Getting started with Flipgrid (now completely free!)

I briefly mentioned Flipgrid in my previous blog post and, since then, many teachers have been asking me about it. It deserves some elaboration and its very own blog post. As I mentioned, Flipgrid has recently been acquired by Microsoft. They promise that Flipgrid will maintain its popular and distinct brand but they have made one significant change: it is now completely free!

Previously, Flipgrid offered two options: Flipgrid One (free) and Flipgrid Classroom ($65 per teacher per year). The free version was decent enough, but significantly limited compared to Flipgrid Classroom. Now, thanks to Microsoft, there is only one Flipgrid. It is totally free and includes all of the features. The best that Flipgrid has to offer is now available to all schools, teachers and children. This is brilliant news! Also, anyone who paid for Flipgrid Classroom after 18th June 2017 is entitled to a refund. Click here for more information.

What is Flipgrid?

Flipgrid is a platform for student voice, video discussions and community learning. Learners respond to topics through video from any device. It is a fantastic tool for speaking & listening, making connections and building confidence.

Grids

The grid is the homepage of your learning community where all of its topics (see below) can be found. Users can create as many grids as they like for different purposes. As you set up a new grid, select the type carefully based on your learning context, preferences and security needs.

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Even with secure grids (the top two options), it is possible to collaborate with others around the world. With a ‘Student ID List’ grid, just keep adding new students/classes. With a ‘School Email Domain’ grid, enter multiple domains to give more students access. The public third option is for adult learners. It’s fantastic for professional learning communities. With Flipgrid, the possibilities are endless!

Topics

After a grid has been created, the owner or a CoPilot (see below) can add topics. Topics are the assignments on your grid that learners can respond to. The topic is the discussion prompt. It can be a question or some sort of activity. As you create a new topic, you can add a title, description and tips for your students. There are also settings to consider, most of which can be simply toggled on or off. These include video moderation and student-to-student replies. From the ‘Create Topic’ page, users can also add attachments. Although it’s optional, I like to include a video message in the topic. I can be very self-conscious and I don’t love speaking on camera. However, if we expect our students to do it, we should too.

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There are several ways to share a topic.  Students can access them via the grid, a topic link, a QR code or by entering the Flip Code on the website or app. Topics can also be embedded into an LMS or website. Students do not create accounts on Flipgrid.

Responses

With access to a topic, learners can respond by making a short video. Videos from other respondents appear on the topic’s page and can be viewed by anyone with access. Students can learn from each other and also reply to each other (see below). Flipgrid will ask students to take a selfie for their response. They can add stickers to their selfies (which they absolutely love to do). If there isn’t time for stickers, this function can be turned off in the settings.

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CoPilots

For co-teachers, support staff or collaborators, a grid owner can invite CoPilots. CoPilots can help to manage the grid by adding topics, moderating videos and providing feedback. They have most of the same capabilities as the owner, apart from the ability to add more CoPilots or delete the grid. The option to add CoPilots can be found at the top of the grid.

Feedback

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Peers, grid owners and CoPilots can provide feedback to learners in a variety of ways. The features in the above screenshot are explained below.

  1. A private video can be created by the owner or a CoPilot and shared with the student.
  2. By default, Flipgrid offers five-point assessment rubrics for ideas and performance. Alternatively, educators can add their own assessment criteria and decide an appropriate points scale. These can all be customised in the topic settings.
  3. To offer more explanation and personalised feedback, there is also a comments box. Neither the comment nor points are visible to their peers.
  4. This icon allows any user (including other respondents) to create another video in reply to this one. This reply video is visible to everyone else in the topic. This option allows for peer feedback, ongoing discussions and even debates. Student-to-student replies can be toggled off in the topic settings.
  5. The simplest way for students or teachers to respond is through the mic drop emoji. This is Flipgrid’s equivalent to a ‘Like’.

#GridPals

#GridPals is a recent addition. To promote collaboration, Flipgrid offers a directory of educators. The teachers can be filtered by grade level or subject. Clicking on an educator will display a short bio and social media links. #GridPals is an easy way to make global connections and utilise Flipgrid for international collaborations. To be listed on #GridPals, find the link at the top of the webpage, update your account information and toggle your profile to ‘Active’.

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This blog post is just a whistle-stop tour of Flipgrid and its main features. There’s a lot more to be discovered. Besides, like all technology tools, its effectiveness depends on how it is used. Flipgrid is a versatile platform that can be used in many different ways. Again, the possibilities are endless! If you are a regular user of Flipgrid, I’d love to know how you have used it. Please share your success stories in the comment section below.

If you haven’t already, join me and catch #FlipgridFever (a great hashtag to keep an eye on, by the way). As always, let me know if I can help in any way. Click here to get started.

FlipgridFever


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3 comments

  1. Hi Adam,

    I discovered Flipgrid this summer and immediately thought of numerous ways I could use it with my 5th grade class. However I´ve held back from using it so far due to the need to gain permission from the parents of children aged under 13 to use the platform. Have you used the default permission form they include on their website with your students and what was the reaction of the parents?

    Thanks,
    Andrew.

    Like

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about this. I’m not sure why we’d need permission if we’re using it in secure ways (the public grids are a different story). My reply is so delayed because I forwarded your message to Flipgrid for some clarification. This was their response:

      “Feel free to have them send us a message at hello@flipgrid.com and we’ll be happy to help and explain the best practices for security and parent permission! We encourage educators to get families involved on the Grid both so they know the awesome things their students are doing in class and to be part of the learning adventure. In terms of specific protocols, the best thing to do is check with your specific school/district policies as they will know what’s best for your students!”

      It seems to me like it’s more of a recommendation than an actual rule. It’s still not very clear though. I assume it’s fine for the secure options but check with your admin or email Flipgrid for further clarity. Let me know if you can shine any more light on this.

      Sorry I can’t be more help!

      Adam

      Like

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