Why do we use Seesaw at St John and St James?
At SJSJ, we value our school community and recognise the importance of parental involvement. We want our children to thrive and be celebrated for their achievements. Seesaw enables us to enhance our communication between teachers and parents, and provides parents with a clear understanding of what their children are learning in school. Seesaw is used as a record of children’s progress over time. Through consistent work being uploaded, children, teachers and parents can use it as a tool to reflect on the progress a child is making over the academic year. Oracy is a pivotal component of teaching and learning at St John & St James; the video function on Seesaw allows us to record children verbally articulating their opinion, perspective and understanding on a specific topic, using our school Talk Guidelines.
What is Seesaw?
Seesaw is a multimedia journal that empowers students to share what they are learning at school. Each teacher creates an online classroom where they can post photos, videos, reminders or activities for parents to see. These are instantly shared and parents can like and comment on their children’s work. Throughout the school year, Seesaw builds an organised, digital portfolio of the children’s learning, accessible by the teacher, child and parent. This means that science experiments, music performances and pupil voice can be videoed, uploaded and saved as an example of work for parents to see. It can also be used to take images of children’s artwork, STEAM learning, writing samples, maths strategies used and more. Seesaw keeps parents updated by providing them with a real-time glimpse into their child’s school day. Parents can praise their children for the achievements and, by knowing what they have achieved throughout the day, use what they see on Seesaw as a conversation starter at the end of the day.
How does Seesaw work?
Teachers create an account for their class at the beginning of each academic year and parents are given a letter which contains information about how to access their child’s learning. Teachers then begin to upload example of children’s work for parents to engage with. Teachers can organise their uploads into subject specific folders and this enables subject leads to monitor their subject area and see what is happening across the school. If a child is taught by different adults, all those adults have access to the class Seesaw account, meaning they are also able to upload content to be shared on a child’s learning journal. This ensures class teachers are able to see the learning taking place in subject areas they do not teach for example: Spanish, Music and PE lessons. This gives the class teacher the opportunity to celebrate a child’s learning across the whole curriculum.
How does Seesaw improve communication across our school?
Seesaw improves communication across the school, particularly with parents – teachers can easily keep parents up to date with what their child is learning. Parents receive an automatic notification via iOS and Android apps or email when new items are added. Parents only receive updates for their child and can only view their child’s journal. Parents can then engage with the new material by ‘liking’ the post. Parents don’t comment on their child’s work – they are only allowed to “like” it. When this has been done, the teacher receives a notification. In addition to this, QR codes can be generated for each upload and these are then inserted into children’s work books, sketch books and class floor books. This is a great way of showcasing what the children have achieved, particularly in subjects such as PE, PSHE, Music and Diverse Britain. If a parent or carer is unable to make it to one of our school events, including whole school performances and opportunities for parents to join the children in class, we record what took place and upload it to Seesaw. This ensures all members of our school community feel involved in our school’s curriculum and able to share the wonderful events that take place throughout the year.
How safe and private is Seesaw?
All student contact is secure and protected and data is never shared with third parties. Protecting student privacy is fundamental in Seesaw’s mission and business. They state that they truly value the trust that schools and families place in them. Here are Seesaw’s promises:
- They will never sell your data or student data
- They never advertise within the app
- They do not own the content uploaded
- Student work is private to the classroom by default
- They are complaint with FERPA, COPPA and GDPR
Ways to further protect children include keeping the class QR code private and not sharing posts from Seesaw on social media.
Parents and carers only have access to their own child’s learning journal; they are not able to see the work produced by any other child in the class. Teachers only put work into a specific child’s learning journal to ensure only that child’s parent or carer are able to view this piece of work.