Home ESL/ELL Connect Learners with Video

Connect Learners with Video

by Miguel Guhlin

Technologies that connect us, engage. One example of this is Flipgrid, a free video discussion board service. With Flipgrid, you can create grids with topics on them and have workshop participants or students respond to the topics with recorded videos. Several workshops ago, I decided to begin using Flipgrid as a regular part of the learning. Some of the applications of the tool included:

  • Ask participants to introduce themselves and/or each other.
  • Watch videos about a topic and then share a summary or take-away.
  • Summarize an article they have read.

Free Online Flipgrid Course

The Microsoft Education Community offers a free course, Amplifying Student Voice, that features FlipGrid uses. In that course, the developers imagine Flipgrid as being more than just a communication tool in your classroom:

For students, Flipgrid provides a safe space to connect with their peers, share their voice on relevant course topics, and add to the collective knowledge of the classroom. For teachers, you can see firsthand as your students develop confidence, reasoning skills, respect of diverse opinions, and understanding through reflection. Moreover, as Flipgrid videos are asynchronous, you can conveniently connect your students with classrooms around the world by sharing your grids with other educators. Their students add their voices to the grid building an active community of shared knowledge.

You can watch videos embedded in the course, as well as view content, without completing the course (but then you wouldn’t earn the badge!):

Introducing FlipGrid for Professional Development

Introducing Flipgrid to others has been easy. I point out how to access the Flipgrid topic I’ve set up for the process, either on a laptop and mobile device (e.g. tablet or smartphone). I start with a quick demonstration, often recording the video prompt in front of the class. Then I invite participants to work in groups of two to three to record their responses. Some even go out into the hall. After they have completed their video responses, we share a few to the whole group. Who would not be engaged by their own face and voice as they connect with others?

FlipGrid in the Classroom

“Seeing and hearing students’ video responses can make discourse fun; the site allows personalities and ideas to shine in 90-second clips,” says Polly Conway, Commonsense Media reviewer. “Design is colorful, clean, and intuitive.” Curious about how participants in my workshops would describe Flipgrid in their classroom, I asked them to share some reflections. “How would Flipgrid be helpful?”

  • In computer programming, students could use it to demonstrate how the code works and the output.
  • Formative assessment tool.
  • Quick check for understanding.
  • Have students work on a collaborative group project and then share their collective or individual video reflection on each task.
  • It is a great resource to use with the teachers we coach so they can reflect on their practices.
  • English Language Learners (ELL) students can experience opportunities to develop their language and practice language mastery.
  • Flipgrid in elementary would be a strong resource for reading responses.

Listen to this Voxercast (audio recorded using the free Voxer app). It features two TCEA Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIE), Jocelyn Crew (Lyford CISD) and Jodi-Beth Moreno (Education Service Center, Region 1) sharing about Flipgrid.

Flipgrid Resources

Others have been exploring Flipgrid for classroom use. Consider these examples:

If you’re interested in exploring FlipGrid or other video annotation solutions? Check out this blog entry on Video-based Active Learning.


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