Educators use Flipgrid to boost engagement, foster connection during remote learning

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It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and we want to take time to say thank you to educators.

We get a lot of great ideas from our educator community about how to use tech tools in innovative ways, and that’s been particularly true when it comes to using Flipgrid as a remote learning resource.

The stories are rolling in from educators who are inspiring us with their creative use of the free social learning platform, which allows students and teachers to record and share videos with each other. Educators create grids, and those grids serve as communities in which students engage with their peers and respond to teacher prompts through video recording.

Supporting academics and student connections in Indiana

Andy Knueven, who teaches fifth-grade math and science in Zionsville, Indiana, is using Flipgrid as a key part of his assessment strategy during distance learning. He asks students who miss a question on an understanding check or quiz to go back and review the material, then record and share a Flipgrid video explaining their knowledge on the topic. “Having that sense of fidelity to our learning is still possible because of the Flipgrid structure,” he says.

Andy is also using Flipgrid to give out assignments while teaching from home, and he says it’s a great tool for responding to students who prefer to ask quick questions via a Flipgrid video rather than email.

During remote learning, he is also using the resource to foster connections with students around shared interests. For example, he set up a grid for student athletes who miss playing and watching sports this spring. They have talked about sportsmanship and athletic leadership and engaged in discussions with school alumni who joined the Flipgrid conversations as guest speakers. Andy has also worked with his colleagues to develop a Flipgrid talent show that allowed students to share their creative spirits and talents with the community.

Andy says many more of his colleagues have been giving Flipgrid a try over the past several weeks. For example, he said one of his fifth-grade colleagues has been working with a Pre-K class to keep a beloved reading-buddy program going.

A history lesson comes to life in Wales

Across the Atlantic, in North Wales, Kellie Williams has been using Flipgrid with her Year 5 students, who are 9 and 10 years old, to contribute to a class video blog. She says that has been an important way for students to share their feelings during social distancing. Her class also created a pet parade using Flipgrid, in which students shared videos of their animal companions. “It makes learning really meaningful and fun,” Kellie said.

Sometimes, however, Kellie uses Flipgrid for more serious projects. For example, she enlisted the help of her grandmother to keep students engaged during a history lesson. More specifically, Kellie recorded her grandmother answering student questions about what it was like to be a child during World War II when she lived near a prisoner of war camp and met POWs. “It was a lesson about humanity, really. It was pretty powerful,” says Kellie. “The children just completely empathized with her and empathized with the situation.”

Kellie and the other educators we talked to are enjoying using Flipgrid for remote learning, but they also are looking forward to using it back in the classroom when it’s safe to do so. Prior to the current school closures, Kellie and her students experimented with FlipgridAR. Through this augmented reality experience, students “place” virtual elements into the physical world. They “stick” Flipgrid videos where they want by printing the video’s QR code and scanning the code with the Flipgrid mobile app. So, when completing a lesson on anatomy, Kellie’s students recorded videos about organs of the body. Then, the students drew a big outline of the body and stuck the Flipgrid QR codes to the drawing. Classroom visitors were then able to scan the code and see and hear information about each organ of the body.

“How much more interesting is that than writing it down on a worksheet?” says Kellie.

Empowering student voice and documenting learning in Atlanta

Natasha Rachell, Digital Learning Specialist for Atlanta Public Schools, coaches adults in her school system on using tech tools. She says Flipgrid is among the most powerful resources available.

“I always hear these stories from teachers who have seen students who were shy—they wouldn’t say anything—and they record their videos and they just come alive. Even if they are putting emojis over their faces so their classmates can’t see them, they’re still sharing their voice and really getting the content out,” Natasha says.

She says it’s also a great tool for measuring student growth. “One thing that I love about it is that you’re able—if you keep these topics and grids over time—to see growth. For example, if you had elementary students reading sight words via Flipgrid, and maybe they went through their deck of sight words every Monday or Friday, you’d be able to be able to see that growth,” she said.

She says Flipgrid is a fantastic feedback tool for teachers, especially during distance learning. “You’re able to see their thinking. You’re able to see where they’re going wrong with something. You’re able to correct it. I just think there’s such power in hearing the kids put the content in their own words,” Natasha says.

She adds that Flipgrid is used widely in Atlanta and not just in individual classrooms. For example, media specialists are using it to post book reviews, and principals and administrators are using it to support virtual professional learning communities.

If you’re an educator looking for new ways to engage your students and improve teaching and learning, we hope you’ll give Flipgrid a try. And if you’re already using Flipgrid with your students, please share your stories with us. One way to do that is through Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU and @Flipgrid. It’s always inspiring to hear and learn from educators around the world!

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