The Mind’s Playground

  I would consider myself a creative person, at least in my head. I can conjure up some great stuff in my head, but I am terrible when it comes to execution. My skill level seems to be lacking when I sit down and put what is in my head into reality. If I were ever given a project to do in school, I would always be excited because I could always design something in my brain that I knew would receive a 100. I knew that it would most likely be the best in the class; no one would be able to do as well as me. In the end, though, I would end up with maybe a B+ or possibly an A-, but never a 100. Now that I am older, I appreciate that I was allowed to be creative. I was allowed to take an assignment to show what I learned about the topic through some design.

     The 21st-century learner has access to more resources to help foster creativity–not necessarily “craft store” items like popsicle sticks and glue. Today’s students can use digital tools to demonstrate their learning. Computers can even print out a 3D model of a digital creation. Take that shoe boxes and construction paper! ISTE standards for educators standard 6d states: “Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections” (ISTE). In looking at this standard, I am asking the question, “What digital tool is available to best allow for student creativity for the student to demonstrate best the “Redefinition” level of the SAMR model? I am looking at Seesaw as a digital tool for students to express creativity with their learning.

The site defines its tool by saying, “Seesaw is a platform for student engagement. Teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links (Seesaw). Here is a great, short video describing Seesaw:

Or, if you prefer an infographic:

Because the SAMR model is specifically related to student engagement and technology, Seesaw allows students to jump straight to redefining because technology can replace the popsicle sticks, glue, and construction paper a student may use to create a visual representation of their learning. The student can take photos, add in graphics and record themselves through Seesaw. They do not have to take the time to figure to “redefine” with technology because Seesaw already has tools within its app. For example, a student is asked to explain the digestive system. Seesaw offers different ways for students to do that: take photos, create a video, or use built-in tools to draw the digestive system. In doing so, they are redefining based on the SAMR model in the easiest way possible without using multiple software tools to create the same result.
One cannot help but note that while digital tools like Seesaw and great pieces of technology allow students to be creative, I think that teachers must offer choices among students. There are some genuinely talented kids out there who, unlike the brain-to-hands process my creativity lacked, can produce and demonstrate learning through more hands-on materials like using clay or paint. Seesaw would then become a platform for which students showcase their creativity through a simple photograph uploaded to “display.” Whatever the process, the end goal is the fostering of creativity among students.


ISTE Standards for Educators. ISTE. (n.d.).

Johnston Learning Spotlight: Wallace Elementary. YouTube. (2015, November 30).

SAMR Model – Technology Is Learning. Google Sites. (n.d.).

Where learning happens. Seesaw. (n.d.).

4 thoughts on “The Mind’s Playground

  1. Nick R says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I appreciate your analysis of Seesaw considering the SAMR model. I love how you point out the flexibility of the tool in how students want to communicate their learning. Even with hands-on learning, Seesaw can be used as a tool to document and reflect upon a student’s process. Your post makes me wonder how to broach conversations with educators to see the value in using a tool like Seesaw while they return back to in-person learning.

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Vivian says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I enjoy reading your post and I cannot agree with you more that “One cannot help but note that while digital tools like Seesaw and great pieces of technology allow students to be creative, I think that teachers must offer choices among students.” It reminds me again technology should be utilized as tools, assistant, and partner for teachers, and we are still the one to select and create the learning for our students to meet their needs!


  3. Karen says:

    I was exposed to Seesaw as a communication tool for the teacher to show parents what their children were learning at school, so I hadn’t really thought about the tool being used in reverse for students to share what they’re doing at home with their teacher. I think there are possibilities for both, as a parent it’s fun to see pictures or other aspects of how my child interacts in the classroom and not just the worksheets or art pieces that they bring home at the end of the day. I also liked the simplicity of the tool too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the app, I’ll have to look into it more.

    On a side note, I’m curious how you would see this tool interacting with a learning management system, like Canvas or Moodle, etc. Does it integrate or are they two separate systems?

    1. admin says:

      Seesaw does integrate with Canvas. I haven’t tried it, but noticed it the last time I logged in.


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