Teaching with Technology (Not the Other Way Around)

Flipgrid offers a convenient way for educators and students to communicate and converse asynchronously. Flipgrid user Michael Reis (@MichaelEReis), Online Learning Innovation Liaison at Virginia Commonwealth University, shares his thoughts about the benefits and break down of engagement in asynchronous communication in his post, "Asynchronous Engagement: Lessons from Flipgrid."

In a course Michael is currently co-teaching, Flipgrid is used, "... as a means of checking in, building social presence, and for its own sake (the course is about teaching with technology so tool exposure is an outcome). If you’re not familiar with Flipgrid, it’s a pretty straight-forward tool where participants respond to a prompt in a 90 second video made using a webcam capture. I like Flipgrid: the basic webcam approach to film lowers the angst about production for students, having some video can help students show off their personality and build connect, and by limiting the response to 90 seconds, it’s a nice way to include video as a check-in, rather than a full-on assignment. Flipgrid is also unique in that it doesn’t thread contributions or furnish any sort of reply or comment feature. Participants can “heart” a video but it doesn’t show who “hearted” it and that’s the end of direct interaction. The purpose isn’t the same as a forum or threaded discussion, it’s there to capture the thoughts of participants, as a start of a later conversation in another arena, to create an area to reflect or check-in, and show the broad range of perspectives brought by participants. Sometimes reply isn’t necessary or even good– a thought can be complete on its own merits or it’s a sensitive or complex enough topic that taking some distance before replying might strengthen the quality of discussion."

Michael continues to share his lessons learned so far and own best practices to increase class engagement in the Flipgrid conversation. To read Michael's full blog post, click here.