Digital Portfolios In 1st Grade #IMMOOC

Last year, thanks to my son’s amazing Kindergarten teacher, I discovered the app Seesaw (merci Réjean!!). The very night that I received the handout with the QR code in order to sign up to follow my son’s learning journal, I was hooked! Without even knowing all that this app offered, I knew that I needed to use this in my own class.So, I started researching, questioning, and looking at how this could be an amazing tool for my students, especially in 1st grade! Digital portfolios literally just fell in my lap, and I ran with it!

I quickly got organized and off we went! I told myself that my goal was going to be to try to post at least once a day. The excitement quickly grew and not only did the students love it, but I got rave reviews from the parents as well! Gone were the days where the usual after school conversation went like this “What did you do at school today?” “Nothing”. Instead, the students and their parents had deeper conversations about the learning that was going on in class! I became so in love with this new tool that I not only told everyone who would listen about it, but I also presented how I used this tool in class during on the of Parent Committee meetings, and I even gave a session during a PD day so that other teachers could start using it too! This year, I’m pushing myself even further and my students are now in the driver’s seat. They are often posting things on their own and my hope is that by the end of the year, the students will all be managing their own learning journals independently.

Now, after having read about all of the benefits of digital portfolios found in The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, I’ve not only understood even more clearly why using Seesaw in class had done such wonders for myself, my students and their parents, but I’m also starting to question a few things…

Pros to using Seesaw:

  • VERY user friendly – my first graders can post pictures, videos, drawings, links and notes with just a few simple clicks
  • Improves communication with parents – parents get to see how their child is doing in school every single day (Fun fact: I was at home sick on Monday this week, and I got to see how my students were doing at school from my couch!)
  • Deepens learning – conversations are now had at home based on posts which encourages the students to talk about their learning with their families
  • Assessment – provides concrete evidence
  • Security settings – parents can only see the posts that their child is tagged in and the teachers can review all posts and comments before they are published
  • Audience – our parents (and sometimes grand parents too) like to follow our learning journals

Cons to using Seesaw:

  • Security settings – parents can only see the posts that their child is tagged in and the teachers can review all posts and comments before they are published… but, but, but, what about learning about their digital footprint?
  • Audience – posts are not public, so we can’t reach out to anyone in the world with this tool.
  • Continuum – although parents have the option of exporting their child’s journal at the end of the year, once the school year is over, their journals is achieved. This creates a break in the continuum that digital portfolios can and should create.

So, I guess I’m left thinking and wondering about if there is something newer and better than Seesaw! For now, I’m very happy with all that Seesaw is offering to my students, their families and I, but it is definitely something I will continue to think about! Why? Because that’s what innovators do! 🙂


  1. Lara

    October 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    For all the reasons you mentioned, we’ve just started blogging in grade 2 with Edublogs (but WordPress or Blogger could work too). To make it easy for our young learners, they access their blog using the Easyblog Jr app. I’m hoping that once students are older they can access their blogs using the regular dashboards. We use a school email to create the accounts at the moment.

    1. bethechangethatyouwanttoseeineducation

      October 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks Lara!! I will definitely have to explore that option!! 🙂

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