Last year, my students were journaling in my blended class. While I believe that I was able to learn interesting facts about them and it helped with their writing, they were a pain to find and read on WordPress. They were unpublished, so I had difficulty accessing them. However, this year, I want to try something different!
This past week at #langchat (a weekly Twitter discussion on Thursday nights), Amy Lenord discussed the new-ish app Seesaw. I have read a lot about it, and it seems perfect for the foreign language classroom! Students can create an e-portfolio using this app. You can add photos, videos or PDFs of their creations. They can also add voice (up to 5 minutes), drawing and written annotations. Since I have created a class, it will all go through me, so I won’t have to try to find all of the old blog links.
Parents can also see what their children are doing! They can add the app and receive notifications when their child has posted something in the journal. I am really excited about this piece! Many parents really want to hear their child speaking in the target language. Many students really do not enjoy speaking a foreign language in front of their parents. (Aside: I am totally one of those people. My parents get really excited when I speak in Spanish and will try to push me to do so at ANY OPPORTUNITY even now!) This way, it is a non invasive way for parents to hear their students speaking. Parents can only see their own child’s work. However you can tag multiple students, so if you take a picture from a field trip, you could tag the students, so all parents can see. Parents can also give feedback to their children.
While I will use it with journaling, it can also be used for retells of stories. Students could quickly sketch out a picture from a story then retell the story using the annotation piece. It would also be neat to use with FVR (Free Voluntary Reading). Students could snap a picture of the cover of what they are reading and explain the story. I encourage you to check it out! (A 90 second video is here!)