Category Archives: edtechtools

Flipgrid: Everything You Need To Know

Using Flipgrid isn’t about recording videos…it’s about learning. Learning that is social, personal, can happen anywhere and anytime, about making connections.  It’s deep exploration, and promotes that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. – Flipgrid Educator’s Guide

flipgridcard-student

 

“Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families around the world. Flipgrid promotes fun and social learning by giving every student an equal and amplified voice on the Topics you define!” – Flipgrid.com

Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft and is a FREE app available to use on all platforms: iOS, Android and web.

What is the purpose of the app? Intended audience?

Flipgrid is simple – the leader (usually a teacher) shares a topic question or idea and students reply to the topic through a short video response. Then the teacher and students can watch each other’s video responses and reply with a video.  The main idea is that all students have an equal platform to share their voice and interact with their peers. A social and emotional learning experience for all!

How to use the app

Instead of providing a step-by-step guide of how to use the app, I will provide you with links to all the resources you will need.  The first place to stop is the ‘Getting Started‘ page, which will give you simple steps to sign up and start creating. A simple description:

  • Step 1: Create a Grid (for your class or learning community)
  • Step 2: Add Topics (to the grid)
  • Step 3: Share your Grid (with your students) and collect videos (Responses) from your students. Students can view and Reply to each other’s Responses

Throughout the process there are many prompts and suggested links if you need assistance.  Flipgrid does an excellent job of anticipating trouble areas and will lead you in the right direction. A great by-product of Flipgrid is the engaged and supportive educator community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  The Flipgrid team has created a culture of educators that are excited to share their experiences and classroom use and are encouraged by three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads.  If you have any questions or are looking for suggestions for using the app, Twitter is a great place to get immediate feedback.

Information to support app use is available on an easy-to-use resource page with links to the Flipgrid Help Centre, a Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book, the Flipgrid Help Centre, Live Flipgrid PD, Resource Centre, and #StudentVoiceAmbassadors.

Flipgrid is a family of passionate educators sharing ideas and inspiration and having a whole lot of fun along the way. Take a moment and meet some of the educators in this vibrant community! – Flipgrid.com

Some cool features:

  • Spark – if a student provides a really great response to a topic, Grid Owners (teachers) can ‘spark’ the response to create a new topic for students to pivot.
  • Vibes – teachers can provide custom feedback that will be visible for all to see.
  • Feedback – teachers can provide private written or video feedback.
  • Feature responses – teacher can click a ‘star’ icon to bring a student response to the top of the list.
  • Disco Library – nearly 10,000 Flipgrid topic ideas to add to your Grids (including the #FlipgridWeekly30 as the currently trending topics). Teachers can also add their own topics to the Disco Library.
  • Sharing  – share Grids using a specific flip code or QR code.
  • Immersive Reader – Flipgrid uses Microsoft’s Immersive Reader tool (reading text aloud, change text size, font, colour, visual focus tool, break down words into syllables, picture dictionary).
  • GridPals – connect with classrooms around the world.
  • Mixtapes – compile student responses into one compilation video
  • Guest Mode – share certain topics with families, experts and others.  The topic responses can be view-only or allow recorded responses

Terms of Use, Privacy, Safety and Data Collection

In my research, I came across a very comprehensive review of Flipgrid.  Please head over to the the Flipgrid Common Sense Education Review for everything need to know about the app. Additionally, Common Sense provides a Flipgrid Privacy Report.

Through my own research, I will highlight a few areas of importance and concern with the app.

Safety – The privacy policy explains that “Grid Owners” control content, not Flipgrid. Grid Owners have the option of password-protecting and moderating their Grid. The Grid Owner controls what is public and moderates content and interactions. Potential red flag – users (or parents of users) put their trust in the Grid Owner to use the content appropriately and maintain privacy.

Privacy – Grid Owner (usually a teacher) information is collected when an account is created (first name, last name, email address, password, instruction type and country). Cookies are used on Flipgrid as well as any third parties sites that are visited by users.  Flipgrid does not sell user personal information to third parties or use personal information for advertising purposes.  Additionally, Flipgrid does not use personal information to track and target advertising for users on third party websites. Potential red flag – if students post personal information in their video responses, the information could be visible and stored on Flipgrid.  

