Flipgrid Story: Nicole LaFave

Nicole is a 9th and 10th grade English teacher in Fort Mill, South Carolina. One of the biggest challenges she faces is class discussion, which is often dominated by a few outgoing individuals. She turned to Flipgrid, hoping it would help her provide a voice to all her students, especially her quietest students. 

When we reached out to Nicole, she quickly and jubilantly responded “my students and I absolutely LOVE Flipgrid! It's a great way for my shy students to participate in class discussions... and for my not shy students to show off their personalities in those same discussions. I can't wait to use Flipgrid with my new group of energetic 9th grade kiddos!” We were thrilled to hear how Nicole empowers all of her students with Flipgrid, so we followed up to find out more.

In which courses do you use Flipgrid and among how many students?  

I use it in all of my 9th and 10th grade English courses. I teach all levels of students, from Inclusion to Honors classes. Depending on the course, class size ranges from 10-30 students. 

Describe when you first implemented Flipgrid into your classroom. How did you get your students on board? What discussions did you spur? 

I first used Flipgrid in March 2015. One of the wonderful things about English class is that literary discussions can go different directions in different classes on a daily basis. However, sometimes my students don't take it in the direction I'm trying to go. Instead of the teacher getting them there, however, I realized it might be more beneficial for their peers to point them in that direction. I decided to create a Flipgrid for my Honors English 2 students in which they compared the character of Cassius from Julius Caesar to a modern day real-life person or fictional character. The conversation ended up being so great that I tried it again the next week with my lower level English 1 students on a discussion about Romeo & Juliet. In the back of my mind, I thought that Flipgrid might be best for my students who were academically upper-level, but I couldn't have been more wrong!
I don't know how I got my students on board... I sort of made it mysterious in that I didn't tell them what we were doing; I just pulled them out into the hall to record their responses. When all was said and done, they were excited to see themselves and their peers on the big screen.

How often do you use Flipgrid with your students?

In the past, I've used it a few times a semester, but this year, I'm committing myself to doing some sort of Flipgrid activity every other week in class.

How do you generate topics to discuss on Flipgrid?

The topics mostly come from what we would have discussed in a Socrative Seminar setting. While these seminars are great and beneficial in a lot of ways, they often take 1-3 class periods to complete. Flipgrid has allowed me to open up more in-class time for other activities.

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

The Shakespearean Insults grid has to be my favorite. This was meant to be something simple and fun and it turned into a grid that was viewed more than 3,000 times in less than a week. Students recorded the insults in private (I thought it might make them more willing to get really insulting -- we've done this live in a class before and few students are willing to really get into it). They turned out so well (some of my silent students shocked me with their sass!), that I decided to turn it into a competition of sorts where the videos with the most views/likes would receive a prize. I feel pretty convinced that every 9th grade student at my school saw the video and voted.

How do you plan on using Flipgrid this year? Do you have any new ideas?

I tried a new idea last week: I printed out 20 random questions (like "If your house was on fire and you could only save three items, what would they be?" and "If you could time travel only once, where would you go and why?"). Students selected one question and had the night to think about their answers. The next day, we recorded the questions and answers on Flipgrid.  I then shared the grid with students and parents (and we even watched it all the way through in class). While there was not necessarily any academic merit to this activity, I enjoyed getting to know a little about my students and I think they enjoyed getting to know a little about each other.
I'd like to continue using Flipgrid in the way that I have -- to spark discussion and for students to see and hear the responses of their classmates, but I'm constantly looking for new ways to use it. 

What is your favorite aspect of Flipgrid?

Just one? I love everything about Flipgrid. It gives all my students a voice. In my 9 years as an educator, I've never been able to say that about any other product.

In what ways has Flipgrid influenced the way you educate? 

I'm an English teacher, so I make my students write. Lots. Because of this, I'm always aware of their literary thoughts. But some of my most brilliant students over the years have been the quiet ones. I used to beg them to contribute to class discussions to no avail. I even got to a point of desperation where some of our class discussions were graded (this was not a proud moment as a teacher, I'll admit). With Flipgrid, I no longer have to worry about my quiet students. They can simply take an iPad in the hall or record in the privacy of their own home and VOILA! -- they are instantly a part of the discussion.

Your students are fortunate to have you, Nicole! Your story is inspiring and we’re thrilled to have you in our Flipgrid family. We look forward to hearing about your continued success and promotion of student voice!

Conquering Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards

We’re grateful to be among a community of educators who go above and beyond to ensure they’re inspiring their students in innovative ways. When challenged with the Next Generation Science or Common Core Standards, Flipgrid teachers exceed “standard” and stimulate active, engaged learning.

We've identified a series of ways in which your students can achieve these objectives with Flipgrid. For additional standards-aligned integration docs, visit our new Flipgrid Integration Center.

Build a community of young pioneers in Scientific investigation.

  • Conjure a range of radical questions by creating a topic for students to inquire about the natural or designed word (K-2-ETS1-1).
  • Pass out the goggles and lab coats, task students with designing an experiment, and then ask them to reflect on results (MS-PS1-2).
  • Create a Flipgrid topic for scientific inquiry and revelation by having students identify connections between seemingly unconnected findings (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.9).
  • Have students explain variations of various traits in the human population (HS-LS3-3).

Use peer-to-peer learning to grow and develop English Language Arts skills.

Stimulate another level of cognitive thinking by having students verbalize their Mathematical problem solving.

