With remote models of learning playing a more prominent role in education than ever before, teachers are learning to use all the online tools at their disposal to connect with students. One of these tools is Flipgrid, an instructional app that connects students to teachers and other pupils around the world.
What Is Flipgrid?
Described on its official site as a “video discussion experience for PreK to Ph.D. educators, learners and families,” Flipgrid is an app that lets teachers harness the power of social media to engage students in learning.
Flipgrid’s interface uses a system of “grids” and “topics.” A “grid” would represent a student’s class, school, or district. For example, a student might have a grid for English class and another grid for math.
Within each grid, educators can start “topics.” A bit like threads on a message board or comment section, a topic focuses on a specific assignment or lesson.
Within topics, students post video “responses,” offering insight or answering questions about the lesson. From there, teachers can provide feedback in the form of “vibes,” or encouraging comments that appear on responses. They can also “spark” a student’s response that they feel is particularly thoughtful, spinning off a new thread to discuss it.
A World Of Features
Outside of these core functions, teachers the world over have found ways to use Flipgrid to augment their lessons. Nora Rosas, a Spanish teacher in Florida, uses Flipgrid to connect her students with pen pals in Ecuador and Spain. “It has really helped them with vocabulary, pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, grammar structure and overall interest,” Rosas told Parentology. “They were super excited to have a pen pal their same age from across the world and learn about other cultures through visuals and conversation.”
Similarly, South Africa teacher Kerry-Ann Van der Merwe uses the app to connect her 5th graders with students in Colorado. “They got to ask the American students about America and Colorado – and the American students asked them about South Africa,” Van der Merwe tells Parentology. “This makes for a great opportunity to instill good digital citizenship in my students, as well as help make them into good global citizens too!”
When it’s not connecting people around the globe, Flipgrid can also help kids understand the natural world. Biology and Geography teacher Piia Martikainen of Finland says her students used Flipgrid to make their own videos on lesson topics. These can range from the structures of the human body to the evolution of various flora and fauna. “In the end they asked a few questions, and the other students answered them after they had watched the video,” Martikainen says. “My students said it was a nice way to work after all kinds of PowerPoints and Word documents.”
Flipgrid is even useful to extracurricular instructors like Erin McConnell, an instrumental music teacher in New York. McConnell says she uses it to give live responses to homework, list homework music, and even create games like “Guess the Song.”
“My favorite thing about this is [students] being able to ask and show me where they need help,” says McConnell, who holds weekly half-hour sessions with each student. “Seeing the kids so infrequently, it can be hard to get momentum – kids do not practice what they are uncomfortable or not having fun with. This really allows kids to use social media in a moderated, positive, educational way.”
Flipgrid — Sources
Piia Martikainen, biology and geography teacher
Erin McConnell, music teacher
Nora Rosas, Spanish teacher
Kerry-Ann Van der Merwe, 5th-grade teacher