of what I felt I needed for my students. Easy access on any device, a simple interface and a way for parents to connect with our studio was exactly what I was looking for.
When I chose Seesaw, I planned to have students use their own cell phone or tablet in class to photograph their work and add their artist statement or reflection. At that time, student’s personal electronic devices could be used in class at the teacher’s discretion. Guess what? Our school changed the policy to no student devices at any time except lunch. Ugh! Now what was I going to do? Fortunately, they still allowed teachers to allow students to use tablets that were school or teacher owned. I have an iPad, a laptop and a desktop computer in my classroom. So, we will forge ahead. Students will photograph their work with the iPad in class and then login to Seesaw with their QR code outside of school on their own device to complete their reflection. Homework isn’t ideal, but we are going to try it and see how it goes. Students can still access the devices I have in my classroom as well as the library if needed. This will definitely drag out the time it will take for students to complete their reflections. I was really looking forward to paperless portfolios and reflections, but we may need to step backwards here and there with paper reflections as needed.
Now, back to why I really wanted to switch to digital portfolios…
At the point of writing this, we are a glaze fire away from finishing our first project. Students will photograph that project in class, they will see a demonstration on how to use Seesaw and they will be given their QR codes. I still believe, despite the change in cell-phone policy, that Seesaw is the way to go for our students. I am certainly looking forward to this new experience.
Jill M. Anders, M.Ed.