Rosendale School’s remote learning journey with SeeSaw

Rowan Roberts shares the inspiring way in which Rosendale School is using SeeSaw to stay connected with their classmates and teachers.

Rosendale Research School has a rich and varied approach to remote learning, some of which we’ve already shared. Its use of YouTube is heavily referenced in our guide, and headteacher Kate Atkin’s six best practice principles for remote learning in an emergency have helped shape our thinking since she shared them with us. 

Rosendale has also been using Seesaw. We supported the school to get started with Seesaw several years ago during the second phase of the ReflectEd research project we developed together, which was all about metacognition. Metacognition, or ‘learning about how we learn’, is a way of encouraging pupils to better understand how they learn and ReflectED used technology to enable fast, effective reflections and feedback. 

Writing and reflecting

We helped Rosendale to find a technological solution to enable children record key moments of learning and for teachers to learn from that data. When we started the first trial we selected the business tool Evernote as a way for children to record and tag their learning but by the second trial See Saw had been launched and its functionality and design for schools meant that the metacognition process was enhanced.

When Rosendale introduced Seesaw to the project I facilitated the training of its teachers, and when the research project was expanded to include schools around the country I worked with Rosendale staff to train the participating teachers. I was an admin on the Rosendale account for a while and so was aware of how it was being used to support the ReflectEd approach; children would photograph their work and write or record reflections on what they had learnt while doing it, what they needed to practice and where they could see themselves progressing.

A growth mindset

In this way the children developed a vocabulary for talking about their own learning as well as supporting each other – an ethos that was adopted beyond the duration of the research project. There is a strong growth mindset culture in Rosendale; pupils understand that finding something difficult is all part of the learning process and that with patience and determination we can grow. 

Through this process the children have also become familiar with Seesaw and how they can use it to access activities, share their work and engage with their classmates by posting comments and clicking ‘like’. 

All this has undoubtedly been extremely helpful for Rosendale’s ability to adapt to the current situation. Since teachers are now using Seesaw so much more, and because I had worked with them on it at the beginning, the school recently asked me to return as an administrator in order to help them get the most out of the platform’s data analytics features. Yesterday I logged in for the first time since lockdown began, which turned out to be an unexpectedly moving experience. 

10,000 posts, 7,000 comments and 8,000 likes!

I was immediately greeted with the news that in the last seven days pupils had made a total of 10,000 posts, 7,000 comments and 8,000 likes. The overview page also gave me a rundown of some of the most recent posts by children. I could see that, as well as photos of drawings and handwriting practice, voice and video recordings and solutions to maths challenges, the pupils were using the platform to stay connected with their peers. Some posted pictures of craft activities they had been doing with their families, or shared things they had seen while out on a walk, or recorded happy birthday messages for their classmates. Teachers were also using the comment function, both for feedback and to respond to the children’s messages. In addition, the SeeSaw analytics meant that teachers can see exactly how much engagement children have with learning at a distance and they can contact and support vulnerable children in different ways. And, of course, it all helps with engendering a sense of belonging and ‘teacher presence’ that is so important in remote learning (see the recent EDT report on Best Practice in Pedagogy in Remote Teaching, which London CLC’s director Sarah Horrocks contributed to, for more on this crucial aspect of remote learning). 

I’m not sure I can explain the full mix of emotions I felt when I saw all the interaction on SeeSaw. I was inspired by the children and teachers, proud to have played a part in the process, but also sad that the children clearly missed each other so much, and that we’re still a long way from this kind of online community being accessible to all children across the country. Within any school digital inequalities will be acting as a barrier for some pupils, and, of course, because there was so little time to prepare for this situation there will also be many schools unable to access the staff training and support that might be needed to get started with a platform like Seesaw. 

Having said all that, if teachers have shown us anything in recent weeks it’s that they are dedicated and adaptable. Seesaw is one example, but we have seen so many innovative, inspiring ways that schools are staying connected with their pupils (read our blog post about how teachers are sharing activities with pupils and parents for some great examples). And of course, it’s not just about which tool you use but about how you use it. We hope that the materials we’ve been putting together over the past weeks, as well as the training we continue to provide, are helping other schools to navigate this situation, and would like to remind our SLA schools that we are just a phone call or an email away if there’s anything more we can do to help as you find your new normal.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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