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What is Flipgrid?
If you haven’t yet caught the #Flipgrid Fever, you’re in the same boat I was in this past school year. Simply put, Flipgrid is a way for teachers, students, and now parents to have video discussions amongst each other regardless of device. People can create a grid (hence the name) for videos that may begin with a simple introductory topic like “What did you do this summer?” or “What will you do to more effectively reach students this year?”, and participants can create video responses to the prompt and to each other. It’s an exciting way to convince both the class’s extroverts and introverts to share. Extroverts get a stage and the introverts have a personal platform that they can reflect on and manage instead of standing in front of the room. I personally like the platform, because it allows students who struggle with written or verbal communication to still express themselves in multiple ways. Also, there can be built in transcription for hearing impaired students.
It’s a wonderful system for classroom communication and reflection. You can generate unlimited topics and responses, view usage, send individual student feedback, and integrate with LMS platforms like Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, or Schoology all for the low price of FREE. Some of the premium features like replies, video exporting, unlimited grids, and grid duplication are only available with the paid Flipgrid Classroom subscription which right now is still a teacher-friendly $65 a year. Check out Flipgrid’s walkthrough video for a clearer overview.
On August 10th, Flipgrid live-streamed the launch for their all-new platform with a bundle of new features.
For Teacher Creation
- Discussion Sparks – Get a discussion started more easily than ever by embedding YouTube or Vimeo videos. You can add images, GIFs (pronounced however you like), or emojis (expressing whatever you like).
- Attachments – You can link content to your OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Twitter, and more. Link for more information or to add extra components to an assignment.
- Integrations – More connections and integration features with Canvas, Microsoft Teams, and many others.
- Dated Release – Record topics in advance and set a date for them to become visible and to freeze.
- Time limits – Now you can set video limits from 15 seconds to 5 minutes. Encourage brevity or require in-depth discussion.
- Dashboard – Now you can see student activity quickly from the dashboard and know when videos are posted and when you need to play catch up.
- Quickview – Quickly see videos replies, provide feedback, and share it.
- Feedback – This isn’t exactly new, but it is now free while paid accounts get the added benefit of custom rubrics.
- Sharing – Share grids, topics, and/or responses easily with other classes or students. You can even set up private sharing with parents that limit their access only to their child.
Moderation – If your students aren’t ready for an open environment, require videos to be approved before they post. This can now be different for every topic.
- QR Codes – Grids can also be shared via QR codes and there is a built-in, easy-to-use QR reader in the app.
For Student Creativity
- Profile Adds – Students can now add drawings or stickers to their profile pictures to individualize their experience. Don’t worry as you can turn these features off if they go overboard
- Response Pausing – Students can pause during responses and flip the camera to show projects or classmates.
- Response Recognition – Students can be recognized for their contribution and have their response turned into its own topic. It’s a great way to empower student voices.
- Sticky Notes – Students can create a script or make some quick notes without having to open a separate application or page.
- Expanded Voice – Students can add searchable hashtags, linked sites, or linked files to further elucidate their responses.
- Reactions – What do we think of more reaction emojis? Answer: 👏 😍
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” -Steve Jobs
My first try with Flipgrid involved staff at a professional development who I found somewhat reluctant to try it out (as is frequently the case with new technology). A couple of teachers recorded thoughtful responses to my prompt. A few teachers started to get silly, and then it took off. I then began at some of the featured connections for ideas. I began to try it with some adventurous classes and, I don’t know if it was the platform or their exhibitionist tendencies, but it was quickly a hit. Go figure, the YouTube generation didn’t want to stop recording their ideas.
To get a grid started just create a discussion board with a prompt and share the link with your students in Google Classroom or other LMS, via a QR code, or whatever other method works for you. You can (but don’t have to) create a video prompt to get students started. Students then create their own video responses via whatever device you choose. You and your students can then reply back and forth and take the conversation to new levels and let them spark new discussions.
- PD Introduction – Get staff to tell a little about themselves or what they know about the topic you’re discussing. Kick off the new year like they did at St. John’s Prep.
- Teacher Discussions – Video responses are a great way to have dialogue over a topic. A grade level team can have discussions whenever they’re available about assessment or content without having to find time and space for a scheduled meeting.
- Video Newsletter – Let staff and students contribute to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest happenings in your school. It’s an entertaining way to have staff share resources.
- Announcements – Whether you do it daily, weekly, or whenever necessary, video announcements are an easy and engaging way to let teachers know what is needed.
- Video Diary – Teachers should be reflecting on their practices regularly anyway, so why not make it fun with recordings that can be for private reflection or shared for those who need help or can provide guidance.
- Podcast – Tell some stories about cultures in social studies or reflect on the practice of scientific inquiry with back and forth recordings amongst staff.
- Collaborate – Get connected with teachers from your school or another state where teachers and students can find out what people in other places think about a topic.
- Crowdsourcing – If you’re looking for more ideas or inspiration simply put a prompt out for teachers to share.
- Introduction – Introduce yourself to students at the beginning of the year and the students to each other. Introduce a new topic to the students or introduce a new line of inquiry on a topic you’ve been discussing.
- Brainstorming – Students can generate content for stories or pitch project ideas.
- Debate – Are you torn on a controversial topic (like Team Edward or Team Jacob)? Then have students respond to each other via videos and attachments.
- Topic Reflection – Students can reflect on what they learn with “Now I think” statements. They can create a video exit ticket discussing how they might better tackle a project next time. Or after reading Macbeth just reflect on their favorite Shakespearean insults.
- Personal Stories – Students can share insight on their family background or their greatest hopes and fears.
- Responses – Get more open and insightful reading responses or get the quiet student in the back to finally respond to any questions. Students can respond to their learning about American imperialism.
- Presentations – If you’ve grown tired of hearing “Do I have to get up and talk?”, now you can respond with “No you don’t.” Just add to the grid and attach your materials.
- Collaborate – Older students can record book portions read for younger students or discuss their favorite book. Students can also learn facts or languages from students in other countries.
- Scientific Inquiry – Since you can upload videos filmed in other apps, you can use time-lapse to demonstrate long-term scientific changes and have students show their own processes.
- Flipped Instruction – Why not just post video explanations of your lessons that students can watch and reply to from home. Then class time can be spent building on that knowledge.
- Extreme HyperDocs – With the new attachment and integration features I can imagine some powerful interactive documents linked with video topic and replies.
- Encouragement – Just have a page for students to build each other up with positive and constructive responses to one another or maybe just the student of the week.
If you’re looking for more insight you can check example grids about getting started, how teachers use it in class, or how to use it outside of school. If you’ve become especially inspired you can look into becoming Flipgrid Community Builder or even a Flipgrid Certified Educator. Otherwise, you can just have fun and sing a song.
“It is not enough to simply listen to student voice. Educators have an ethical imperative to do something with students, and that is why meaningful student involvement is vital to school improvement.” -Adam Fletcher
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