Flipgrid for the Camera Shy 😳

The following post is written by Flipgrid Educator Innovation Lead Jornea Erwin. In this series, (see the full collection here), Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads Jornea, Ann, and Jess share tips and tricks to help you explore ideas and possibilities with Flipgrid!


3, 2, 1…. Record… Getting started with Flipgrid is super exciting for many of us as educators because we know the power of formatively assessing student understanding through every interaction they have. We are superheroes and can tackle many things at once but with a room full of students we may often miss out on important conversations, insights, and wonderings.  So we are excited to finally have Flipgrid as a powerful tool to unleash all of the possibilities! The beauty within implementing Flipgrid is the amplification of voice for ALL including the capability to have authentic audiences hear, continue the conversation and give feedback to those voices.  Flipgrid gives the students the space and time to share their understanding, ideas, questions, and projects in multiple ways when physical time and space in the classroom does not always allow for it.

Although our students are digital natives and may FaceTime often with family, participate in Google Hangouts with friends, snap their daily lives, or go live on Facebook or Instagram, it does not mean they are comfortable recording themselves on video for classroom purposes. Students may be hesitant at first to show their face, but there are a couple of fun tips that are sure to get your students to overcome their camera shyness and be proud to be a part of the collaborative space to learn and grow. 

10 Savvy Tips to Overcoming Camera Shyness on Flipgrid

Savvy Tip #1: Start simple. If your students are a bit hesitant to put themselves on camera, their nerves will be even stronger if they're asked to answer a tough question right away. Start with something fun and simple that will get them comfortable with the recording process.

"If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?"

"If you had to live in another country, where would it be and why?"

"What's the hardest you've ever laughed? Tell us the story."

Savvy Tip #2: Share yourself as an educator recording.  If students see you as the educator relaxed, silly at times, and creative in a response, students will feel more comfortable to do the same.  

Savvy Tip #3 :  Record with a Buddy, Group or with Family Members.  Motivation and confidence increases with the support of group members and family.

Savvy Tip #4: Record Something Else!  Yes, that’s right - students don’t have to be seen, just use the Flipgrid app rear-facing camera feature to capture something else as the students are speaking.

Savvy Tip #5:  Interview a Friend - This is a great choice to foster student collaboration and to have students help each other become comfortable in recording while also practicing speaking and listening skills.  Have shy students pair with a student who is more comfortable on the camera.  As they ask questions they can use the PAUSE feature to allow the shy student to gather their thoughts before speaking.

Savvy Tip #6:  Create Paper Slides Videos - Paper slides allows students unleash their creativity by creating a slide for each of their big ideas shared in the video.  As the student is speaking someone else can move the paper slides into the view of the camera.

Savvy Tip #7:  Use Puppets or Masks - Have fun and creative masks, emoji faces, or puppets  available or allow students to create their own mask or puppets to share their ideas.  Some are easy to make with a simple paper plate and popsicle stick or have students create their own sock puppets.

Savvy Tip #8:  Create a screencast -  Record computer screens with ease and upload student work including presentations, a process, or projects to Flipgrid.  Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, Loom are great options to get started.  Students can record their voice as they are recording their screen.

Savvy Tip #9:  Moderate Topics -  The moderation feature allows you as the educator to choose which responses show on the grid, so shy students can respond without all of their classmates seeing the response.  Use the Actions button to Edit Topic (not to be confused with editing a grid) In section 1. Topic Details you can toggle the Response Moderation setting to on.  This will default your videos to only be visible to the teacher.  After reviewing, you can choose to make the videos visible to students or keep them hidden.

Savvy Tip #10:  Appsmash! - Appsmashing is the process of combining two or more apps in order to expand the possibilities for increased impact.  Chatterpix is a great app where students can upload images of animals, famous poets, important people throughout history or their own art work, then by simply drawing a line where the mouth is located and recording it looks like the image is speaking but has the voice of the student!  After creating the video in Chatterpix upload it into Flipgrid for all to enjoy. Also, allow your students to record in their favorite apps and upload to Flipgrid - be prepared for some of the most creative responses you’ll ever see!

So remember, although some students may be shy at first, they will come around with time and practice - we all get more comfortable the more we do something.  Allow students to be themselves and choose how they want to respond and watch your shy students shine  and have their voices heard in many ways on Flipgrid.

See you on the grid!


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!