Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Student Interviews with Flipgrid

Student interviews are a great way to get a clear idea of what your students know. Many teachers use these informal assessments to inform their instruction. Unfortunately, they take a considerable amount of time. As a teacher, I rarely use interviews as an assessment, despite the benefits, because I can’t justify the time it takes to sit with each of my students on a regular basis.

Kamaren Cross is a third grade teacher at my school. She is starting her second year of teaching, and she has found a great solution to the biggest drawback of using student interviews. Rather than sitting with each student during class hours, she is multiplying her time by having her class create video summaries of their learning using Flipgrid.

These short videos are a great way for Kamaren to check each student’s understanding without eating up lots of class time. She can even set a time limit for students so that each video is a reasonable amount of time. Students are highly motivated to create meaningful videos because they enjoy producing original content for their peers and teacher to view. Another benefit is that each student gets to have a voice in the conversation. Everyone is included and has a chance to explain what they think.

Flipgrid allows teachers to create a free classroom account. After students join using the class code, they can begin creating videos to answer the prompt that Kamaren has posted. The flipgrid interface is very visual- making it extremely easy for students of all ages to navigate. After only two days of using flipgrid, Kamaren found that most of her students could use the site independently to respond to her prompts. During my visit, each student used Flipgrid to record their learning within a 10 minute window.

While Kamaren’s third graders are nearly proficient at using Flipgrid, their first experience took a considerable amount of time. Providing appropriate modeling, examples and non-examples, along with adequate support to create initial videos took more time than she initially expected. Kamaren also had to problem solve when it came to the noise level when having all her students recording at the same time. Her solution is to have students tuck themselves away in small spaces around the room, such as under desks or near their cubby, to provide a bit of space.

Here’s what Kamaren’s students have to say about using Flipgrid:
“I like it because everyone can see my work.”

“I’m nervous when I have to answer in front of the class, but when I’m making a video I can do my recording over if I make a mistake.”

“It’s easier to explain what I’m learning when I’m talking.”

“I like adding stickers to make my video fun. It can look unique like me!”

“It’s fun hearing what my classmates say.”

Kamaren isn’t the only teacher in our building using verbal responses. A number of my colleagues from grades Kindergarten through sixth are are beginning to use this method through Flipgrid and our learning hub to allow students to respond to questions, create projects, and reflect on their learning. Students are excited to create video content, and they are accountable for their work because they have a genuine audience.

So far, Kamaren has used Flipgrid video responses for reading and writing lessons. She’s looking forward to trying it out with math content as well. She also plans to have students begin to collaborate by responding to peer videos, and in time, she hopes to have students pose their own questions for the class to answer.

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