Security – No discussion of encryption in the privacy policy. In the event of a security breach, Flipgrid will notify affected individuals as required by law.

Compliance – Grid Owners are responsible for monitoring content for other users (students). By enrolling students enrolled under 13 (in the USA) and 16 (everywhere else), the privacy policy explains that teachers must collect consent forms from parents (which is required by COPPA in the USA). Potential red flag – there is no collection of consent forms by Flipgrid, so teachers can easily use the app without parental consent.

Additional Red Flags

  • Changes to policies are effective immediately and continued use of the app means you have provided consent
  • Personally identifiable information is collected and personal information of children under 13 is collected online 13. It is unclear what type of date is excluded from the collection
  • Data is shared with third parties for analytics and product improvement
  • Links to third-party websites may not be school appropriate
  • Unclear is owners retain ownership of their data and videos
  • Two-factor authentication is not provided
  • Students could potentially interact with untrusted users
  • Personal information (like names) could be shared publicly
  • No ‘report’ feature in case of cyber bullying or abuse
  • Students can still use the app even if parental consent is not collected – there is no way to track the consent collection.

Potential Educational Value

Flipgrid is a very interactive and engaging app that gives students a chance to participate in networked learning opportunities.  The relatively simple interface allows students to provide quick responses to simple questions or more detailed and edited videos in reflection to a chosen topic.  The platform provides a space for all students to share their ideas and facilitates discussions through video responses.  With a committed teacher willing to learn how to use all the features of the app, a school division that supports use of the app and parents that provide consent, Flipgrid has the potential to be a fun learning experiences for students.

Overall

Pros

  • A very engaged educator community allows this app to thrive with networking opportunities.  It truly brings the “social” aspect to “social media”.
  • Extremely thorough help centre, resource guides and assistance available through a variety of tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Students can be creative with videos by adding text, special effects, filters, stickers, and more.
  • The goal is to ‘amplify the student voice’  and there are many ways for students to be creative and empowered to share a message.  The ‘grid’ provides an even playing field for all students.
  • Grid Owners (usually a teacher) have control of the content (including hiding responses, downloading videos, compiling student responses into a ‘mix tape’, and deleting responses).
  • Grid Owners can provide student feedback (using a rubric with custom or basic feedback or a private video response).

Cons

  • Safety-wise, there is no way to make a grid completely private. This means that anyone who gets hold of the grid link can view student videos. (Example – if you enable Guest Mode, you will be provided with a link. Anyone with the link can view the videos in that topic without a password or other security feature).
  • There are so many features and possibilities with the app, it is overwhelming. It takes a lot of digging and learning to use the app to it’s full capacity. It would be most beneficial after consistent app use with students
  • Grid Pals allow student videos to be shared with potentially untrusted users.
  • The ‘fun’ aspects of the app can sometimes distract students away from the topic or purpose of a particular grid.
  • Students can use the app even without parental consent (which is a requirement in the terms of use).

If you are curious about using Flipgrid with your students, I have a few suggestions. First, check with your school division to see if it is an approved app, join the educator communities , participate in Live Flipgrid PD and read the Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book.  I think Flipgrid can be a really fun and engaging tool with students, but it is best used if educators know how to take full advantage of the app.  The Flipgrid team is continuously improving the app, open to feedback and always available for questions through the three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads.  Even if you do not end up using the app with your students, take advantage of the vibrant educator community.  The positivity and excitement is contagious!

Week 1 – Building My Empire

I have two sisters (and two brothers) and we share funny memes and accounts through a group chat on Instagram on a daily basis.  We sometimes talk about how we spend too much time on our phones and this week we chatted about how we should unfollow accounts that make us feel anxious or unhappy.  At that moment, I realized I had hardly looked through my personal social media accounts because I was so focused on building my ‘Callie, the sweet and friendly Golden Retriever” empire.  Why is this relevant? Through my major project experiential journey of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid, I am quickly learning how time consuming these apps can be when you have specific goals in mind. Here is a little mini compilation of my top TikTok videos/Instagram experience this week (complete with a muted section at 1:00-1:21, due to a copyright claim):

