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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Welcome to another week of Teacher Tips. This week, we're exploring Flipgrid, an online tool for increasing student collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom. Flipgrid allows you pose a question to a group of students, and then students respond to that question by recording a short video of themselves talking. The videos are posted to the grid, and other students can view them as they're also responding to your question. For online instructors, this is a great way to build some community and personality in your classroom. Flipgrid can be used for differentiation or modification of your assignments for students that better show their knowledge through speaking.
Let's go and create a Flipgrid so we can see how this works. Here in my web browser, I've already navigated to flipgrid.com and I've signed in. Creating an account just takes a couple of seconds, and you can also sign up for a free 21-day account so you can explore Flipgrid before choosing to purchase it. I'm going to get started by clicking the Add Grid button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The first step is to go ahead and give your grid a name. I'm going to name a grid an actual class name so I can post multiple questions to the same group of students. So I just titled this grid "7th Grade Science." The next step is to choose whether or not you want to make your grid private.
Making a grid private means that you apply a password to it and students need that password in order to access the grid. This is a great way to make sure that other classes aren't able to view the seventh grade science videos, but only the videos from their particular class. If you would like to moderate all the videos, meaning you would have to view them and approve them before they are actually posted to the grid, then you could hit the toggle button for moderate grid. I highly recommend this for younger grades, such as elementary and middle school. For the older grades, such as high school and college, they probably don't need you to moderate their videos. If you'd also like to make the grid active, you can go ahead and turn it on.
If you are just setting your grid up for future use, and you don't want students to have access it right away, you can also choose to make it inactive and then turn it on at a later time. When students post videos, you can also select whether or not to be notified. If you have a lot of students, this could flood your inbox, as every single video or response to a video will send an e-mail to your e-mail account. Once you have everything set up the way that you'd like it, let's go and click Add New Grid. So this point, we've actually created our grid. The next step is to configure our grid, and finally we'll add a question to our grid. I'm just going to go and click the close button on this pop-up window.
As I scroll down the page, I can now see that our grid is created. It's 7th Grade Life Science, it has grid colors to it, and I can change these colors by simply clicking on them. Because this is a lynda.com video, I'm going to select black and yellow as my two grid colors, and then click save. Here I see the opportunity to modify the grid. For example, I can turn the activation on and off, and I can also toggle the notify me or e-mail me feature on and off. If I'd like to make additional changes, I can click on the green button on the right-hand side of the grid. This green button will allow me to change the password, I can choose moderation on and off, and if I would like to add additional levels of security, I can also choose to hide the social links and hide the direct URLs.
This means students wouldn't be able to look at someone else's video, copy the web address, and send it out on the web. If you are using this inside the K-12 arena, I highly recommend that you turn on hiding social links and turn on hide direct URLs. When you have everything set up, you can simply click Update Security. In addition to making modifications here, the blue button will allow me to quickly get the link for sharing this grid. Now that our grid is properly configured, the next step is to go ahead and add a question to our grid. I'm going to do this by clicking the Add New Question button at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen.
I have a question pre-created, so I will simply just paste it in here, and I'm going to go ahead and use this grid as an informal assessment. I'm going to ask my middle school students to give me a weather report. This way, they can present their information directly on camera, and that's going to be automatically uploaded to the grid. Other students can view their weather reports, and then I can go in and view all their weather reports and assign a grade to my students. One thing to keep in mind is you need to make every question active. You have the ability to build in all the questions for the entire year and turn them on as you like them, but because this is our first question, I'd like it to go active right away.
I'm going to make sure I click On for Question Active, and then I'm going to click Add New Question. My question is now added, and as I scroll down the page, I can see that I have one grid and one question created. At this point we are completely done. We can come back up to the grid, click on the blue box, and I'm just going to go ahead and open up this grid in a new tab. As students access the grid, they will need to enter the password we set up, which is the word science, and once students enter the grid, we can see the question that is available. When students are ready, they can go ahead and click on the question, click the giant plus sign, start recording their own video, and respond to this particular question.
If you have an iPad classroom, there is also a Flipgrid iPad application that is free for students to download. You can simply give them the hashtag number, or the number that's directly following flipgrid.com, and students who've entered this number into the iPad application can access this particular grid as long as they have the password. Now Flipgrid does offer a 21-day free trial, so you can test it out and see if this tool is appropriate for your classroom or students. The cost of Flipgrid is $65 a year for a educator and allows you to create up to 10 grids with unlimited questions and unlimited student responses.
I hope you enjoy exploring Flipgrid, and I'll see you guys next week for another edition of Teacher Tips.
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