What you will need:
Flipgrid App - Free
One year subscription for K-12 $65 per year
A few weeks ago, I mentioned an App and associated service called Flipgrid. The App and service are simple to use for both students and teachers, and gives teachers a new tool for accurate real time assessment. Flipgrid has also allowed me to assess my students’ use of my “flipped classroom” in real time which I will explain later in this post.
Flipgrid allows you to present a video via a private group known as a “grid”. Think of each “grid” as one class or student group. Once the question is posed, the students answer the question with a ninety second video response. The students can collaborate together in a group or work individually to create a ninety second response. Flipgrid allows the students to view their video prior to posting, and then allows the teacher to moderate the video before it becomes live on the group “grid”. This allows the teacher total control over what video content is posted to your “grid”. Once the video has been submitted the instructor can email responses back to the student seamlessly from within the App. Students can then view other students video within the App and comment and critic. This commenting and critiquing can be turned off if you’re not comfortable with the feature. The teacher can also turn off access to the web link attached to the videos so there is no need to worry that a student video will be linked through Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube.
Truth be told, I love this service. I use this service as a quick assessment tool for all of my classes. My students receive the private “grid” link, read my question and answer the question with a short video. Some teachers may think this type of short format assessment is too easy for the students. I assure you it is not. My students have to carefully plan their responses in order to fit in the ninety second time limit. This process teaches the students the importance of planning their answer, as well as outlining, and the value of clear concise communication.
The service is also incredibly simple to use. The student receives a web link, clicks the record button, and he or she is given a three second count down and then a ninety second window in which to answer the question. The student can then review his or her video prior to submission, and even reshoot the video if desired. Many of my students do reshoot their videos. It is not often that I see student volunteering to self edit and redo an assignment without some type of prompting. Flipgrid seems to promote this type of self assessment automatically.
Flipgrid has also allowed me to introduce my students to their first experience with true peer review. As the students post their video, I encourage each student to watch his/her peers’ videos for ideas and inspiration. In one class, a group of twenty students, have viewed each others videos over two hundred times. This is based on three assignments. Wow! I could easily have my students write short papers and share them in class, but this is exceptionally time consuming. Class time constraints also limit how many papers each student can read per class period. Through the use of Flipgrid the students are completing their assessment, and reviewing the work of their peers at home. Critiquing each other constructively and driving each other to perform in a more effective manner. While leaving classroom instructional time intact.
Flipgrid is the “flipped classroom’s” missing piece. I no longer wonder if my students have watched the video assignment for homework. Now I embed the “grid” into my instructional video and my students respond to a question based on that video. I know that night which of my students have watched the video and how well they were able to comprehend the material. Most important, I have this information before I begin my teaching day. I can then adjust my daily plans to best deal with the needs of my students. Flipgrid helps complete the “flipped classroom” model of instruction, and gives an assessment option that will allow teachers to adjust and adapt effectively to the needs of their students in real time.
What you get:
The App is free on the App Store. The service is sixty five dollars per calendar year. For that fee you get 10 “grids”. Again, a “grid” is just a fancy name for a class. Within each “grid” you can pose an unlimited number of questions. Students can also respond with an unlimited amount of video responses. The service is web based and therefore universal. Any student using any computer can access the class “grid”. The only requirement is a web cam. Teachers administer their “grids” via a web based interface as well so Mac or Windows users are welcome. This is especially useful for anyone working in a mixed platform school. As of this writing the App is only for the iPad, but apps for the iPhone and Android platforms are on the way this year. I cannot wait until these ultra portable Apps are available. ( Imagine how field trips can be revolutionized by setting up questions for the students to answer on-site. But that is for another post.) As per the web site larger pricing models are available for larger institutions. Flipgrid offers a free three week trial so you can try out the service before you buy. As our educational environment changes so must our assessment, and introducing new forms of assessment can only help teachers be more effective in the classroom. Flipgrid is a service that is not to be missed.