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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FlipGrid

Sara Kajder (@skajder) is an educator and author.  Back in my U of L college days, I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Kajder as one of my education professors.  Web 2.0 was in its infancy, but Sara impressed me with her ability to integrate literacy with (what was then brand new!) edtech.

Recently, Dr. Kajder reached out on Facebook to her teacher Friends and asked them to share how they plan their classes, for the benefit of her pre-teaching students.  The way she did so, however, introduced a new tool to my toolbelt: FlipGrid.

How does it work?  A teacher sets up an account and creates a Grid (think of it as a class, section or period).  For each Grid, you can create Questions to pose to your students.  For each Question, the students record a video Response up to 90 seconds in length, which is uploaded to the site; students can also view the Responses of others.   Each Question has its own sharable unique URL. You can create as many Questions per Grid as you want, and there is no limit to the amount of Responses you can post.

After a Prezi on flipped and blended learning, I created my own FlipGrid and asked teachers to share a tool they planned to try out in the classroom.  (Kara Clark of Southside Elementary was the first to respond to the Question!)



The interface is one of the simplest I've seen.  No student accounts or logins are necessary; just go to the Question's link.  Click on the plus sign, and once you give the site permission to use your webcam and mike, you can be recording in seconds. A timer counts down your 90 seconds as you record, and you keep doing it over until you are happy with the end result.

How could you use it?  As I showed with Dr. Kajder and myself, getting a different kind of feedback for PD, and create sharing across a school or district, could be a new way of  interacting with teachers. This is a fantastic and engaging way to get feedback from your students -- ALL students.  You know the one that won't pick up a pencil?  Or an exceptional child that has difficulty typing? Or an ELL student that is perhaps shy to share out loud in class?  Perhaps a discussion starts on FlipGrid, and continues in the classroom. Or have students watch at least two other responses and uptake what was said by posting on an online forum.  For flipped classrooms, students could watch your content on YouTube or a TED talk and their FlipGrid response is the accountability piece to make sure they did the outside classwork.

Downsides?  On my MacBook Air, I found that FlipGrid worked best with Safari.  (I could not record in Chrome.)  I tried to access a FlipGrid Question with my Android smartphone via a Firefox browser; I could watch Responses but I could not record one. According to their FAQ, there is an iPad app, with iPhone and Android apps in the works for 2015.  Responders will therefore need an iPad or a webcam and mike for desktop computers (any recent laptop will have both built in).  You can get a 21 day free trial to try it out, but afterwards it is $65 a year.  You are limited to 5 Grids during your 21 day trial, and 10 Grids on the K-12 paid account.   The Questions (and therefore, the video Responses) are not truly private, since anyone with the link can access, so I recommend getting permissions from parents, especially from those under 13.

Give FlipGrid a try, and if you do, please share your experience in the comments below.

[Update 5/3/17: Flipgrid now offers a limited free single grid option for teachers, Flipgrid One.  Be sure to visit their site for the latest price structures and options.]



1 comment:

  1. Flipgrid recently announced "Flipgrid One," a free educator version of their product! More info here: http://blog.flipgrid.com/news/2017/1/9/introducing-flipgrid-classroom

    ReplyDelete