At Washington Township, innovative PD practices inspire new waves of teachers to adopt Seesaw

 

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Kathi Kersznowski, tech integration specialist at Washington Township Public Schools, shares how offering a variety of meaningful PDs to accommodate different teacher lifestyles and learning preferences helped boost Seesaw adoption and usage district-wide.  She also shares details about one particularly successful half-day PD called Seesaw Show and Tell.

Let’s explore!


District Name: Washington Township Public Schools

Location: Sewell, NJ

Technology Setup: iPads

Implementation Grades: K-2

Students in Implementation: 1,600

 
 
I have no doubt that when teachers start to use Seesaw and they have some support and they’re dabbling, they’re going to fall in love — and they’re going to want to use it more.
— Kathi Kersznowski

Why did your district decide to purchase Seesaw for Schools?

Kathi Kerznowski: We had teachers using Seesaw in different schools and word was catching on.  I was using it and so was my former colleague Jessica and we knew the power of it.  We brought the idea to our administrators and they came in and observed some lessons and they saw what was happening.  Actually, I remember going on tour with one of the Board of Education members where she saw a dynamic teacher using it in incredible ways — and they were just sold.  They thought, “We need to do this so that everyone is using it, let’s establish some sort of expectations because it’s just magnificent!” We really wanted to make Seesaw part of the district culture.  And now we’ve got Seesaw for Schools so the students’ work moves with them year to year.

How has Seesaw for Schools impacted your district?

Kathi Kerznowski: Seesaw enables so many capabilities!  A lot of our teachers have ditched using other methods of communication, we’ve got parents signed up and accessing learning through Seesaw, and there’s a lot less photocopying!  It’s a great enabler for our students with accessibility needs and beyond. It enables every kind of learner because it’s visual, kinesthetic, auditory, tactile — it’s got all the learning modalities.  Seesaw also enables teachers to have a one stop shop to find everything they need. It’s a whole record of what students are doing, all in one place.

What’s the secret sauce that has led to such a successful implementation of Seesaw for Schools?

Kathi Kerznowski: I think one of the biggest factors is having tech integration specialists like myself and my colleague.  Our district really supports the initiative and we have a varied service model which means we help teachers in a number of different ways.  For example, remotely through screencasts or webinars across the whole district.  We have an online booking calendar so teachers can book with us and we meet with them to consult. We’re also available for live bookings where we do live demo lessons with students in the classroom as needed.  We offer PDs that are grade-level specific as well. Sometimes we’ll pull in just first and second grade teachers and say, “Let’s play together and find out our best practices and share new tricks!”   And finally we have a big district-wide in-person PD — so we really have a lot of different opportunities to support our teachers. We tap into the early adopters, which is a great model for all edtech integration. You get those dynamo people who are great at cheerleading and you celebrate them publicly like in newsletters.  Those were the people that helped lead our big Seesaw Show and Tell PD initiative.

What’s the Seesaw Show and Tell PD?

Kathi Kerznowski: Seesaw Show and Tell PD was conceptualized by my colleague Jessica Soulliard. It’s this amazing half-day station rotation where superstar Seesaw teachers share their knowledge with other teachers from various schools in our district. There were two shifts, morning and afternoon with the same six topics and over 80 teachers attended. 

The first step was to go through the Seesaw admin dashboard to find our rockstars as well as those who weren’t totally convinced yet.  Once we knew who our power users were could bring them along to be presenters to teach and help target teachers who weren’t quite there yet or who haven’t connected families yet.  

This was the layout: We had six tables around the room and one central table.  The six stations around the room were manned by those rockstar teachers to teach topics that we suggested or we also gave them autonomy to pick a topic of their choice that they felt really comfortable with. 

The six stations were:

  • Seesaw for Independent Centers/Stations 

  • Appsmashing with PicCollage and ChatterPix

  • Using the Activity Library 

  • Recording Tips and Management 

  • Connecting Families 

  • QR Codes

Each station lasted about 20 minutes and the table in the middle was a workstation. The middle workstation is an opportunity to reflect about a particular station you visited and really loved.  That way you can come back and process what you learned and think about how you can do it in your class. That was the point — a sort of independent sit-and-think-deeper-about-it place. 

This was all very intentional — we did eight 20 minute blocks so that everyone could visit all six stations (including the presenters) and have one or two down periods where they can revisit a station or hit that center work table.

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What kind of reactions did you get? And why was it such a big hit?

Kathi Kerznowski: Everybody wants time to play and collaborate on a specific topic like Seesaw with their peers.  What was so great and successful was that a lot of people got a lot of individualized, personalized, take-what-you-want-from-this PD. 

At the end of the PD people said they wanted another one! I thought that's a great idea, but what I'd like to do next time is not invite back any of those rockstar teachers to be the presenters but instead invite the teachers who came to learn — and they can be the next round of presenters. That way, we're empowering the next group of teachers who then take this PD to the next level. 

 
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What is a piece of advice you would give another district in New Jersey thinking about implementing Seesaw?

Kathi Kerznowski: Take advantage of all of Seesaw’s amazing resources! There is no company that is better at having pre-created resources and support.  Your help page is better than any other edtech company. You offer everything from printables to a strong online community on social media. Oh and the Chatbot is just one of the coolest things.  I ask my teachers, “Are you a video learner? Good, they've got videos for that.” 

 

Want to learn more about Seesaw for Schools?