Flipgrid videos for student interaction
What is the idea?
Flipgrid is a video sharing Microsoft application. A teacher can easily set up a class project asking students to make their own videos on a digital device with a camera. The videos can be up to ten minutes in length and students can edit their videos to include multimedia and text. After they upload their videos to Flipgrid all classmates and the teacher can view them. Students and the teacher can then make short feedback videos or write text messages commenting on everybody’s work. In this way, a real sense of community and interactivity can be fostered. In my setting as an English language teacher in a Japanese university, Flipgrid is an ideal application for students to practice speaking and listening outside of class. Many students find English communication very challenging and Flipgrid gives them the opportunity to practice in a less stressful environment.
Why this idea?
Video sharing offers a number of benefits to a teacher such as giving instructions and feedback, and students can demonstrate their skills and knowledge (Cowie & Sakui, 2021). Videos can be slowed down, rewound and have subtitles – all of which can enhance learning by making their content easier to process and understand (Mayer, 2017) and decrease ‘cognitive load’ (Sweller et al., 2011). Videos are also available on demand so they can be viewed by students in their own time which is very helpful for managing time, especially for non-traditional students. One important benefit for remote students is that videos can be used to develop a feeling of class belonging, which has been shown to be an extremely important element of online learning (Redmond et al., 2018). There is a strong connection to the well-known ‘Community of Inquiry’ framework for e-learning (Garrison, 2011; Garrison, et al., 1999) which is based on three overlapping aspects of ‘presence’ (social, cognitive and teaching). Flipgrid is particularly suitable for collaborative sharing and so when students interact with each other and their teacher through video these three aspects of presence can be developed.
How could others implement this idea?
Many institutions maintain Microsoft educator accounts that include applications such as Teams or Office 365. If this is the case then Flipgrid will also be bundled into this account and will be accessible to teachers and students. If not, an individual teacher can create a free Flipgrid account using a web browser or mobile application and supply a link to the students to the teacher’s Flipgrid home page.
Once a teacher has a Flipgrid account they can then create a class (called a group) and for each group they can create a lesson (called a topic). The topic has a title and space for instructions on what students should do when they make their videos. After this the teacher specifies the length of the video from a drop-down menu and can also add various visual effects such as GIFs or photos that reflect the theme of the lesson. Flipgrid also has a large library of ready-made lessons that can be copied and adapted to suit an individual teacher.
Once the topic is complete the teacher shares a link with their students who click on the link to see the instructions and make their videos. Users can make a simple talking head video or they can make their video more sophisticated with a variety of effects such as the insertion of text or images. One of the main attractions of Flipgrid is that it is very simple to use and so students can focus on the task rather than the technical issues of making a video.
Once students are satisfied with their video they then upload it to the topic page. If a teacher wishes, the students can view each other’s videos and give feedback, either through written comments or in the form of another video. The teacher, too, can also do this and has the extra option of giving feedback privately. A number of additional functions are available that the teacher can access to increase feedback and interactivity such as: creating a ‘mixed tape’ of the best videos, highlighting individual videos on the topic page, and using a QR code that enables a video to be viewed with embedded augmented reality. One feature that is particularly useful for students working in a second language is the ‘immersive reader’ function which enables students to analyse their own scripts.
Transferability to different contexts
Flipgrid can be used in almost any context where a student needs to present their ideas or demonstrate knowledge or skills to others, and where the viewers might wish to comment, ask questions or give feedback. This will include most traditional forms of educational context such as presentations, seminars and tutorials. Flipgrid is also very useful for a flipped classroom where students can practice and prepare for an in-lecture task. However, what is particularly attractive about Flipgrid is the interactive thread that can be created amongst students. This thread can be used as a kind of narrative device where students collaborate to develop their ideas and use Flipgrid to record them. It is an ideal way for students to critically reflect on their learning, develop their metacognitive skills, and be part of a portfolio of evidence for formative or summative assessment.
Links to tools and resources
- Introduction to Flipgrid: https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/resource/13cb22b1
- The Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid by Sean Fahey, Karly Moura & Jennifer Saarinen (shared under Creative Commons license): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzZGEfOtEWqPcGUzcFd2RzRjYTQ/view?resourcekey=0-QrOyfBQvTUZ94vsn4va1EQ
Cowie, N., & Sakui, K. (2021). Teacher and student-created videos in English language teaching. ELT Journal, 75(1), 97-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccaa054
Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203166093
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1096-7516(00)00016-6
Mayer, R. E. (2017). Using multimedia for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 33, 403-423. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal/12197
Redmond, P., Heffernan, A., Abawi, L., Brown, A., & Henderson, R. (2018). An online engagement framework for higher education. Online Learning, 22(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v22i1.1175
Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive Load Theory. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-8126-4
Microsoft FlipGrid Screenshot by Neil Cowie is used under CC-BY 4.0 Licence