The Elusive Student
Students enter classrooms at the beginning of every hour knowing exactly what will happen; the teacher will talk, they will take notes and after a few days there will be a test to see if the student remembers what the teacher told them about Napoleon, a guy, who lived so long ago the student could honestly care less. The students role in this situation is to simply absorb and repeat. Although many classrooms rarely still look that basic the role of the student has not changed. Instead of simply rewriting now they make projects or posters but their role in the classroom is the same, passive and lacking in curiosity on the part of the learner. Students are told what to ask and how to ask questions that most often are not even relative to themselves or their own lives. At this point many students want to "do school" in whatever way is easiest. They come to terms with the idea that they just need to know all this stuff making it very difficult to make them curious again. All of the best teachers are constantly searching for a way to bring the curiosity back into the classroom on their students terms.
Flipgrid is a tool, it's not a magic bullet, but it does allow students a place and opportunity to share their voice with their peers and with the teacher. Since I've started using it in my classroom to spark debates on early political parties, check points for reading, or feedback about classroom activities I've seen the student buy in increase drastically. All students have a voice and want to have a chance to express themselves and in the traditional classroom only the most pushy or rambunctious could be heard. Flipgrid gives every student a chance to share what they've learned and how they learned it!
What Is Flipgrid
A social media learning app is the best way to describe Flipgrid. I've had many students compare it to snapchat. Teachers create a grid or class and then post topics or assignments where students will respond. Flipgrid could be used like every other tool to get students to simply repeat back what a teacher has said but here's the key difference... Flipgrid has the potential to do so much more! When a teacher asks for a students thoughts on why something might have happened or what they enjoyed most from a book I've seen that I get a much better response from Flipgrid than any other platform. Students talk in complete sentence and will use every second you give them in front of the mic. Instead of getting back two word responses on paper students will take notes on what they want to say and then make sure they hit them all during their recording. There are so many ways to use Flipgrid they created this handy image but feel free to come up with any of your own as well! Below is a resource showcasing the many ways people Flipgrid and if you need more ideas check out the #Flipgridfever on twitter!
How I've Used Flipgrid
I'm a middle school history teacher and Flipgrid has now become a crucial tool in my classroom that both myself and my students love. So far this year they've recorded over 24 hours worth of footage. Below are some examples of how my students have engaged with Flipgrid!
First summarizing and analyzing an article. Students in this Flipgrid were tasked with exploring the attached reading on the final slave ship to travel to the United States. After reading the National Geographic Article they needed to explain in their own words answers to the questions asked. This is simply using Flipgrid to replace a worksheet but the potential here is a much more interactive response from students. I've also discovered that I get more out of my students when they are tasked with talking out their responses. Meaning they use complete sentences and thoughts instead of one word responses on paper!
Next responding to a video, this Flipgrid was originally posted as a link at the end of an edpuzzle video. So in this assignment students watched and responded to the questions through the edpuzzle and then were tasked with a final question to respond on Flipgrid. Here the Flipgrid was used as an extension activity. Asking students to apply knowledge they gathered from the video to make observations about the world today.
Finally Flipgrids are great for families! Students aren't the only ones who enjoy recording, parents can get in on the action too! In this Flipgrid I created a space for parents to post videos for their students. I've also created a grid where I most videos about students to share with individual parents as well!
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