Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #1: Flipgrid and all its tricks!

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My weekly Wednesday posts will typically feature a tech tool that you can immediately start implementing into your lessons. I will highlight what it is, how to use it, and my personal experience with some classroom ideas.

Video tutorial link: Flipgrid Tutorial

You’re busy. Let’s get right down to it:

What is Flipgrid? FlipGrid describes itself as a social and emotional learning (SEL) tool used from Pre-K to PhD. The video discussion platform has a user-friendly interface that makes this one of my all-time favorite EdTech tools.

How it works (the basics):

  • Once you’ve created an account, create a new Grid by clicking on the blue button.
  • Click the blue button “+ New Topic” to add a discussion topic within that grid.
  • Invite your students via link, QR code, or Flip Code that they can enter into the app.

Flipgrid features:

  • Cost: If you’re joining now, all functionalities of Flipgrid are FREE! (This wasn’t always the case but the upgrade was worth it.)
  • Privacy and security: You can limit your grids to your school email domain.
  • Time limits: You can set the discussion to time out after 15 seconds up to 5 minutes.
  • Title and description: Add your topic title and insert your prompt with any requirements within the description box. My prompt typically includes specific topic question(s) as well as required grammar and vocabulary elements.
  • Launch and Freeze Dates: This can open and close the topic at certain times. Check your time zone!
  • Topic resources and attachments:
    • Record a video
    • Upload a video
    • Add a video from YouTube or Vimeo
    • Upload an image
    • Add a Giphy
    • Add an emoji
    • Attachments: Up to 9 external links (i.e., attach a Google Doc students should reflect upon awhile responding to the topic)
  • Student-to-student replies
  • Text and/or video feedback emailed directly to student
  • Video reactions and selfie decorations (more on that below)

Why I love it:

  • Self-confidence booster and engagement: Speaking is one of the biggest hurdles for World Language students. Students who would barely speak in front of their peers would bare their souls on Flipgrid. Not only will you see your students grow in their speaking, but they will come out of their shells if they tend to be more on the shy side. For that Chatty Cathy in class? Well, Flipgrid has time limits, too, that will help him or her be more concise.
  • Easy to use: The interface is incredibly user-friendly with clear menus.
  • Frequency of presentations without the presentation: Speaking in a World Language classroom is a must but how do you require every student to frequently speak without blocking off a week for major presentations? Flipgrid was the answer. Impromptu or weekly required prompts force the speaking and free up class time for other activities.
  • Feedback: I can leave feedback for students in a text box on the right-hand side of the window. I typically leave pronunciation suggestions and provide the translation of the English word spoken when it was outside of their French vocabulary.
  • New and improved options: You can add i.e., a Google Doc if your prompt is already written out in detail elsewhere or want to provide an additional resource.

Why students love it:

  • Take a selfie as a part of your assignment? Nothing pleases my teenagers more. On top of that, they can decorate their selfie with stickers (for example, a crown or a top hat). They can even write messages, such as, “Please grade nice. Je t’aime. :-)” (True story.)
  • Students can view each other’s videos and like a classmate’s video by giving them an emoji. When I hear my student’s walk into class saying, “Sophie, you’re video was SO GOOD,” that tells me that they are learning from and supporting each other.

Suggested activities: Always clearly outline your requirements (length, reflection questions, grammar to be included, etc.) in the topic description!

  • Sub plans: It’s often more work to be away from your classroom. Even if you don’t expect students to respond within the topic, this is an easy way for you to explain your lesson plans with little room for confusion.
  • Weekly video reflections: My students are required to watch and reflect upon 30 minutes of French video per week. I give them the choice to summarize, express whether or not they enjoyed the program, reflect on specific characters, or even make up an alternative ending to the show.
  • Video diary (vlog): Students take on a character from our common reading or can insert a new character into the story. I create topics for each vlog entry, typically reactions to events in the story and always at least one free choice topic. You will truly see your students’ creativity shine with this assignment!
  • Confessions of a fairy tale character: Similar to the above reading activity, this can be a stand-alone assignment that is a great change of pace, especially on lessons that fall around the holidays when you need a little extra in your teacher toolbox.
  • Mixtapes: This new feature could be a fun way to the end the year and show students their progress. Create a mix tape for each class with a video from each student. Better yet, have students create a mixtape of their top five from throughout the year. Applaud how far they’ve come!
  • Flipgrid + WeVideo: Jennifer Eggert, Instruction Technology Coach, had her students #appsmash, using FlipGrid, WeVideo, and Math Learning Center to share their learning around place value. Imagine how beneficial it could be to hear a student’s thought process when showing his or her work. This could help both the teacher and student to better understand how they came to the answer.

Now it’s your turn!