Flipgrid, an EdTech product developed by a University of Minnesota design professor, has announced this week a free version of its product--Flipgrid One--to ensure all students are able to access the empowering tool.
Flipgrid is a video-sharing platform that encourages class discussions by allowing both students and teachers to share their thoughts via short videos.
"Using Flipgrid One, teachers empower and amplify student voice by creating a digital community, or 'grid,' in which they and their students record short videos to spark discussions, share perspectives and engage with one another on equal footing," said Flipgrid in a statement.
Flipgrid One is being released after a year of record growth for the company. According to Flipgrid, over 10 million videos were shared and created through the platform just last year alone by users from over 136 countries across all continents. All in all, Flipgrid says a new teacher account is being created every 21 minutes.
This success is thanks, in part, to the tool's ability to empower and amplify all student voices, not just those who are most likely to speak out in class.
"Communication of thinking and reasoning involves all students, not just the ones who raise their hands during class.... Flipgrid allows students to hear multiple ways to solve problems. It has changed my classroom," said Jennifer Saarinen, middle school math teacher at Kickemuit Middle School (Rhode Island), in a Flipgrid statement.
And while the app both encourages and empowers student voices, teachers ultimately decide how the discussions go. Discussions can be "as open or restricted as you like;" teachers control discussion topics, curation, moderation, visibility and social sharing.
Already addressing concerns about student privacy, Flipgrid notes it has taken the right precautions to ensure that student data and information is safe through the app.
Flipgrid "includes all of the necessary components to safely and fully engage students online, including password-protection, teacher moderation, transcripts, iOS and Android apps, and more," the company says.
For those who are interested, Flipgrid One provides educators with one grid which can be used by an unlimited number of students to include an unlimited number of topics and responses. It also includes video transcriptions and is compatible with both iOS and Android.
Premium versions of Flipgrid provide teachers with the options to reply to responses, provide feedback and assessment, export data, access exclusive webinars and more. Starting next month, Flipgrid's website says its premium option will also allow educators to connect to global classrooms using 'Grid Connections.'
Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor