It’s week 2 of #IMMOOC, focusing on just what is having an innovator’s mindset and how do you use it in the classroom? I’m in a new position as a Digital Learning Coach. I’m split between two elementary campuses. I still work with students some, but my main focus is supporting teachers in using technology in their classroom. Just like a class of students with varying degrees of knowledge and skills, teachers are proving to be no different. This year, when I have found a new idea through my PLN, it’s been harder to see it come to fruition because I have to convince a teacher to try it instead of just jumping right in on my own. With everything teachers have to do on a daily basis, sometimes adding one more new idea is too much. However, I have been successful with one new tool at both of my campuses this year…Seesaw.
The Journey Begins
Portfolios have always been a part of lower elementary. We had four conferences throughout the year with parents, where we went through the portfolio and discussed the evidence of learning for each student. That might sound all well and good, but as a parent, four times a year to discuss how my child is doing in school is not enough. I knew I was not alone in my thinking.
I first heard of Seesaw in September of 2015. My tech coach at the time mentioned it one day in a planning meeting and I had it set up the next day. Seesaw acts as a digital portfolio, which is new. But what makes it better is that parents are notified of new items added to their child’s journal in real time. No more waiting until October, February, March and May for a conference to find out what and how a student is learning! I used Seesaw for the rest of the school year and had rave reviews from parents.
Sharing With Others
In my new role as a tech coach, I knew I had to share this resource with the teachers at my campuses. At one campus, they had a goal to communicate better and more often with the community. Bingo! The principal allowed me to have a full day for training before the school year even started. 90% of the teachers were open to using it, and parents have been very happy with having access to their child’s learning throughout the day. Teachers have enjoyed finding new and better ways to use Seesaw as well, and not just for keeping a digital record of learning. I love that this one tool has helped teachers be innovative too!
Not A Plug
This was not a shameless plug for Seesaw, but truly an example of something I see as innovative in the classroom. Parents being able to get a real time glimpse into their child’s classroom each day is amazing! Teachers using the tool to read tests to students who struggle with reading, or to “flip” their classrooms just a little bit, or simply to introduce young learners to the ability to comment on someone else’s work is even better. Students are using Seesaw to emulate many of the characteristics of the innovator’s mindset. Students are creating their own work, observing other students’ work, showing resiliency when something doesn’t go right the first time when creating a product, and reflecting on their own learning.
Because the use of Seesaw was campus-wide, teachers were automatically in a network together to support and guide each other through the process. Teams created roll-out plans together and were able to reflect on how everything was going, even if I wasn’t right there with them. New ideas are shared at staff meetings. Students and teachers are benefitting from this innovative resource!