Online learning platforms took the place of in-person educational institutions during the pandemic. Even though we're back to in-person group settings, you can still use these virtual learning platforms! For example, you can use these platforms for educational games, educational resources, and interactive lesson plans. Although online classes aren't the norm anymore, these online programs provide educational opportunities to students in a fun way. The online platform I'm currently obsessed with is called Seesaw.
Before I get into the tips for using online learning platforms like Seesaw, I wanted to talk about it a little bit. If you aren’t familiar with the platform, Seesaw is an online tool where teachers can assign, create, and view digital assignments. There are mobile and desktop versions so that students can use them regardless of their available devices. It also allows for connecting with families for communication. Students can even use Seesaw to take pictures of their work to create a portfolio.
Seesaw is one of the best online learning tools, especially when remote learning experiences were the only teaching method during the pandemic. In addition, this platform is a great way to incorporate interactive media into your classroom routine, even when teaching in person. So, keep reading to discover how you can teach your students online learning platforms such as Seesaw and use them to your advantage.
Tip #1: Have Explicit Lessons on Using Online Learning Platforms
Like anything in kindergarten, you need to show students how to use Seesaw before they use it themselves. Therefore, I recommend sharing your screen with students online or in-person while completing an activity. For example, you can show students how to use certain tools on the platform. Kindergarten students will mostly use tools like the “select and move” tool and the “entering a text box” tool. Then, make sure students have the right activities with ample time to practice using those tools. You want to practice these activities with them before expecting them to complete an assignment alone.
Here is an excellent example of phonics lessons that kids can do at their own pace. You or a parent can check their work after they're finished.
Tip #2: Try to Incorporate Moveable Pieces
As mentioned before, Seesaw has a cool feature where students can select moveable pieces and move them to where they belong. To me, this seems like the simplest way for kindergarten students to complete digital assignments, as most are probably somewhat familiar with drag-and-drop games and activities. An example of this would be a math activity where students solve addition problems. It would be helpful to simply drag and drop the answers to the problem rather than create a text box and then paste it into it. Think of it like a digital, cut-and-paste activity. Of course, this is not to say that you shouldn’t do any other type of activity. Still, students would have an easier time completing this type of digital assignment, especially if they were new to using Seesaw.
Tip #3: Utilize the Activity Library
Creating educational materials through Seesaw for your students is a great way to use interactive content. After all, you know what course materials your students need to be working on. However, it can become time-consuming and stressful to create original content for your students constantly. The best thing about Seesaw is that it has an “Activity Library,” where you can search through interactive games and online lessons that have already been created by and for teachers like you. Suppose you aren’t finding exactly what you need in Seesaw’s library of activities. In that case, you can also search Teachers Pay Teachers, where many education experts have free and paid resources that they have added to Seesaw. Utilizing the activity library can take a lot of stress off your plate while still providing your students with high-quality educational content.
Tip #4: Connect Families with Online Learning Platforms
My final tip for using Seesaw in kindergarten is to connect with families. Parents love being able to see their child’s progress and what they've been working on. On the other hand, students love sharing their portfolios with their parents. It is a great way to get parents more involved in what their students are working on in school and a great way to help students take pride in their work. Overall, it can be an excellent tool for communicating with students' families.
Final Thoughts on Online Learning Programs
Seesaw and other online learning programs have become more important than ever over the past year. Despite teaching in person instead of a virtual classroom, the age of learning is becoming more technological. Since the pandemic, online education has become the ideal choice for kids of all ages because it offers so much flexibility. Even in the classroom, using online activities and lessons allows you to use what another certified teacher already created.