Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2017

Flipgrid

Pose questions, spark thoughtful video responses with stellar tool

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (11 Reviews)

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Pros: Short video responses push students to plan their responses and speak thoughtfully.

Cons: Tech may be a rate-limiting step; not every student has access to a device with a camera.

Bottom Line: A simple way for students and teachers to create online discussion, as long as your classroom culture is mature enough to use it wisely.

Flipgrid's teacher tools are stellar: Take a spin through the videos to get a sense of smart ways to use it with your students. The range of tips is astonishing; who would have thought you could use a tool like this in a physical education class? If all of your students have access to a device with a camera, this can be a great way to gather students' responses at their own pace without kids feeling on-the-spot in the classroom. 

Use Flipgrid to further classroom conversations by assigning questions as homework assignments and then continue the conversation in class the next day. Ask students to weigh in on a critical current event for a social studies or civics class; use it in a math class to ask students to describe the process they used to solve a complex problem. You might also use Flipgrid as an opportunity for students to post mini-reviews of books, movies, or television shows. Consider using a "grid" as a way to collect a range of students' responses on a single topic: Perhaps ask students at the end of a unit or the end of a year to reflect on what they've learned and what they'd recommend to other students.

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Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" of short discussion-style questions that students respond to through recorded videos. Each grid is effectively a message board where teachers can pose a question and their students can post 90-second video responses that appear in a tiled "grid" display. Grids can be classes, sections, groups of students, research groups, faculty groups, or any collection of users interested in a common strand of questions. Each grid can hold an unlimited number of questions, and each question can hold an unlimited number of responses. Questions are short, text-based prompts (think Twitter) that can include basic formatting (such as bold, italic) and links to websites or documents.

Once logged in, you'll create a new grid, name it, then choose whether it will be password protected or not. Then you can begin adding questions to the grid one by one; each question can be 240 characters or less. After your list of questions is complete, you can activate them, then click the Share button to send the link to your students. They'll then follow instructions to film and upload their 90-second answers from home. If you like, Flipgrid will notify you when responses come in. There are extensive teacher tools available, from instructional videos to full walk-throughs for how to use the tool in a variety of subject areas (including STEAM, and, creatively, physical education). Additionally, there are three pricing levels available: the free version gives you one grid with limited features, and the two pricing levels for classrooms offer unlimited grids and far more features. 

With the tagline "Use video the way your students use video," Flipgrid's developers certainly hope to make classroom discussion appealing: This tool offers a worthy, flexible venue for teachers and students to communicate. Students can learn to distill ideas into 90-second bites and consider alternate viewpoints as they listen to their peers' responses. Keep in mind that 90 seconds is a long time; this app works for K-12 students, but it may be tough to get younger kids to fill the time with a well-organized statement. Also, it may be awkward and uncomfortable for shy kids to be on camera; hopefully, classes who use Flipgrid are mature and have a certain amount of trust for their classmates. It's probably recommended for high school kids for this reason; it's challenging enough to answer a question when called on in class, but for some, formulating a video answer may be more agonizing than it's worth. Still, with a culture of respect in place, this is a visually appealing, unique way for teachers to foster discussion and collaboration in a space that feels like the best parts of social media discussion without the free-for-all feeling of Facebook or Twitter.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Seeing and hearing students' video responses can make discourse fun; personalities and ideas shine in 90-second clips. Design is colorful, clean, and intuitive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Users have 90 seconds to respond to a teacher's question however they like; that's empowering. They also have to condense answers into a short amount of time, a transferrable communication skill for sure.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A two-minute help video guides students through the process, and the extensive teacher resources make it easy to integrate the tool into classrooms in nearly any subject area.


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 11 reviews) (11 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Beth S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
South Hagerstown High School
Hagerstown, United States
Communication and collaboration without the anxiety
As with most technology, Flipgrid is a tool that can be used in numerous ways. It can be a substitution for having student present in front of the class. I love that Flipgrid offers my students a chance to speak without the anxiety of being in front of the class. It also helps them practice for the AP test, as students will have to record their oral exam in the same space where other students are speaking and recording. When creating a profile, a student can be creative and modify their profile picture with sticker and be silly. It can also be augmented into a recording tool which allows students to hear and review their classmates’ presentations and comment on their work. This changes the speaking activity into a listening activity, which then requires students to listen multiple times for understanding so they can reply. These two activities could be done with other technology, example recording videos on the iPads and sharing them on Google Drive, however what I like is that I can share the link to the videos and anyone is welcome to view those videos so it makes it very easy to publish their work. However, it also gives the teacher the option to make the videos private so that it could just be shared by the class or those with a code. While Flipgrid does offer a place to record and post videos to the public, it does not offer limited free options. With the free version, videos cannot be longer than 1:30 seconds. Students can pause as they are recording and then continue recording, which is a splendid feature. However, they cannot edit the video or cut anything out. If a mistake is made, the video must be restarted from the beginning, which creates more work for the student, but it also requires them to practice speaking many times to improve. Another feature that is not available in the free version is commenting on the videos. I would love to use this feature and I may purchase Flipgrid Classroom so that I can have my students respond to their classmates. Flipgrid Classroom costs $65 per year, but it makes it possible for students to respond through video or text. It also allows students to create videos up to five minutes, teachers to attach rubrics, and to replies on videos without limits. One of the best new features may be that teachers can be co-Administrators, which allows for collaboration between classrooms, schools and states. Flipgrid is a great option if you are looking for a platform for students to present information and interact with each other. I think that if you are willing to pay, your students would have a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with one another and with students at other schools. It is tool that I greatly enjoy and find useful in my communication-based classroom.
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