FlipGrid – An App for the YouTube Generation

“Mom, we want to start a YouTube channel.”

This is the statement my 12-year-old and her sister lay on me a few weeks ago. My first reaction is “NO WAY, YOU’RE TWELVE!” I like to refer to that as my “mom” reaction. But the tech teacher reaction is just the opposite: “That’s a GREAT idea!”

Producing a video (no matter how cheesy it is) is a great lesson in cross-curricular skills.

For instance, they quickly learned that without a script, their video sucked. They also recognized lighting issues and timing problems. But my favorite lesson they quickly learned while producing their DIY masterpiece is that they forgot to do the math, so when they attempted to assemble their “DIY Book Clock” the face of the clock hung precariously over the lip of the book.

Some lessons are best learned by failure, y’all.

After several iterations of the script, multiple blooper reels, and the destruction of three perfectly good books, they figured it out. Then came the technical part; moving the video from their iPad to YouTube, adjusting the settings, and sharing the URL to all their friends. Moving files to the cloud is now a necessary skill that our students have to understand. Heck, I know quite a few teachers who haven’t figured it out yet.

This got me thinking about what a great way this would be to teach a lesson.

But you can’t put your students on YouTube. At least, you can’t in my district, so I had to find another way to pull this off.

FlipGrid is an app that allows students to respond to one another with a video. The best part about it is that after they post their video, students can respond to their post with a video of their own, creating a robust collaborative space in the students’ native language: video. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it can be used in a variety of ways. Students can download the Flipgrid app, log in to your class, and post their video. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like to make it.

They offer a free account with limited features; this is a great way to try it out. The full price for FlipGrid Classroom is $65 per year. You know my policy on paying for stuff; I like FREE, and I can find all kinds of creative ways to make the free version do what I want. However, this is one of those tools I actually invest in, because I’ve discovered that I get a BIG boost in student engagement. If you want some ideas, download my FlipGrid One-Pager to see all the ways you can get your money’s worth out of this app!


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