One of the tools that has become an absolute go-to for teachers and students during the pandemic is FlipGrid. For our first Carl’s Corner post, I’m going to take a look at the company, the app, and share some resources and ideas around using FlipGrid in your next class.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s the case here. Back in 2014, University of Minnesota professor Charles Miller was in the process of traveling abroad and needed a way to create communicate with his graduate students. Rather than have students just respond to a discussion board or thread, he had them post video replies. Thus, Flipgrid was born.
While the platform has always been free to use, in 2018, the tech giant Microsoft purchased Flipgrid allowing it to be integrated with Microsoft365 accounts and expand on its ever growing library of video posts. The company has continued to grow and evolve, adding educators like edu-rock star Ann Kozma to their staff and making updates and adjustments to the product based on educator needs. But at its core, FlipGrid is still a clean and simple way for students to communicate in an asynchronous video environment.
Since the acquisition by Microsoft, the product has evolved from a video messaging platform to a more robust way to gather student feedback as well as voice. Some of the more substantial features include the addition of a whiteboard, video captions, FlipGrid AR, and the ever expanding Flipgrid Disco library. This past year may have been a tough year for most of us, but Flipgrid saw this pandemic and subsequent remote teaching as motivation for greatly improving their product. Some of the lastest notable updates this past year include “Supercharged replies” for better peer-to-peer interactions, the ability to create and share Mixtapes, longer video response times (up to 10 minutes), and one of my favorites, the split screen board.
Company with a cause
As the company has grown, its kept educators and the education of all children central to its ethos. They regularly offer ideas, tips, and strategies through their blog as well as professional learning opportunities freely offered to teachers on a regular basis. They’ve begun a series of virtual field trips to bring in noted authors, scientists, designers and humanitarians for classes to visit and interact with.
While they don’t outwardly say it, this company supports diversity and social activism through their actions and resources. For Black History Month, they’ve expanded their library of topics and collections and included virtual field trips with several noted authors including Frederick Joseph and his book “The Black Friend”. They’ve also partnered with several organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative and amplified projects like Microsoft Sway’s Black History Month’s immersive experiences.
Ideas for classroom use
With all these new features and resources, it can be a lot to digest for a teacher just getting started with Flipgrid as a tool. As with any new tool, I always recommend playing around with it and testing it out with your students some first.
First use idea:
A great first use might be to use Flipgrid to ask your students, “What are some ways we could use this tool in the classroom” and see what they might come up with in their responses.
Subject Specific Ideas:
Math teachers can use the annotating white board tool and split screen feature to make quick video instructions for those students that need to review or may have missed the concept. ELA teachers can have students summarize a passage, recite their favorite poem or quote, or even have them dialogue with each other as a sort of asynchronous virtual book club. Social studies teachers can have students debate important topics and significant historical events. Science teachers can have students record and capture experiments then upload them onto the Flipgrid so they can monitor and reflect on progress.
For me, I still love it as a way to brainstorm and gather ideas. I’ve used it when presenting at conferences or with school PD not only to model its use, but as a way to hear the variety of ideas from the audience. In my Ed Tech Lip Sync Battle session, we set up various topics and subjects and have teachers share ideas around various tools. For my online course, I use it as a way for teachers to complete a self-paced challenge with another tool (Screencastify). Using it in this way, let’s me see the many creative ways that teachers can integrate video in their instruction.
Many others have blogged and created resources for creative ways to utilize this tool. Here are just a few that I’ve either used or come across when researching this post:
9 New Ways to Use Flipgrid in the Classroom (Edutopia)
Flipgrid for All! 50+ ways to us Flipgrid in your class (Ditch that Textbook)
40 ideas for using Flipgrid (TeachThought)
Age specific uses of Flipgrid for Remote Learning (Flipgrid blog)
If you have found success using Flipgrid in your classroom, feel free to comment below with your ideas. Also, if you have a tool or app that you’d like me to look at and review, feel free to fill out this form. I’ll be sure to give you a shout out (if you like) as well! (Please note – if you are a vendor/company – fill out this link for a sponsored review)
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