Using Flipgrid isn’t about recording videos…it’s about learning. Learning that is social, personal, can happen anywhere and anytime, about making connections. It’s deep exploration, and promotes that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. – Flipgrid Educator’s Guide
“Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families around the world. Flipgrid promotes fun and social learning by giving every student an equal and amplified voice on the Topics you define!” – Flipgrid.com
Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft and is a FREE app available to use on all platforms: iOS, Android and web.
What is the purpose of the app? Intended audience?
Flipgrid is simple – the leader (usually a teacher) shares a topic question or idea and students reply to the topic through a short video response. Then the teacher and students can watch each other’s video responses and reply with a video. The main idea is that all students have an equal platform to share their voice and interact with their peers. A social and emotional learning experience for all!
How to use the app
Instead of providing a step-by-step guide of how to use the app, I will provide you with links to all the resources you will need. The first place to stop is the ‘Getting Started‘ page, which will give you simple steps to sign up and start creating. A simple description:
- Step 1: Create a Grid (for your class or learning community)
- Step 2: Add Topics (to the grid)
- Step 3: Share your Grid (with your students) and collect videos (Responses) from your students. Students can view and Reply to each other’s Responses
Throughout the process there are many prompts and suggested links if you need assistance. Flipgrid does an excellent job of anticipating trouble areas and will lead you in the right direction. A great by-product of Flipgrid is the engaged and supportive educator community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Flipgrid team has created a culture of educators that are excited to share their experiences and classroom use and are encouraged by three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads. If you have any questions or are looking for suggestions for using the app, Twitter is a great place to get immediate feedback.
Information to support app use is available on an easy-to-use resource page with links to the Flipgrid Help Centre, a Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book, the Flipgrid Help Centre, Live Flipgrid PD, Resource Centre, and #StudentVoiceAmbassadors.
Flipgrid is a family of passionate educators sharing ideas and inspiration and having a whole lot of fun along the way. Take a moment and meet some of the educators in this vibrant community! – Flipgrid.com
Some cool features:
- Spark – if a student provides a really great response to a topic, Grid Owners (teachers) can ‘spark’ the response to create a new topic for students to pivot.
- Vibes – teachers can provide custom feedback that will be visible for all to see.
- Feedback – teachers can provide private written or video feedback.
- Feature responses – teacher can click a ‘star’ icon to bring a student response to the top of the list.
- Disco Library – nearly 10,000 Flipgrid topic ideas to add to your Grids (including the #FlipgridWeekly30 as the currently trending topics). Teachers can also add their own topics to the Disco Library.
- Sharing – share Grids using a specific flip code or QR code.
- Immersive Reader – Flipgrid uses Microsoft’s Immersive Reader tool (reading text aloud, change text size, font, colour, visual focus tool, break down words into syllables, picture dictionary).
- GridPals – connect with classrooms around the world.
- Mixtapes – compile student responses into one compilation video
- Guest Mode – share certain topics with families, experts and others. The topic responses can be view-only or allow recorded responses
In my research, I came across a very comprehensive review of Flipgrid. Please head over to the the Flipgrid Common Sense Education Review for everything need to know about the app. Additionally, Common Sense provides a Flipgrid Privacy Report.
Through my own research, I will highlight a few areas of importance and concern with the app.
Privacy – Grid Owner (usually a teacher) information is collected when an account is created (first name, last name, email address, password, instruction type and country). Cookies are used on Flipgrid as well as any third parties sites that are visited by users. Flipgrid does not sell user personal information to third parties or use personal information for advertising purposes. Additionally, Flipgrid does not use personal information to track and target advertising for users on third party websites. Potential red flag – if students post personal information in their video responses, the information could be visible and stored on Flipgrid.
Additional Red Flags
- Changes to policies are effective immediately and continued use of the app means you have provided consent
- Personally identifiable information is collected and personal information of children under 13 is collected online 13. It is unclear what type of date is excluded from the collection
- Data is shared with third parties for analytics and product improvement
- Links to third-party websites may not be school appropriate
- Unclear is owners retain ownership of their data and videos
- Two-factor authentication is not provided
- Students could potentially interact with untrusted users
- Personal information (like names) could be shared publicly
- No ‘report’ feature in case of cyber bullying or abuse
- Students can still use the app even if parental consent is not collected – there is no way to track the consent collection.
Potential Educational Value
Flipgrid is a very interactive and engaging app that gives students a chance to participate in networked learning opportunities. The relatively simple interface allows students to provide quick responses to simple questions or more detailed and edited videos in reflection to a chosen topic. The platform provides a space for all students to share their ideas and facilitates discussions through video responses. With a committed teacher willing to learn how to use all the features of the app, a school division that supports use of the app and parents that provide consent, Flipgrid has the potential to be a fun learning experiences for students.
- A very engaged educator community allows this app to thrive with networking opportunities. It truly brings the “social” aspect to “social media”.
- Extremely thorough help centre, resource guides and assistance available through a variety of tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
- Students can be creative with videos by adding text, special effects, filters, stickers, and more.
- The goal is to ‘amplify the student voice’ and there are many ways for students to be creative and empowered to share a message. The ‘grid’ provides an even playing field for all students.
- Grid Owners (usually a teacher) have control of the content (including hiding responses, downloading videos, compiling student responses into a ‘mix tape’, and deleting responses).
- Grid Owners can provide student feedback (using a rubric with custom or basic feedback or a private video response).
- Safety-wise, there is no way to make a grid completely private. This means that anyone who gets hold of the grid link can view student videos. (Example – if you enable Guest Mode, you will be provided with a link. Anyone with the link can view the videos in that topic without a password or other security feature).
- There are so many features and possibilities with the app, it is overwhelming. It takes a lot of digging and learning to use the app to it’s full capacity. It would be most beneficial after consistent app use with students
- Grid Pals allow student videos to be shared with potentially untrusted users.
- The ‘fun’ aspects of the app can sometimes distract students away from the topic or purpose of a particular grid.
If you are curious about using Flipgrid with your students, I have a few suggestions. First, check with your school division to see if it is an approved app, join the educator communities , participate in Live Flipgrid PD and read the Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book. I think Flipgrid can be a really fun and engaging tool with students, but it is best used if educators know how to take full advantage of the app. The Flipgrid team is continuously improving the app, open to feedback and always available for questions through the three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads. Even if you do not end up using the app with your students, take advantage of the vibrant educator community. The positivity and excitement is contagious!