A Review of Flipgrid
Flipgrid is one of the more popular EdTech tools that is currently on the market. There are a few obvious reasons for this: first, it is free to use, making it more accessible to teachers and school systems, regardless of technology budget. Second, the idea behind Flipgrid is a simple concept that works in a similar fashion to many other popular technologies. Students, and many teachers, are already communicating through popular video-messaging apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, and Facebook Live. Flipgrid works in a similar way, where videos can be taken from a mobile device and uploaded to a platform to be viewed by others. In this case, the viewers are classmates and teachers instead of a social network. Third, Flipgrid is easy to share (links are provided for each ‘grid,’ making them easy for teachers to embed and learners to click) and can be accessed from any device.
With Flipgrid, teachers can quickly and easily create an account and begin working with the main content of the site. While the videos created through Flipgrid are not necessarily interactive, they do allow teachers to interact with their students in a much more direct way than simply watching video content. These video interactions are much more stimulating than a traditional discussion board as students and teachers are able to listen and visually pair a students’ face and voice with their ideas and contributions to the discussion. This type of active engagement makes students into Creative Communicators; an ISTE learning standard encouraging students to engage educationally (not just socially) with the digital media all around them. Instructors can post their video content asking questions or providing discussion prompts for their students, who can then respond with their own videos taken right from their mobile phones. There are a variety of different ways that Flipgrid can be utilized to create course discussions, such as answering a teacher prompt individually, responding to each other’s videos (peer discussion), and small group discussion. Each of these interactions contributes to the Global Collaborator standard from ISTE, allowing students to work together on a small group or full-class scale to achieve a common goal.
By ‘flipping’ the classroom to an interactive space where students can become a part of knowledge creation instead of knowledge receivers, instructors are becoming better facilitators of learning and actively supporting student achievements. Flipgrid’s main page for educators features a banner showing important analytics about student engagement for easy reference.
This pushes educators to become better Anlaysts (ISTE standard), gathering data about student learning that can then become a part of student assessment without taking a physical test. While many learning frameworks can be related to the positive implementation of Flipgrid in the classroom, the Triple E framework stands out as both easy to understand and easy to implement with this technology. For the educator, applying the Triple E framework to your Flipgrid lesson before introducing it to students is much more likely to result in better success in using Flipgrid, or really any new technology, in the classroom. The Triple E framework encourages educators to assess their lessons with new technologies to make sure that they Engage the students, Enhance their learning, and lessons can Extend to their everyday lives. Let’s look at Flipgrid compared to a typical online discussion board. In an online discussion board, an instructor would post a prompt such as “introduce yourself.” Students then post a brief statement about themselves below, and maybe they read a few posts from other students to associate an identity with a username. By moving this activity to Flipgrid, students are representing themselves visually, audibly, and through language by posting a video introducing themselves. Flipgrid further enhances this by allowing students to use filters, gifs, and emojis in their videos. Engagement in this activity is much higher than in a discussion board, learning is enhanced, and students are better able to take part in the activity, which can extend their learning.
One major drawback to Flipgrid is the time limit. While a good response or rebuttal can be easily achieved within the 90 second response video limit, students will have a hard time introducing new ideas or explaining concepts in-depth in this time frame. Flipgrid could combat this by allowing students to create new threads within a grid; perhaps posting their own ‘discussion topic’ video that relates back to the main discussion prompt, but begins its own branch of discussion and has no time limit. Overall though, Flipgrid earns its spot as one of the most popular tech tools for education. It allows both students and instructors to engage with content and one another in a more modern and interactive way, while also promoting the use of digital tools and analytics to enhance learning and assessment. I would recommend the use of Flipgrid to any educator that wants to promote discussion and interaction among students that are not sharing a physical space.