Tech Tool of the Month: Flipgrid Part 1

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Flipgrid, a Microsoft product, is a free tool that allows teachers to create digital spaces called grids where students record video answers to a posed question. This tool gives all students a voice and is great for a quick formative assessment for understanding. Once the grid and question are created, simply share the code with students for easy and private access. Students can view others’ responses, making this tool a good support for the development of global empathy as students grow in their understanding of others’ perspectives. 

 

Applying the Triple E Framework

The Triple E Framework, created by Dr. Liz Kolb, is built on the belief that “effective technology integration begins with good instructional strategies and not fancy tools.” (tripleeframework.com) Dr. Kolb wrote a book on the topic, Learning First, Technology Second (ISTE, 2017), that lays out the three main uses for technology in education: to EngageEnhance, or Extend learning goalsWe can use this framework to decipher why we are using specific tools in the classroom. Here is a rubric based on the Triple E Framework you can use to evaluate whether Flipgrid (or any other technology) is a good fit with your learning goals and whether you should use it in your lesson.

  • Engage in learning goals: Flipgrid motivates students to begin the learning process, as they are answering the question created by the teacher and focusing on the content in an organized manner. The extras that you can add (such as stickers) do offer minimal distractions, but the main focus of Flipgrid remains on the learning goals. Typically, students are more focused on the task because they are working at their own pace, as they can record their videos (and redo them as necessary) whenever they feel prepared. Students become active learners as they add their answer to the grid rather than just hearing the teacher talk about the topic. Students become global learners as they engage with other learners through GridPals, which allows you to connect with other classrooms from around the world.
  • Enhance learning goals: Flipgrid enhances learning goals by posing specific questions, which helps students focus their learning. The individual video responses help determine students’ understanding of the content. Students use higher-order thinking skills to organize their thoughts and responses when completing the open-ended questions posed by the teacher on the grid. Students’ ability to redo their answers before submitting gives them an opportunity to make sure their thoughts are clear.
  • Extend learning goals: Dr. Kolb describes extended learning as an opportunity for students to learn, connect, and collaborate outside of the regular school day and as a bridge between the school day and real-life experiences. Flipgrid is a great way to blend or flip a lesson, making it a great tool to use for remote learning. While the grid question can be completed in class, it could also be completed at home, during a study hall, or anywhere the student prefers. We’re preparing our students for a world that doesn’t exist yet, but most jobs do require independent motivation and knowledge of technology. Flipgrid offers many real-life experiences by requiring students to navigate a web tool and learn computer skills that will be helpful in possible career paths and future classes. Students also practice communication skills and reasoning as they share their replies to the question. GridPals extends the learning even further as students connect, learn about other cultures, and develop empathy and a deeper understanding about global citizenship.

 

SAMR Connection

The SAMR Model, by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, suggests that technology implementation has four levels. We can use this model as a guideline to analyze how we’re using technology tools in the classroom. Depending on how you are using Flipgrid, it could be at the level of Augmentation, Modification, or Redefinition.

  • Augmentation: At this level, technology acts as a direct substitute for a tool but provides functional improvement. Flipgrid is at this level if the videos are being used simply as a substitute for answering the question orally to the teacher or in writing. The functional improvement is the ability to re-record your answer and to provide your reply at any location.
  • Modification: At this level, technology allows us to significantly change the tasks associated with an activity, meaning the activity could not be done without technology. Many functions of Flipgrid would not be possible without technology, starting with the video recording option on the grid. The technology also gives students flexibility for mistakes and the ability to redo an answer before submitting. This site enables teachers to formatively assess students quickly during the learning process. Learning is also modified by using GridPals to connect with other classes throughout the world.
  • Redefinition: At the highest level of SAMR, Redefinition, technology allows for the creation of new tasks that were not possible before. Teachers can “co-pilot” a grid together, enabling their classes to collaborate. Students can also comment on others’ videos, creating the ability to collaborate and offer feedback in a way that was not possible before. Connecting with students throughout the world with GridPals is another task that would be inconceivable without technology. Students can comment on videos from students in other classes, ask questions, and deepen their own understanding of the content by collaborating and working together.

 

Don’t miss Part 2 of the Tech Tool of the Month: Flipgrid, where we’ll discuss how to use the tool and introduce ways to use it in the classroom. In the meantime, let us know in the comment section below how you have used Flipgrid in your education setting.


About the author: Melissa Henning

Melissa Henning is the Educational Content Manager for Source for Learning, the non-profit parent company of TeachersFirst. She has over 16 years of experience in education. Melissa is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences.


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