Anyone who has followed me for longer than five minutes knows how much I love Seesaw. I am a very proud Seesaw Ambassador. I truly believe that it’s a game-changer in education. One of The most impressive things about it is that it is continually improving. Just when you think it can’t get better, it changes the game all over again.
Over the past few months, Seesaw has added some fantastic new features. Before I even had chance to blog about them, they added even more as part of their recent Seesaw 5.0 update. I aim to cover all of the new features here. If I have missed any since my previous post, please add the information to the comments section.
I am very excited that my school has committed to Seesaw for Schools (the school-wide paid version). For more information, click here. However, all of the features below are available on the free version.
Less recent updates (prior to Seesaw 5.0)
- Add file
Students can now upload a wider range of file types with ease. The new ‘Add File’ option allows users to upload from Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud Drive. If you don’t see all of these options straight away, click on the three dots to enable access (see image below). The following Google files can be uploaded: Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Drawings. Photos saved on Google Drive can be uploaded using this option as well. Photos will upload as image files, while all other Google files will upload as PDFs. This means that a Google account is not necessary in order for the audience to view them. For other Google files that are not yet supported (I’m thinking of Forms in particular), just generate a link to the document and add it as a link instead.
- Screen casting (only available on iOS so far)
Students can now record audio while drawing or creating text labels. Their simultaneous annotations and audio are captured as a video, effectively creating a screen casting feature. Simply click ‘REC’ from the drawing options. This feature is only available on image uploads so far.
- New interface
Seesaw has designed a new interface that conveniently places all important options on one screen. It is simple to toggle between different viewing modes and features. In the image below, you can see the class feed on the left with the calendar view option above. The other options can be found on the right-hand side, above the list of students. It looks the same for students apart from they don’t see the skills option. If the class blog isn’t enabled, they won’t see that option either. Importantly, the wrench icon (or spanner for fellow Brits) is the new home of your class settings.
- Customisable theme and icon
As part of the new layout, teachers can now customise their class with a colour and icon. The colour options that Seesaw offers all work well with the white text. Seesaw offers a range of icons to choose from, but you can also upload your own image. By customising classes, it makes it much easier for teachers and students to toggle between classes and ensure that they’re working in the correct one. To find your list of classes, select your name at the top-left. Your classes will appear in the sidebar for easy navigation back and forth.
- Announcements and messages
When teachers click the green ‘+’ icon, they will now see an option to add an announcement. This can be sent to all students, all families, or all students and families. After receiving an announcement, families (not students) can privately reply if they wish (this feature can be disabled). No other families or students will see these private messages. To see all announcements and messages, click the new ‘inbox’ option (see image below). From here, you can also select individual families to message privately. Importantly, announcements/messages do not appear in the class feed or anyone’s blog/portfolio. Students and families will also access them from their inbox.
- Family app
This is the new name for the Parent app, renamed to be more inclusive of varying family situations. Up to ten family members can have access to each student’s portfolio. This is not a new app. Family members just need to update their Parent app. The interface is organised into three key sections:
- Home: this feed shows all of the items from all of their children’s accounts from the past sixty days.
- Journal: From here, family members choose which child’s journal to open. On iOS, family members can now take advantage of the calendar view and folder filter. These features will soon be added to web and Android versions.
- Inbox: This section shows all announcements and private messages from their children’s teachers.
I hope that this guide to new features is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Please add any additional information to the comments section if I have forgotten anything. If you love Seesaw as much as I do, consider becoming a Seesaw Ambassador. The next cohort will be trained in January. Click here for more information.
Please note, on Sunday 16th July when this is scheduled to be published, I’ll be halfway up my trek to Machu Picchu with no internet access. If your comments don’t receive replies straight away, you know why. I’ll respond to them (as I always do) once the trek is over. Thanks for your patience.