  • Instead of simply jotting down the result, ask that students walk you through how they derived the answer (CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1).
  • Have them explain their reasoning or critique their peer's reasoning (CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3).

Spur debate and exploration in Social Studies.

  • Have students interpret graphical information (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.7).
  • After studying a historical event, conduct a debate wherein students "pick a side" on a historical decision, defend their arguments, and respond to their opponents (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8).

Continue making your classroom a hub of powerful, active learning by implementing these Flipgrid strategies and, in doing so, create an enthusiastic, empowered community.

Introducing the All-New Flipgrid

Editor's Note: As of June 18, 2018, all of Flipgrid (formally our premium "Flipgrid Classroom") is free! Check out the details over here!

Offering both educators and students a refreshed interface, slew of new features, and overall upgraded experience, the all-new Flipgrid is more powerful than ever and still innately simple. Learn how in the video below.

Unlimited Responses. Unlimited Topics. Unlimited Grids.

With Flipgrid 4.0 we've made our simple educator pricing even better. For $65 a year, teachers can now create as many grids and topics as they'd like, share with whoever they want, and collect an unlimited number of responses.

Take student conversation to the next level, literally.

We've heard it a lot: our users want to allow the members of their community to respond directly to each other’s responses. Now they can. Educators can enhance their active, social classroom by allowing students to build on other’s ideas or challenge a peer’s logic, provide direct feedback, or answer questions.

Say “cheese,” then say some more.

Flipgrid has been completely redesigned to make genuine discussion easier and more intuitive. Videos are higher quality, load faster, and can be viewed from any device.

More customization and more integration.

The refreshed admin dashboard lets you personalize grids with custom banners, toggle settings - including likes - on or off, and share or embed Flipgrid wherever you’d like.

Join the conversation, anywhere.

With a social-media-feel, the new Flipgrid Android and iOS apps are modeled on student’s familiarity with the apps they already use. They remain intuitive, discussion-focused, and free with an updated look and feel. Using your unique grid code, students can easily join the conversation from their mobile or tablet device.

Get on the grid.

Start your Flipgrid experience today with a free trial. Already a Flipgrid admin? All existing accounts have been automatically upgraded for free. Log in to start exploring!

Flipgrid Story: Sam Richards

Sam Richards, sociologist, Penn State University Professor, TED Speaker, and among "The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," uses Flipgrid in his race relations course of more than 750 students in one room, the largest such course in the US.

Soc 119 Race Relations has politically incorrect conversations that change the way students think. With such a large class, it's impossible to have every student participate in such an important discussion. That's why Sam uses Flipgrid to host conversations within his 51 discussion groups and have communication with students outside of their assigned groups. He appreciates that Flipgrid "allows students to … be more candid than they would be in … face-to-face communications and, because it’s only ninety seconds, it allows them, or forces them, to actually think about their responses before they start talking."

In a Penn State News article, Julie Eble quotes Richards with, “Enabling students to use their cellphones improves their research skills and creates great discussions points … [and] with Flipgrid they have the opportunity to re-examine the world and challenge what they believe to be their place in it.”

We're intrigued! Do you have room for a few extra students, Sam?

Hear Sam's Flipgrid Story below.

Learning Out Loud - The Importance of Active, Engaged Video Discussion

California State University Teaching and Learning Innovations Specialist, Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock stresses the importance of active, engaged learning in her article “Learning Out Loud: Making Online Courses Meaningful and Accessible.”

Through her own research, Pacansky-Brock has discovered that students perform better when discussing content verbally. Specifically, she found “83 percent of students (n=82) reported an increased retention of information when expressing ideas through spoken language; 95 percent of students (n=82) reported that listening to peers led to an increased ability to reach the learning objectives; and 86 percent (n=109) agreed that learning out loud made them feel connected to their peers.”

To achieve these results, especially in an online course where face-to-face interaction is traditionally minimal or nonexistent, Pacansky-Brock recommends recorded video discussion. She states, “an asynchronous, multimodal learning environment that invites students to verbally converse with one another has been shown to improve the social and emotional elements of learning.” The power of video is valuable both in online courses and in traditional, face-to-face courses. In both cases, a continuous dialogue can extend beyond the space and time of a class period. Moreover, with the ability to rehearse their response, students can confidently showcase their addition to the discussion.

Pacansky-Brock also discusses the special attention multimodal learning environments require for learners with disabilities. She highlights, "accessibility is not simply a box to check ... [and] educational technology companies must ... value accessibility as a priority and actively listen to understand the needs of their clients." Flipgrid is constantly working to implement educator input and analyze accessibility recommendations and requirements.  Stay tuned for some big updates on accessibility!

We want everyone to join the discussion on Flipgrid because peer-to-peer, social learning is not just more effective, it’s also more enjoyable. As Pacansky-Brock concludes, “in short, voice and video conversations can take online learning from mandate to memorable.”

Boost your students’ learning and retention by welcoming them aboard Flipgrid.

Stanford Teaching Commons Offers Thought-Provoking Question Guide

At the core of Flipgrid is the question. One of the best ways to facilitate enriched discussion is posing a great question.

If you're looking for ways to stimulate your students, check out this great guide from the Stanford Teaching Commons. Along with offering ideas on how to ensure you're asking effective questions, the guide offers suggestions on what kind of questions you should avoid.

With Flipgrid, you need not worry about the section on Managing Group Dynamics: on Flipgrid, every student has an equal voice!