Flipgrid is a video response platform, dedicated to amplifying a student’s voice. Students create short videos that can be viewed by just the teacher or the entire class. Flipgrid gives students the opportunity to not only share their music-making but also reflect, respond, and connect to other musicians! To make it even better, Flipgrid is free and available on any device with a camera – phone, tablet, or computer.
How Can Band Directors Use Flipgrid?
There are many ways that band directors can use Flipgrid in their classes! Video playing assessment is one example. Instead of having students play assessments for you in person, they can submit videos through Flipgrid. This often provides a less stressful experience for the students, since they can re-record the video as many times as necessary. In addition, students can watch their videos and reflect on their performance, adding an important piece of metacognition to the assignment.
You could also use Flipgrid for more informal tasks, like having students share videos playing their favorite songs, pieces they are working on outside of school, or music they have written themselves. Many students will also enjoy a “Name That Tune” activity, where they have to guess what songs their classmates play. Music is meant to be shared, and Flipgrid offers the perfect platform to do this. By creating fun, low-pressure topics, we remind students about the joy of making music!
Consider using Flipgrid for community building, either to welcome new students into your band program or recruit future band members. Invite students to create videos introducing themselves, talking about why they love participating in band, or why they chose their instrument. Students can be one of the best “sales” tools you have! Especially if you could not recruit in person, these videos can offer a great view into the band room for prospective members.
here are a few other ideas:
- Virtual dress rehearsal: Have students record a video a few days before a performance, then encourage them to watch their videos and record feedback for themselves. (for this link you will need to create a Flipgrid account)
- How-to videos: Students can create their own how-to videos, teaching skills such as instrument assembly or cleaning, playing techniques, or how to read music notation. These videos could be used to teach other students and are a valuable formative assessment tool! (for this link you will need to create a free Flipgrid account)
- Reflection: Have students reflect on recent performances, assessments, or practice sessions.
- Virtual performances: Use Flipgrid to hold a virtual performance! Individuals or groups can add videos to a topic to watch later.
- Concert welcomes: Have students record videos welcoming their family and friends to a concert. Share the welcome videos with audience members before the concert begins.
- Getting to know you: Ask students to record a video at the beginning of the year introducing themselves to the band. This will be especially valuable for any schools starting the year remotely. Make sure you record an introduction video too!
Setting Up Your Account
To use Flipgrid, first you must set up your educator account on the website, www.flipgrid.com. You will need to provide your school email address and some other basic information. By creating a profile, you enable other Flipgrid-using educators to find you for collaborations (more on GridPals below!) and help Flipgrid suggest pre-made content, just for you.
The next step is to create your first Topic. Topics are like assignments or prompts. A topic tells students what you want them to do. Give your topic a title and description, determine the maximum length of video students can record (15 seconds to 10 minutes), and make any other customization decisions such as:
- If you would like the videos to be moderated before appearing in the Grid (meaning only you can view them, this is a common choice when using Flipgrid for assessment)
- Adding resources, like videos, images, or files
- Adding attachments like Google Docs, OneNote, or Dropbox files
- If students may use effects in their videos, like stickers, filters, and frames
- If you would like to attach a rubric to the topic and provide feedback to students
Each topic comes with its own unique code that students use to access it, or you can create a Group to hold many topics throughout the year.
How Do the Students Use It?
Students use the code you provide for either the Topic or Group. One great thing about Flipgrid is that there are NO student accounts! Students either log in with their school email address or with a student ID that you assign. You can even have students log in with personalized QR codes. This login system allows you to have control over who can see and interact with your topics. It’s also very important for maintaining student privacy.
Once students have logged in, they can see the Topic and start creating using the following steps:
- Record the video. Students can use various filters, frames, stickers, backgrounds, and more, and upload pre-recorded videos.
- Revise the video if needed. Students can add additional content, crop their videos, and rearrange clips.
- Take a selfie! The selfie image appears in the grid. Students can customize their selfies using the same tools from the video recorder.
- Submit! Once students submit their videos, they appear in the grid unless you select video moderation. In that case, you need to watch and activate the video before it becomes visible to others.
The learning is not over when students submit their videos! They can now watch one another’s videos and leave encouragement and comments for their classmates. This is a great way to spark dialog and support effective communication between students.
Taking Flipgrid to the Next Level
Once you’ve mastered creating topics and having students submit videos, you’re ready to explore some of Flipgrid’s additional features and resources.
The Discovery Library holds topic templates created by educators and partner organizations all over the world. Use the Discovery Library to search for inspiration and ideas, copy any topics you would like to use directly into your Educator Dashboard, and edit as needed. You can even submit your own topics for others to use. Start by checking out “Made for Me” in the Discovery Library to find topics related to the information in your profile. Keep in mind, all topics in the Discovery Library are only templates; student videos are not shared.
A great way to extend your Flipgrid use and extend your bandroom is to connect with a GridPal. GridPals are like Flipgrid penpals! Connect your band with music students anywhere in the world to learn about music from different cultures, create peer mentor relationships, exchange recordings of performance music, and more. Flipgrid creates a safe place for students to interact with one another. Teachers can search the GridPals database through their Educator Dashboard, or connect with any Flipgrid-using educator on their own.
The Flipgrid camera is robust, with a variety of useful features. Teachers can also use the camera outside of a topic to create stand-alone videos called Shorts. Shorts videos can be up to 10-minutes long and you can share them with anyone in the world using a URL or QR code. Shorts are great for quick video announcements for students and parents, recording back-to-school welcomes, or even creating instructional resources. Here is some additional information about Shorts: How to Create Quick, Stand-Alone Videos: Flipgrid Shorts.
Mix Tapes are exactly what they sound like – a compilation of favorites! In Flipgrid, Mix Tapes are collections of videos pulled from any of your topics. Once compiled, you can share the Mix Tape, using a URL or QR code, with anyone you would like! You could create a Mix Tape for each student, documenting their progress throughout the school year. Or you could create a “Year In Review,” asking each student to nominate one of their videos to be added to the collection, and then share it at the final concert. Only teachers can create Mix Tapes, but there is no limit to how they can be used!
where to start
The first step for using Flipgrid is to create your teacher account. Then start small! If your students have never used Flipgrid before in band, start with an easy topic, something everyone will feel comfortable doing. Ask students to introduce themselves and say what instrument they play. Students could play their favorite song. Or if you are able, have students create their first videos with a partner. You may tell students who are shy that they don’t have to show their faces in the video. You want them to feel safe and secure with anything you ask them to do.
After you and your students feel more comfortable using Flipgrid, start looking for ways to increase the dialog between students, connect with other classes, and really amplify students’ voices. Flipgrid is a powerful tool, and its uses expand as far as your own creativity!
Looking for more info? Check out this collection of resources about Flipgrid.
Theresa Hoover Ducassoux is a middle school band director in Arlington, Virginia. She is an advocate for student voice in the music room and works to empower students throughout their musical experiences while helping teachers transform their classrooms into student-centered learning environments. Connect with Theresa on social media, @MusicalTheresa, or through her blog www.offthebeatenpathinmusic.com.
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