Seesaw is an online platform that had been used by schools prior to COVID- 19 in New Hampshire to communicate with parents and share student work. Once schools closed, it became one of several online platforms used by teachers for remote learning in grades PreK-5 across the country. Seesaw is a digital platform where students can create, respond, reflect, and share knowledge with their teacher and peers using photos, videos, audio recordings, drawings, and text. Teachers create classrooms where student work can be assigned to the whole class or individual students. Comments can be made to student work using both text and audio. Seesaw also promotes ongoing communication with teachers, parents, and caregivers.
As a TVI and CATIS, I collaborated with my dual media student’s teachers to make materials digitally accessible. Using Seesaw, I also created my own activities focusing on braille and AT goals. My student’s assignments were adapted to reduce visual clutter, increase contrast and the font size of materials. All assignments that included text and visuals, also included an audio recording of instructions for the student. In addition to weekly video instruction provided by me using Zoom, video demonstrations were created for both the parent and student to learn how to use materials and complete assignments.
Since ESY was also remote, a combination of Zoom lessons and activities on Seesaw were created for my student. Each week, there was a new theme. For week one, the theme was Dragons Love Tacos because my student enjoys reading this book, while the theme for week two was cats. Example braille activities included writing alphabetic word signs from practice sentences related to the book, reading sentences including alphabetic word signs and the words “taco” and “dragons,” as well as using her iPad and Voiceover to read a digital version of Dragons Love Tacos. Emphasis during remote learning has focused on multimedia instruction in which the student accesses print with a video magnifier, reads large print/braille books, braille writing using a Perkins brailler and BrailleBuzz, as well as accessing digital books auditorily using her iPad and Voiceover. In the video below, I have shared braille and literacy activities created and assigned to my student using Seesaw.
The video below demonstrates Seesaw along with a variety of braille, print, and magnification activities and games that corresponded with the book, Dragons Love Tacos or were cat-themed.
Even though my student used Seesaw to access the first grade curriculum materials and activities toward IEP goals, it was not fully accessible. Seesaw is not accessible with screen readers. Seesaw’s accessibility needs to be improved for students who are blind and visually impaired. Recommendations to improve accessibility include labeling all buttons, using heading levels, improving navigation and page layout, including alt text, and adding options for high contrast and large print. By sharing this feedback with the developer, it is my hope that Seesaw will become more accessible for students who are blind and visually impaired when face to face instruction, a hybrid model, or remote learning is used this coming school year.
By R Saladino