Flipgrid is a bulletin board app used by teachers to create interactive assignments. A Flipgrid assignment (called a topic) begins with a video or other media prompt from the teacher. Then, students reply by creating their own videos. This guide shows you how to get started using Flipgrid in your classroom.
Flipgrid Tutorial for Teachers (2021)
Benefits of Flipgrid
Flipgrid encourages social learning by allowing students to reply to each other. You and your students access Flipgrid from any computer, Chromebook, tablet, or smartphone. Flipgrid is relatively safe and private for students. You only allow students with a school email account to participate. Best of all, Flipgrid is free for all educators and students.
Flipgrid to teach social media skills
Think of Flipgrid as a social media sandbox. We want students to learn how to responsibly interact with others online. This is an online place for students to practice social interactions in a controlled environment without exposing students to online trolls.
Respond at their own pace
Being called on in class can be paralyzing. Some student will give their best work when allowed to respond at their own pace. Flipgrid allows your students to take their time responding and retake videos until they are comfortable with the results. A lot less stressful than being called on during a Google meet or Zoom call.
How to create a Flipgrid account
Start by visiting Flipgrid.com and clicking the Educator Signup button. If you already have an account, use the Educator Login link. Flipgrid is free for schools. So, make sure to use your Google or Microsoft school account. Remember, students do not need to create accounts to use Flipgrid.
Topics and groups
This tool is organized into groups and topics. You create a group for a class or a subject. For secondary school, you may create a group for each class hour. Topics are projects or assignments. You create topics within a group. Or, create individual topics on their own without a group. Groups are optional. But, you will need to create a topic before students can respond.
Create a group
Assign a group name and unique join code. This code is the web address for students to find your group. As you enter the join code, Flipgrid will indicate if the address is available.
Students join your group in one of two ways. They can join using a Microsoft or Google school email account. Or, you can create student usernames. I suggest using a school email account when possible. (As a teacher, you have enough to worry about without managing student logins.) The username option is available for students that do not have school email accounts. For example, students too young for email.
The guest password allows access to people outside of the school district. Your community can join the group using this guest password.
Create a topic
From your group, click the add topic button to create a new topic. Think of a topic as an assignment. Give your topic a title and prompt. The prompt typically is a brief set of instructions.
Next set the recording time for your topic. Consider how long you want student responses. By limiting the recording time, students are forced to be concise with their answers. If you give them 10 minutes to respond, some of them will ramble on and on.
Moderation allows you to control how responses flow into your topic. If you enable moderation, responses will be reviewed before others see them. Useful if the topic is open to the public or if you are concerned students will post inappropriate content. Remember, you can hide or delete responses later.
Add media to your topic as an engaging prompt to your students. The text prompt above has instructions. But, the media features in Flipgrid is where the app truly shines.
Record a video
This is the most common option. Record a video prompt to speak directly to your students. Upload a clip to include with your video. Use the mirror video option in case you want to hold up a book and do a read aloud. The mute option silences your microphone. Handy if you want a silent recording or need to prevent ambient noise.
Remember your document camera works as a web camera. Art or math teachers can record themselves drawing or solving equations. Screen recording is an excellent way to demonstrate tasks on your computer. This is similar to screen recording with Loom or Screencastify.
Use the effects to add some pizzazz to your video. Filters, frames, emojis, text, and other photo elements are available. Are any of these absolutely necessary? No. Are they fun? Yes. Students can add effects to their videos.
After recording your video you can perform simple edits. This includes trimming or removing clips. Select a cover photo for your video by either selecting a frame in your video or taking a selfie. Sometimes the frame isn’t the most flattering.
Upload a video
You can reuse previously recorded videos. Upload a video from your computer. This can be a video you created using another recording tool such as Loom or Screencastify.
Add a video
Embed videos from YouTube or Vimeo. Copy-n-paste the video URL to add a video.
Upload an image
Add a video from your computer as a media prompt. Excellent for art teachers.
Add a giphy
Everyone loves a good Giphy. Use the search box to find the perfect animated GIF. The results seem to be safe for school. So, we don’t need to worry about inappropriate search results.
Add an emoji
Select an emoji picture as the media prompt. Perfect if you are relying on the text prompt for instructions.
The other media options prompt you for a link to a resource. There doesn’t seem to be any special integration with these platforms. You simply add a link copied from another page.
