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Flipgrid is free. No, seriously. Not like before. Totally, completely free for ALL the features

I really like Flipgrid. It’s easy to use. It’s collaborative. It’s visual. It works across all platforms.

And now?

Now it’s free.

Yup. It’s free. And not in the lower tier, fewer options, not as powerful or cool, I can’t afford the Paid version so I’m using the crappy version kind of free. Free as in . . . totally free to access all of the cool, up until a week ago it used to cost money features.

So now I really like Flipgrid.

Here’s the deal. There used to be several versions of Flipgrid. A free version and two expensive versions. And while you could do some really cool stuff with the free, less featured version, the paid versions were so much cooler. As in: you got unlimited grids, unlimited topics, more choices on video length, responses to videos, and replies to those responses. You could move and duplicate grid structure and content. Embed fully-functional grids into other environments such as an LMS or class websites. Assess, document, and provide quantitative and qualitative feedback to individual students in a private, simple way.

You know . . . all the cool stuff. But it cost money.

But several weeks ago, Microsoft announced that they had purchased Flipgrid. And as part of the purchase, decided to make all of Flipgrid free to educators. So now you get all the goodness that used to cost money . . . for nothing.

If you already have a Flipgrid account, you’ve been automatically upgraded. And if you had been paying for the premium account, Microsoft is providing a prorated refund to every educator who upgraded in the past year.

Not really sure what Flipgrid is? Flipgrid is a tool that provides a digital place for your kids to share, reflect, and respond to prompts, images, primary sources, or just about anything with you, each other, and others beyond your classroom. It’s a great way to hear from all of your students and for students to hear from each other.

As the teacher, you create a topic. Click a few buttons. Share the unique URL with students. They access the topic with any internet device with a camera. They click the record button. Talk for 90 seconds. Click submit. All of these student videos appear on the topic grid. You and students can now view and respond to each video. Learning happens. Done.

Trust me. This is super easy peasy simple. But feel free to jump over to the tutorials and help sections to get videos and more specifics.

So if you don’t have an account or haven’t used Flipgrid in a while, head on over. It’s always been good. But now, with access to ALL the features, it’s even better.

Your brain should be working overtime right about now with ideas of what this might look like in your classroom. Browsing these ten suggestions can help:

Exit card
Use Flipgrid to quickly gather some formative assessment data at the end of learning. Post a question or prompt and ask kids to respond.

Post as historical character
Ask students to think and respond as if they are Lincoln or FDR or Ida Wells or Genghis Khan or Susan B. Anthony or whomever. Extend the learning by having students create a script or storyboard before posting.

Create groups of two or three to deliver historical newscast
The newscast could be from wherever and whenever you want. And, yes, require a script or storyboard.

KWL
Does anyone still use the What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned graphic organizer? Probably not. Because we all overused it. But the dynamic changes when we ask kids to do it in video format.

Where are we? When are we?
Create a topic and provide three clues that describe a specific place or event. Students guess by posting video responses and then reply to each other.

Video mashup
Create a topic but ask students to record a video using some other tool and upload that video instead of using the basic Flipgrid recording option. On a tablet, this tool could be Tellagami. If you’re using Chromebooks or other laptops, try Powtoon or Spark Video.

Collaborate with another class
Exchange topic URLs with another social studies teachers. Students from other places then respond to your prompt and vice versa. Perfect for learning about other states or locations.

Share topic URL with ELA teacher
Same idea but now you’re integrating fiction and nonfiction into your social studies content.

Post a primary source in your topic
Have kids practice their historical thinking skills by having them source and contextualize a document, photo, political cartoon, or painting. Be sure to turn on the Moderation setting before sharing the URL with your students. This requires that the all post their thinking without being able to view other student thinking. Once all students have posted, moderate their posts so they can view and respond to each other.

Rank multiple primary sources
Post two or more primary sources and ask kids to rank them and explain their rankings with evidence.

I’m curious. Now that the tool is totally free, what other ways could a social studies teacher use Flipgrid?

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