Flipgrid Grid Tip: Professional Development

The following is the first in a series of guest posts from Kali Alford, Instructional Technology Specialist at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. In each post Kali will present a unique way you can use Flipgrid both inside and outside of your classroom.

Professional learning networks have long enabled teachers to share ideas and new strategies with colleagues. At the center of many of these networks are educational conferences such as ISTE, CUE, and various local ones as well. Conferences can be a great way for teachers to improve their practice and grow their professional learning networks. Adding Flipgrid to the formula can enhance teachers’ conference experiences and the impact of their PLNs.

Whether you are collaborating with a small group of teachers or an entire professional learning network, you can personalize your conference experience by “getting on the Grid.” Launch a grid for the conference you are attending and share the link on social media. Add topics such as “New Ideas” – where teachers can share new ideas or strategies they’ve just learned or maybe one like “Hot Topics” – where you and your teachers can have your own dialogue about the conference while attending it!

If you can't find the time to attend or if by chance you’re not the conference type, and would prefer to ditch the concrete itinerary and structure of traditional conferences – Flipgrid works perfectly for that too! Unconference aficionados rejoice and host your next unconference with Flipgrid. Launch a grid and post topics to serve as discussion rooms or cafés. Share the URLs and before you know it you’ve got an epic unconference on your hands. With the Flipgrid mobile app your participants can take part in the discussion from the comfort of their own home or classroom.  Since Flipgrid has no limits on the amount of topics you can post, your unconference is only limited by the size of your professional learning network – which I have a feeling will be growing larger soon!  

Meet the 2016 Flipgrid Heroes

Thank you to all who applied for our 2016 Flipgrid Heroes Fellowship, and to everyone who continues to serve as an advocate for student voice. The work you do is incredibly important, and we are fortunate to be part of such a passionate and innovative community. 

In support of their efforts to champion student voice, Flipgrid Heroes will receive a $500 fellowship, a one-year Flipgrid license/extension, a Flipgrid Heroes hooded sweatshirt, and a Flipgrid pack of fun goods. 

Congratulations to the 2016 Flipgrid Heroes!

Chris Staple, Dong Thap University

Alex Fischer, Tanglen Elementary

Rich Perry, Calhoun High School

Jennifer Saarinen, Kickemuit Middle School

Andy Plemmons, David C Barrow Elementary

Marion Holland, Mann Elementary

Nicole LaFave, Fort Mills High School

Jayme Linton, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Radio Cremata, Ithaca College

Roopali Phadke, Macalester College

Flipgrid Supports Evidence-Based Practices

The following is a guest post from Christopher Devers (@edprofessor). Christopher is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Director of Research at the Center for Learning and Innovation at Indiana Wesleyen University.

Flipgrid is a tool; and like any tool, its value depends on how it is used. My colleagues and I used Flipgrid to support and encourage self-explanation. We conducted a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project in which students responded to discussion questions either on Flipgrid or online in a written form. Overall, students who responded to questions using Flipgrid scored better on exams and significantly better on exam three compared to students who answered the same questions in a written format. It is likely that using Flipgrid encouraged self-explanation and decreased cognitive load. Students in the Flipgrid condition may have been less concerned with grammar than students in the written condition. It is also possible that Flipgrid encouraged a more active learning environment and increased metacognition.

Currently, we are running a second iteration of the study and have several new experimental and SoTL projects in the works! Flipgrid is simple to use, and when combined with evidence-based practices, it can have a positive impact on learning!

Flipgrid Story: Jen Saarinen

Jen Saarinen teaches math at Kickemuit Middle School in the Bristol Warren Regional School District in Rhode Island. She teaches the same group of students for two years, in both sixth and seventh grade. One of the biggest challenges she faces is getting students to speak their math thinking and to critique their peers. After seeing Jen in this Bristol Warren Regional School District video, we reached out to learn more about her Flipgrid Story.

How did you discover Flipgrid?

I was introduced to Flipgrid at a breakout session during the 2015 Digital Literacy Institute held in Providence, RI. Renee Hobbs ran the session. She highlighted her use of Flipgrid in her higher ed classes as well as K-12 teachers in Rhode Island who had used Flipgrid the school year before. I immediately started to think about how I could take Flipgrid into my math classroom.

How did you get your students on board?

I was so excited to start to use Flipgrid in my classroom! I shared that excitement and also explained that as a member of our district's Digital Learning Team, I needed to learn new things and incorporate different technology into the classroom. The students were quick to jump on board when they found out that they got to take a selfie! I also prefaced our use of the app in that if it didn't work for us, we'd find something different. Fortunately, we didn't have to find another app for our needs.

How often do you use Flipgrid?

Last year I tried to use Flipgrid at least once a month during class and once a month as a HW task to be completed. Students often recorded in partners or small groups for the "during class" assignments.

What’s an example of a topic you’ve posed on Flipgrid?

Standards for Mathematical Practices: "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them" (SMP1), and "Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others" (SMP3).
For this topic students worked in small groups to complete and record responses to a couple of multi-step math problems that were posed to them. The initial responses were not viewable to other students until I was ready for them to work on SMP 3. At this time, I allowed all responses to be viewable and assigned students the task of critiquing the work of other groups who completed the same problems. This allowed students to look at and critique the work of students in other math classes. Students completed a paper response form that was shared with the group who recorded a response.
Teach others how to use this technology!
I assigned two homework assignments where the students had to ask/beg/convince a parent/guardian/adult to complete a math problem and then record the response on Flipgrid. Students were then asked to use the same skills practiced in the previous topic to critique the work that the parents recorded. This was an awesome experience and I was proud to have almost 90% of my parents participate! Students were able to see how math thinking varies among people, especially across different "generations" of math teaching/learning.
Memorial Day Reflection
Upon attending our first Memorial Day Presentation at our school, which included previous service members in our community, we asked our team to reflect on how their Memorial Day Celebration may differ after attending the presentation.
Staff Introductions for our Back to School 2016-2017
I pitched the idea to my Principal to have our staff introduce themselves through Flipgrid as a way to build excitement for the year ahead, a simple way for others to see how Flipgrid works, and a way for our families to learn something interesting about the teachers!
Student introductions to our team.
Again, a simple way for all students to familiarize themselves with the app before being asked to complete a math-related response.

How has Flipgrid impacted your students? What feedback have you heard from students (both positive and negative)?

The biggest impact is that Flipgrid has prompted student communication of math thinking by ALL students, not just the ones who raise hands during class discussion. Flipgrid allows students to hear multiple ways of problem solving and learn from each other.

How has Flipgrid influenced the way you educate?

My ability to have every child communicate (and preserve) their math thinking and see progress throughout the year, or how it is applied to different areas of math helps immensely with the way that I can continue to plan for student motivation and success in my classroom.

How do you plan on using Flipgrid moving forward?

I am psyched that Flipgrid has taken into consideration the needs/requests of educators who are using the app across the country and beyond. I am anxious to plan a lesson that will require students to respond to another's student response, especially since this feature is new this year. I am constantly thinking about creative ways that I can continue to use Flipgrid in the math classroom and beyond!

What an awesome use of Flipgrid, Jen! We're grateful for your innovative, yet practical approach to engaging students in learning mathematics.

In addition to seeing her Flipgrid Story (above), check out that aforementioned Bristol Warren Regional School District video (below), where Jen discusses how Flipgrid allows her ninety-five students to learn with and from each other through explaining their problem solving and then evaluating that of their peers.

Voices with Antarctica

The Flipgrid team is thrilled to announce a unique opportunity for your students to connect with a scientist in one of the most remote places on Earth: Antarctica. Join the new Voices with Antarctica grid today!

We've partnered with Laura Goetz, a marine biologist based at Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica. Laura will be using Flipgrid in two ways. She'll be regularly posting videos in her Adventure Journal topic which will provide a unique glimpse into her life at the bottom of the globe. She'll also be posting weekly discussion topics for your students to share their voices with her and students around the world. In the first topic, released today, she asks students to share their story and what they are passionate about. New discussion topics will be released weekly throughout the month of October.

  • October 3: Topic One - What's Your Passion?
  • October 10: Topic Two (announced soon)
  • October 17: Topic Three (announced soon)
  • October 24: Topic Four (announced soon)
  • October 31: Goodbyes from around the world

Please take a moment to visit Laura's grid and share with your students! We hope your students enjoy this educational and fun experience!

A Flipgrid for Everyone

In this post, Nate Edwards, VP of Mobile, and Paul Conlin, Front-end Development, share their insights on accessibility and championing student voice.

At Flipgrid, we strive to provide our users a voice in their learning community. We work to create an inclusive environment where learners actively engage in compelling and collaborative discussions with their peers. To achieve these goals we have been implementing a series of new accessibility features and services to make participation easier for all of our users.

When we first explored making Flipgrid accessible, the requirements were daunting. The resources available were often outdated and posed challenges when applied to our environment. To aid in our development we began by asking which core features of Flipgrid should be reexamined to best serve our users. We concluded that improvements were needed to better support those with motor, vision, and hearing impairments.

Motor Function Impairments
One of our strongest improvements was making Flipgrid entirely navigable by keyboard. Now, by using tab, enter, spacebar, etc. users are able watch, record, and like videos.

We also made improvements to ensure users are able to properly navigate to the appropriate element when opening modals or changing pages via their keyboard. This allows users to efficiently navigate Flipgrid without relying on a mouse. To learn more about the motiviation behind this implementation, read Simply Accessible’s take on Focus Management.

Vision Impairments
To help our users with vision impairments, we now allow full control over font size without negatively affecting the display of the content. Users can increase or decrease their font size via their browser or system settings while maintaining the same style and functionality. We set a goal to meet the WCAG AA standards for contrast ratios, which ensures users with vision impairment can properly distinguish between all elements on a page.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing
As Flipgrid is a video platform, one of our key improvement goals was to be able to provide a supplement for the deaf and hard of hearing community in the form of video transcripts. Our beta release of this service has been great success with over 60,000 videos transcribed and nearly 250,000 keywords extracted.

For our team, providing accessible content is more than checking a box and following compliance documentation. It is a guiding force in how we plan, develop and improve our product.