And the nitty-gritty details of my progress this week:

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

In my first major project post, I discussed my hesitation with using my personal life in a public account on both Instagram and TikTok.  So, I decided to use my dog, Callie as a prop and subject of my account. I followed these steps:

    1. Choose a username and make an account.
      • Apparently there are a lot of Golden Retrievers named Callie on Instagram, so I had to use some creative punctuation with the name
    2. Choose a profile picture and create a short bio
      • I briefly looked at different pet accounts, and lots of accounts included the date of birth of their animal and sometimes a flag for the country. I decided to against giving away my location and only added the D.O.B.
      • I chose a nice close up photo of Callie for the profile picture
    3. Make your first post
      • I made the first post before following any accounts – that way potential accounts would see my content if they decide to follow back. This is not based on any research, just my own idea
    4. Use relevant hashtags and format post in a particular style IMG_2344
      • I Googled: “top golden retriever hashtags instagram” and copied the list to my Notes app on my iPhone. **You can only use 30 hashtags per post
      • To create a post with multiple lines, I remember learning from my niece that if you write the caption in the Notes app and format it with dots and lines, the formatting will stay when you copy the caption to Instagram. Why? I have no idea. Maybe something to look into!
    5. Start following accounts and liking photos (I looked at a few of the different hashtags for inspiration).
    6. Continuing posting more content (at least daily), like a variety of posts and follow relevant (dog related) accounts.

Within the first week, I have 145 followers (and counting) and lots of weird interactions with other dog accounts. (Did you know there is a certain “dog” way to write on the Internet? ‘DoggoLingo‘- using words like ‘hooman’ instead of human and ‘doggo’ instead of dog. And some accounts ask if I want to be their ‘fwend’. Weird). With my early success of gaining followers, I read an article “How to make your dog Instagram famous” and learned about some of the ins and outs of the pet Instagram world.

Here are some interesting revelations and interactions on the Instagram with @callie.the.golden.pup.

  • Direct messages to be “fwends”
  • Requests to be brand ambassadors from pet companies
  • Direct messages to join “follow loops” to help other pet accounts gain more followers
  • ‘Suggested accounts’ to follow – as a result, some people from my personal life are following my pet account – which is a little awkward (especially when my siblings start making fun of me for having too much time on my hands).

As I continue my experiential assignment, I am starting to make a list of questions for my research overhaul of Instagram in a few weeks:

  • Privacy – what are the implications of becoming a ‘brand ambassador’? Do I really want to give my home address to a random company in exchange for free merchandise?
  • Direct messages – why? Do you need to be concerned about catfishing or luring?
  • What is the correlation between liking posts, following accounts and receiving more likes and follows?
  • How many posts per day for maximum engagement?
  • Best hashtags?

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

TikTok is a bit of uncharted territory for me, as I only started to use the app at the end of November 2019 as part of EC&I 831. Since then I have watched a lot of videos, and continued to follow trends through my nieces’ accounts.

    1. Choose a username and create an account
      • I used the same name as Instagram for continuity and to help with cross-promotion (if that is even a thing with Instagram and TikTok – something to explore)
    2. Profile picture and short bio
      • Again, same as Instagram to keep it simple
    3. Upload your first video
      • I have lots of dog videos on my phone from the last two years of Callie’s life, so I chose a funny audio clip that my nieces used a few times. I figured it must be current and trending.
      • Use hashtags, but most importantly the #foryou or #fyp – more on that later when I do my overhaul of TikTok.
    4. Watch the views, likes and follows come in
      • 500 views in the first two days! 35 likes and a few new follows
      • Different than Instagram, but it appears that views are more important than likes. I think.
    5. Watch lots and lots of videos
      • Part of your success on TikTok depends on staying on top of trends, which you can accomplish by watching hours of videos and adding certain audio clips to a “favourites” tab

Pretty easy! Until I uploaded my next few videos and received less than 100 views per video, sometimes less than 10 views! How is this even possible? I read a lot of articles trying to understand the TikTok algorithm , but it doesn’t make any sense to me or the Internet world. Then I uploaded a video that received almost 1300 views and over 230 likes! What made this video special? Is the content better? I am also noticing a lot of my new followers appear to be young girls (definitely under the recommended age to use the app).

