Using Flipgrid as a Conduit for Deeper Thinking

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This week we read Cycle of Socialization and collaborated with our peers with the text rendering protocol.  We created videos on Flipgrid with a word, phrase, and sentence from our readings and then we followed up by watching a few of our cohort’s video and gave our understanding of the text based on the words, phrases, and sentences that others used in a second Flipgrid video.  I’ve never used Flipgrid before but was really pleased with how easy it was to use.  One of the things that I enjoyed about Flipgrid is that I could see my fellow COETAILer’s face and hear their voice.  Since we’re an online community, we don’t have these kinds of interactions very much.  As a collaborative tool, I found many positives for Flipgrid.  I was able to watch my cohorts videos, take notes on their words, rewatch and then think about it some more.  I’m not an auditory learner and this is detrimental sometimes if I only am allowed to hear something once.  I was able to really listen to their words and then respond and give feedback when I was ready and had time to process their words.

Flipgrid can be used as a tool for a pre-assessment and a post-assessment.  For EAL learners, this is a great tool where students can watch, pause, rewind or look up a word and then resume watching once they understand.  I think it’s a great way to get real-life authentic experiences by getting others to join in on the conversation that isn’t necessarily part of the classroom!  Since its online, it doesn’t need to be the same physical space and anyone can join. We can invite specialists, families abroad, professionals or experts to join our conversation!  Instead of asking for parents to send in photos for particular units, teachers can have parents create a Flipgrid video with their children (for the younger grades).  Students can then view other videos on their own time or teachers can view the videos all together as a class.  This provides a great home to school connection. 

Flipgrid reminded me of Padlet because you can different grids or padlets for difference discussions or topics.  One of the pros about Padlet is that the students are typing and can do this quietly or while the teacher or other students are talking.  For example, a teacher could be reading a text and students could be writing down their thoughts or questions regarding this text.  With Flipgrid, students are responding via videos.  For the younger students, this makes more sense since they have a harder time typing out their answers to questions. Parents and children could make videos together to answer teacher/class questions.  Teachers could share this information as a whole class.  Currently, students use seesaw to provide feedback to each other and use other apps in a collaborative setting such as Padlet, class notebook or any of the online Microsoft apps (we’re in China and Google is banned).  We just started connected seesaw blogs with our kinder kids and I’m excited to see where that goes! It’s still very early in the year so they’re just getting acquainted with Seesaw but I hope they’ll be able to connect to other students in other classes soon!

Here is an example of a Grade 1 Staff Notebook

Teachers at our campus have been finding it really hard to collaborate with each other via Sharepoint (a Microsoft online tool).  We have now moved away from using Sharepoint collaboratively and use it more for a document repository.  I personally use OneNote as a way to organize my notes for coetail.  Seeing the need for a more collaborative avenue and the possibilities with OneNote, I created each grade level their own Staff Notebook (the staff version of OneNote) so they could easily gather information and resources regarding their units and subject areas.  Instead of long email chains, we now have a centralized place where teachers can write notes, include documents, and resources all in one place.  One of the great things about this application is that it can be used online, on the desktop application, on the phone or the iPad.  It syncs between all of the devices so it can stay up to date.  Teachers can add text, drawings, audio recordings, and videos.  The tabs on the left-hand side make it’s really easy to organize.  Teachers are able to easily share documents by dropping them into a page and write a note so other teachers can see what the document is about.  It is easy to share with EAL teacher and learning support teachers.  I have found a way to include teachers with what other teachers are creating in their classes by posting it on the Lower School Seesaw Class.  I’ve included every teacher as a teacher in this class and have encouraged teachers to post what their kids are doing so teachers can get ideas from each other. 

Some societal identities that “predispose us to unequal roles in the dynamic system of oppression” – Source: Harro’s Cycle of Socialization
Infographic by Boramy Sun @LittleTechBee