By default, anyone in your group has access to your topic. The access controls allow you to limit who has access. The topic can be directed to specific students. Or, you may open the topic to the public. Public topics are an excellent way to solicit feedback from the community.
Private, Student email
Your students access your topic using their school Microsoft or Google account.
Private, Student username
To set up user accounts, you type in the first name, last name, and username. For privacy, I suggest only including their last initial. You can also upload a CSV text file with student information. If you are taking the time to create student accounts, create a group for the class. That way you only create the accounts once.
Private, Guest password
Enable this option to allow families to participate.
Use this option to allow people outside your school to participate. Only people with a Microsoft or Google account may use Flipgrid. Anonymous people are not allowed to participate.
Note: If you are using guest passwords or public topics, I strongly suggest you enable moderation. You never know when someone in the general public will surprise you with an inappropriate video.
Topics within a group include an option to override group permission with custom topic permissions. Use this if you need to relax the access permissions for a single topic. For example, you may have a project that includes public interaction.
Share your group
After adding your media and setting access setting, click the create topic button to launch your topic. Flipgrid assigned your topic a unique code and web address. You have several ways to share your topic with your students or community.
Remember, your topic and group will have a different web address. Use the topic address to send people directly to the topic or lesson. The group address will take them to the group that includes all your topics.
Copy your unique address to the clipboard. Then, paste it into an email or post online.
The QR code is a specialized barcode. Others can scan the code using a smartphone or computer to find your topic.
Use the embed HTML code to include your topic into another website.
Share your topic directly to your Microsoft Teams channel.
Remind users can post directly to their remind streams.
Share topics to twitter. I would suggest only using this for public topics.
Your student may respond to your topic using most devices. Chromebooks and smartphones are the most popular options. They record their response to your topic as a video and have similar features to the teacher. Students can perform simple edits such as trimming the beginning or end of the video. They can add filters and take a selfie. Then, they submit their response. Moderated topics require teachers to review the response before they are visible to others.
Students will see responses from others. They can watch videos and leave comments. They can even record video comments to share feedback with each other. This may seem scary at first. You may even see some students posting inappropriate comments to each other. But, think of this as a limited social media page. This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn important social media skills in a safe environment.
How to keep student responses private
Use the moderation features to keep all responses private. As the teacher, you can see all responses. By keeping them unapproved, nobody else will ever see the responses. I had a choir teacher use this for shy students when recording solos.
As the teacher, you will see all responses as they are submitted by students. You can edit, hide, or delete inappropriate items. From Flipgrid you can share text or video feedback with your students.
Use the pin option to push select responses to the top of the page. Great way to highlight exemplary work.
Use this option to stop students from changing or adding more to their responses.
Teachers may hide any inappropriate responses. Use this if you want to prevent others from seeing something inappropriate. This allows you to save it in the event of a discipline issue.
You can select several responses to mass edit them. Or, you can select all the responses by click the check box at the top of the list. Then, select an action from the dropdown next to it.
Download all videos
Flipgrid is an excellent way to gather video snippets to create larger videos. During the COVID shutdown, we had teachers record messages to their students. Then, I edited the videos into a larger message and shared them on social media.
Near the top of the Flipgrid screen, you will find the Discovery tab. Here you will find hundreds of excellent topics to use in your class. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
The activity tab is a response dashboard. From here you can see recent responses and comments. This is the fastest way to moderate responses from your students.
Use this feature to group selected responses into a public-facing presentation. This will appear as a tiled grid of videos for viewers to enjoy. Great way to highlight student work with the community.
Shorts are brilliant. You can use shorts to record up to 10 minutes. This can be a mix of you speaking or recording your screen. The trim editor is easier to use than Loom or Screencastify, in my opinion. Use the share button to download your video. Or, share with your student by a copied link.
Grid pals is a directory of fellow Flipgrid educators. By default, your profile is hidden from the directory. You can set your profile to active and find other educators in your area.
Conclusion – Flipgrid Guide for Teachers
A few years ago Microsoft purchased this product to include with their educational suite. At the same time, they dropped all fees for educators. It has continued to improve and grow in popularity. Flipgrid is a staple tool for any teacher. No other solution allows you to use video in this way to create engaging lessons with your students. The learning curve is low and the value is high.
Teachers are finding new and interesting ways to use Flipgrid. A Spanish teacher friend of mine had students create videos of puppets for shy students. I would love to learn how you are using Flipgrid in your classroom. Find me on Twitter or Facebook to share your story.