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.

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!

The Need for Social Learning in the Workplace

Technological advancements are constantly changing the way we work. Teams are increasingly spread across time zones. They conduct their daily business without regular face-to-face interaction with peers. As a result, many organizations are finding it challenging to maintain and expand genuine communication and community among employees.

In her eLearning Industry article, “Why Your Workplace Needs Social and Collaborative Learning Technologies," Kali Blunt references a study conducted by the Association for Talent Development. “In high-performance organizations, employees share knowledge with their colleagues at a rate four times greater than that of workers in lower-performing firms. That communication is supported by rewarding workers for learning, providing tools and resources for creating and sharing learning content, and making knowledge sharing a performance expectation at all organizational levels.” 

Becoming a high-performance organization, Blunt notes, is primarily accomplished through social, interactive learning, which benefits the organization by:

  • connecting employees across space and time
  • growing a central, readily-accessible repository of learning content
  • balancing the formality of engagement
  • building community

Paramount to building a high performing workplace, she explains, is sharing. “Sharing is at the heart of learning. The people we work with are best supported when engaged in a community where profiles, teams, groups, forums, and activity streams can be harnessed through the power of social platform communities.”

Blunt's sentiment and call for active, social learning reflects the value of Flipgrid. Our primary objective is to foster community and collective learning in classrooms and corporations around the world while maintaining simplicity and ease of use. We overwhelmingly echo Blunt’s conclusion that “in the long run, we want people to feel connected, informed, and supported in the workplace. And that’s exactly what social and collaborative learning technologies can do through enterprise social networks.” 

Harvard Professor Emphasizes the Importance of Identifying Misconceptions

NPR reporter Anya Kamenetz interviewed Harvard's Director of the Science Education Department and professor, Dr. Philip Sadler, in her piece, "The Importance Of Getting Things Wrong." In the article, Dr. Sadler emphasizes the value of having students think out loud to identify their misconceptions.

Dr. Sadler praises Socratic teaching by "asking questions and having students think out loud." Crucial in all fields and especially applicable in STEAM, he conveys "if you don't understand the flaws in students' reasoning, you're not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts."

Many educators have shared they use Flipgrid for this exact purpose. One recent example is Dr. Ramesh Laungani, professor of Biology at Doane University. In his Flipgrid story, Dr. Laungani explains how Flipgrid enables him to challenge his students and analyze their learning. He notes that Flipgrid, "not only helped my students learn to clearly and concisely articulate ideas and questions that they had, but it also allowed me to identify any misconceptions."

Just as Dr. Laungani does, Dr. Sadler posits that great educators hone in on flawed reasoning and "give students exposure to the information and experience that will enable them to reason their way to the right answer." We love our innovative community of educators who do just this and use Flipgrid to amplify student voice, identify misconceptions, and empower students with enriched learning.

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.

Jon Bergmann Proposes Scaling Flipped Learning

In his two-part report on scaling Flipped Learning, Jon Bergman, educator, bestselling author, and advocate for the Flipped Class Movement, presents his findings on implementing technology in flipping the classroom and why doing so is important for educating today's students.

One important element he identifies is establishing an advanced yet simple technological foundation. “Technology infrastructure matters,” Bergman emphasizes; he elaborates, "if there is inadequate technology, flipped learning is difficult to implement.”

Flipgrid plays an important role in flipped classrooms all over the world, encouraging active engagement and discussion among students outside of classroom hours for face-to-face, hybrid, and online programs. And we built it to be incredibly simple and user-friendly for teachers and students alike.

We love helping educators facilitate peer-to-peer learning with their students and totally agree with Bergman's view that “ultimately, the goal of flipped learning is for teachers to create active places of learning.”