August 1st was a day many teachers on social media were looking forward to – it was the day Flipgrid announced their new features for this school year! While I was not able to make the trek to Minneapolis for the release party (silly new puppy got in the way – at least he’s cute!) instead, I co-hosted a viewing party here in Northern Virginia.
Flipgrid did not disappoint! The new features are fantastic. From recording capabilities to security and everything in between. I look forward to trying a lot of new things this year. Here’s a recap of some of my favorites.
New recording features
You now can trim and add to your videos! If something goes wrong at the beginning or end of your video, no need to go back and re-record, you can trim those parts out! Then you can also add more content if needed.
Videos can also be shot in several sizes, optimized for your device, whether it is a desktop, square video, or full-size mobile screen. Also, you can flip between the front and back cameras on your device while shooting the video.
New privacy features
No more required passwords! Those were just a placeholder as the new features were configured. (Passwords are still an option, just not required.) Now when you set up your grid you have three options: classroom/school, set up by student ID, or open to the public.
- My Classroom or School – this grid is restricted to people within your email domain. It’s perfect for situations where all participants have (school) email addresses. You can also set this up with multiple domains (when collaborating with other schools.)
- Student ID – you set up or upload student IDs, and the grid is restricted to those participants. You can also print QR codes for younger students!
- PLC’s and Public – this is open to the public, but restricted to students 16 and older
It’s now even easier to find and connect with GridPals! GridPals are like video pen-pals. Last year over 1500 classes were matched through the GridPals program, and this year I’m sure that number will grow exponentially. While I did not have any official GridPals last year, my students did connect with others around the world and it was an excellent experience for them. I can’t wait to do it again. If you want to learn more about GridPals, check out this “Adventure Passport” that GridPals creator Bonnie McClelland put together. It has everything you will need!
Other things I’m super excited about
It would be impossible for me to list all of the other things I am excited about, but here are a few that stand out at the moment.
- You can now add multiple resources to a topic
- You can add topic tips, as a short reminder to students
- Students can now view the entire topic when on the recording screen
- The teacher can add “vibes” to student videos. Vibes are short messages that will be visible to all at the top of a student’s video. A great way to showcase specific videos.
- Mixed Tapes – this feature becomes available in the fall and will allow you to mix up and loop your favorite grids!
How to use Flipgrid in music classes?
Previously I posted about five ways to use Flipgrid in Instrumental Music. Those ideas all still work, and I highly recommend them. Now with the new features, it is even easier to take Flipgrid to the next level.
- Getting to know you – set up a topic for students (and teachers!) to get to know each other. This is a great way to learn about your student’s interests, prior experience, and even how to correctly pronounce their names! If you teach instrumental music, it might be a great time to have students play something so you can see and hear progress from the beginning to the end of the year. Jornea Armant Erwin provides some other beginning of the school year ideas here: Back To School
- Concert shout-outs – give families the opportunity to record a “good luck” message before a concert or performance. Students will love hearing these messages, both before and after the big event.
- Dress rehearsal – this would be especially valuable for any individual, solo and ensemble performances. Have students record a video of themselves playing the piece a week before the performance. Students can then critique their own videos and leave feedback for peers. I did this last year with students in our TED-Ed club, and plan to do it next year for our Spring Recital.
- Collaborate! I can’t recommend this enough – find another school or class to collaborate with! Whether you share music that the whole class/ensemble is working on, or if you have individual students share music, or even pair kids up with a “practice buddy,” it’s worth it. The students take pride, knowing other kids will hear their music. Last year my students collaborated with other band and orchestra students sharing holiday music, and we worked with third-grade classes in Chicago helping them learn to play the recorder. Both were great experiences!
If you’ve never used Flipgrid before, now is the time! Go to www.flipgrid.com and sign-up for a (free) teacher account. From there, create your first grid! If you need some ideas, check out the Discovery Library for over 4,000 topic templates. They are searchable by subject and grade level, and should definitely spark some ideas. I’ve added my “How-to Videos” topic, “Holiday Music,” and several others. To use a template in the Discovery Library, select which grid you want to add it to and click Add. From there you can customize the topic however you would like!
I encourage you to check out Flipgrid this school year if you haven’t already. There are so many uses; you won’t regret it! And feel free to reach out if there is anything I can do to help you get started. I fully expect as the year progresses to find even more fun uses for this great tool.
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