I didn’t need to read the Cycle of Socialization to understand which of my societal identities were considered targets. As a member of these groups, you just know.  I remember taking a course in my Master’s program at NYU where we all had to describe ourselves in a short sentence with only a few words. Each of the four students of color made a point to include their race in their sentence.  It was in this course about multiculturalism and education that I first heard the term white privilege or other.  They were both so pervasive that it was hiding in plain sight; never needing a name because it was everywhere. I appreciated this class because I felt it was important to give teachers this background.   New York is a very diverse city and these teachers would be serving these same diverse children.  Now that I’m working at an international school in China, it’s even more important – I notice it even more because our population is even more diverse than it had been in NYC. It affected the things I purchased and brought into the classroom.  For example, when I purchased clipart online, I always choose a selection that had children of different ethnicities and gender roles included.  I avoided apps or videos when there was only stereotypical gender roles or limited representations.  I felt that it was important to show all of the students in the class representation of themselves.  When I was working in the Pre-K classrooms, it was important to make sure we had multi-racial representations in the toys and images we posted around the room.  When my colleagues would have multicultural toys in the classroom, I always felt happy and relieved and would let them know.  The teachers that I work now are much more aware of the different societal identities.  It makes sense as teachers who choose to work abroad need to be a bit more open and willing to take risks and get out of their comfort zones.  In order to help break the cycle and help our students do the same, we need to be open to their cultures and be aware of any biases or prejudices we unknowingly carry. 

Scan the QR Code to join our conversation!

This was our deepest reading so far and it made sense to use Flipgrid as a way to channel our thoughts. The text rendering protocol gave readers a chance to break down the heavy reading into smaller digestible bites. Flipgrid then allows us to watch our peers and hear their thoughts in whatever time we needed but then gives us a chance to synthesize and respond accordingly. If you’re not part of our Coetail cohort, I encourage you to scan the QR code and join our conversation. We would love to hear your thoughts!

3 thoughts on “Using Flipgrid as a Conduit for Deeper Thinking

  1. Hi Boramy! Thank you for this post. I totally agree with you that for auditory learners Flipgrid becomes a valuable resource for reflection as there is a picture along with the words. However, I remember that I asked the 8th graders to write out their thoughts before making their Flipgrid videos though for the Lower School this would be harder.
    I really like the way that you used OneNote and made a Staff Notebook so teachers can easily see (from one place) what someone else is doing and get ideas or share ideas with other teachers. The Elementary School at Dhahran Elementary Middle School (DEMS) also used Seesaw to share activities with parents but the middle school, not so much. This could become a valuable tool to share with parents during an academic year to show parents what their students are doing in class.
    Last year, I called parents into an oral presentation on ‘Human Rights Violations’ in different parts of the world and ways governments can deal with it. The 8th grade parents were so pleased to be invited to their children’s learning and asked for more opportunities to find out what their students do during the rest of the school year. So, either Seesaw or a common place (like your Staff Notebook) to post student progress, news, pictures, videos would be so great for middle school as well.
    Also, I agree that Flipgrid can be used as a pre inquiry tool or a reflection tool during or after a unit. Last, as an Asian naturalized American citizen I know how diverse the world is and how inclusive the world needs to be. And for that reason, in the new neighborhood that we have moved into I make an effort to introduce myself.
    After 5 years of being away from the US I find it disturbing that everyone who is different is now open for suspicion, previously it used to be fewer groups of people who came under scrutiny but now it seems to be everyone. It has to be our differences that we embrace and find similarities within our differences that the world can change for the better.

  2. Hi Boramy!
    ‘The Cycle of Socialization’ was one of the deepest readings that I had this year. It makes me reflect on my life, my actions, and the systems that I belong to. I agree with you on how international educators shall be caring about diversity and avoiding stereotypes in class. As a librarian, I try to find resources that embrace similarities respect differences. I also consider resources that will help children to identify themselves with the characters and settings. I’m working in India and I have learned a lot about diversity and culture. And, how important it is to respect different perspectives.
    I also have used Flipgrid for the first time. It’s amazing how it gives a touch of life, to those words of the blogs. How important are those details! They give us a sense of no-frontiers and humanize our collaboration.
    I would like to suggest you Flipgrid guide http://blog.flipgrid.com/educatorsguide. It’s very useful.

  3. Hi Boramy,

    Thank you for your post this week! I really enjoyed hearing your story about studying in NY. It sounds like you were very lucky to have such a rich experience and exposure to so much diversity!

    I also really enjoyed your visual that you created. What a wonderful intersection between the various things we have learned in this Course: visual design as well as Harro’s ideas of socialization and our filters of perception. Would you mind if I used the image you created? I think that’s a wonderful image to use in Design class as we use the Design Cycle to help us empathize and really hear what the problem another person is facing becaue in that we must be aware of our own filters before we can truly hear someone.

    Thank you!

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