A few questions to consider when I complete my TikTok overhaul:

  • Likes, follows, views – how does this affect engagement? Do I need to follow/like other accounts to receive more attention?
  • Safety/privacy concerns with a young follower base (it looks like a lot of young girls  are following my dog account on TikTok – but what if I was actually an online predator? These are the kind of questions running through my head on a daily basis).
  • How often do you need to post to maintain engagement? Do captions matter (I get a bigger response when I ask a question in my caption)?

Flipgrid

I decided to use Flipgrid with two Grade 7/8 classes at my school. Part of the reason I chose these classes is that one class used Flipgrid two years ago, so I thought they would be able to give me a few tips and tricks.

    1. Read the “Getting Started” post and Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid
    2. Create an educator profile (using my school division Google account)
    3. Create a “grid” – one for each Grade 7/8 class.
    4. Give students some time to explore the functions of Flipgrid before creating a topic.
      • I wanted students to be creative with filters, stickers, text, etc when creating their videos. This also gave me a chance to learn about possible issues with the app.

A few things I learned/questions about Flipgrid this week:

  • Some students showed me how to “add a sticky”, so that you can write out what you want to say when recording. This way you aren’t looking away from the camera while recording. The sticky disappears when you post the video.
  • How do you delete a video that you posted? It is not as intuitive as you think and requires a few steps.
  • Each video shows the number of views – does this make students feel uncomfortable? Is there a way to remove this setting?
  • Privacy/safety – the grid is only available to someone with the link, but how do you guarantee privacy? We talked about use stickers or emojis to cover student faces if they feel uncomfortable.
  • My division policy using Flipgrid – something I will discuss in more detail this week during my app overhaul.

Snapchat

After the first week of daily TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid use, I realize that I need to adjust my goals for the major project. I don’t feel that Snapchat fits into an ‘experiential’ piece, as I have already used the app daily for over four years. That being said, I am still very curious about the safety, privacy and terms of service guidelines of Snapchat and will complete a research overhaul as planned. I will continue to use the app daily, although will not report on my use in the same way as TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid. I also feel like there are not enough hours in the day to use all this social media effectively!

Plan for next week:

  • Complete the Flipgrid overhaul
  • Instagram
    • Do some research on how to receive more engagement on Instagram – better hashtags? Posting at certain times of day?
  • TikTok
    • Participate in trending challenges/hashtags – does this increase views/likes?
    • Try some of the tips from this article to get on the ‘For You Page’
  • Flipgrid
  • Snapchat
    • Continue my typical daily use (sending baby snaps and maintaining snapstreaks)

If you read this far, thank you! I have a lot of work I would like to complete with this project, especially when it comes to data privacy and safety.  My ultimate goal:

Guide students and children through the safe use of

Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

EC&I 831 – Summary of Learning

My final summary of learning for EC&I 831: Social Media and Open Education:

In my summary of learning, I wanted to capture everything I have learned over the last few months. I thought it would be fun to incorporate the top 5 social media apps that we discussed in the course and challenge myself to use or understand the apps.

  • Snapchat (user for the last 3 years)
  • TikTok (user for 1 week)
  • Instagram (user for the last 8 years)
  • YouTube (user for 12 years – my first upload was July 2007!)
  • VSCO (user for 5 years, but only recently understanding the VSCO Girl concept)

I hope the brief social media interludes in the video highlight some of the obsessions and common uses of the apps. I will say one thing – if you have not downloaded TikTok, be careful. I fell into a deep, dark hole of videos for over 2 hours…you’ve been warned!

Secondly, I originally wanted to include Rick Mercer style rants addressing the main issues and topics in EC&I 831. I quickly realized that it is impossible to film in the “rant” style as a solo videographer with a selfie-stick and an iPhone. In the video, I discuss the topics that resonated with me the most:

Lastly, I tried to incorporate all my editing skills acquired over the last couple months with WeVideo, like video overlaying.

I hope you enjoy the video!

@Catherine_Ready

P.S. Thank you to my sister and brother-in-law for letting me use their business, Assiniboia Gallery to record the video. No baby or dog distractions!