It’s been more than a month ago that I used this tool in my classroom, but I didn’want to miss the opportunity to document this experience.
Flipgrid (http://Www.flipgrid.com) is a video discussion platform, a social network based on the popular concept of the “selfies”. I decided to give it a try with some of my classes.
The first attempts were rather dissapointing. I found out that the students were reluctant to record themselves and seeing them published on some public network. They felt embarassed, afraid of not looking good, afraid of saying things that were uncool or unclear or unsmart. Don’t forget, adolescents’ self-worth relies on the constructionof their identity, through the lens of how peers see them. And flipgrid is not a tool that makes sense if you rehearse your speech. In my opinion, what makes it great and even “cute” is the spontaneity of the kids when they express their opinion. It has no fancy filters, it does not allow posing, basic rules for adolescents’ exposure on social media, always showing their best side (Sorry, not only adolescents…).
The topic of the grid was sexual education and three debate questions: what about femicides, what about gender violence and music that inspires such behaviors through their lyrics, and what about gender stereotypes.
Of course, I started with the big expectations. A mistake I repeated throughout this year: launching a new tool, platform or concept (new for me AND for the students) with overdimensioned assignments.
Of the three debate areas, after breaking the ice of my group of students, we focused on the “gender stereotyoe” question. The other too were “abandoned” so far. We had some students telling about stereotypes they suffered or still suffer, and the fact is that the more videos were recorded, the more attractive the platform became for the others.
Specially after the tweeting and retweeting of the grid code, and some nice collaborations of teachers abroad (Beth Holland, Sapna Yadav and of course, Silvia Tolisano.), the kids began to feel important, having important adults engaged in what we were debating in classroom!
You can still collaborate on our grid here https://flipgrid.com/e4c6a5
Overall, the experience with Fliogrid turned out to be interesting. I truly believe it has a great potential. It is attractive, easy to use and very well structured.
BUT (there’s always a but…)
Students need a device with the app installed. Even if they have smartphones, they are not willing to install any app that takes place they need for gaming or social media. One option is to bring the ipads to the classroom. Or at least one and then they go out in turns and record themselves. So nice to use for final reflections on an unit!
We still have to figure out how to handle image use and exposure on the www. Flipgrid is public. The school as an institution HAS to define the policies associated to all these new possibilities, and clearly communicate to the parents and community which is the road towards being a XXIst century school we are beginning to walk. Digital literacy is something that implies education and instruction not only of kids and teachers, but also of the families, having them involved, collaborating with us.