DisruptED TV Magazine
Short Cycle Data Informed Inquiry on Flipgrid
By Sally Jo Saragusa, MBA, MSEd
Flipgrid is an educational application acquired by Microsoft on June 18, 2018. Flipgrid is supports social learning through student voice. I was excited about this acquisition as it enabled me to integrate more technology into my classroom. For 5 years my district has been on a technology hiatus. When our district administration changed in 2013–14, they eliminated both the District Technology Services Coordinator and the District Technology Director positions. In Fall 2018, for a Professional Development and Supervision class, I chose to do a short-term data-informed inquiry on Flipgrid.
It was action research spanning the length of one quarter, 45 days, of the school year. I am not in a Supervisory position, but I have taught Professional Development classes in the past. My rationale was to demonstrate whether Flipgrid was a valuable technology and social-learning tool and to introduce Flipgrid during a Professional Development (PD) session in the future. The focus of my inquiry was to see whether a professional development class on Flipgrid was feasible based on student communication and collaboration throughout this study.
This project was one that is close to my heart for several reasons. First, student voice is critical and often overlooked in current educational settings. Teachers are often so busy implementing instructional goals that not all students get to verbalize their thoughts. Second, this tool allows educators so much flexibility in use, and once students are using it, the tool can be accessed, quickly and efficiently. Flipgrid can be used to analyze pre-existing thoughts, summative assessments, formative assessment in a private or class wide or share in a collaborative manner. Our district is behind technologically, and teachers have limited tools available; therefore, I like the flexibility of being able to use a cell phone, iPad, laptop, or traditional desktop computer. The hidden benefit is the social-emotional learning. Relationships matter.
Relationships are built either functionally or dysfunctional through the way we communicate, yet we are not teaching students how to communicate appropriately as often as we should be. Today our students are communicating using technology tools and social media more and more with little thought as to how to build long lasting relationships. It is a debate in education as to how much technology is too much, and how all these “fake” profiles on social media impact students. We need additional positive ways to integrate communication and technology in an educational setting. Students have shared with me that their friends on their Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter are generally positive. People share a lot of positivity with very little thought that everyone has good and bad days. In summary, this tool can help break down the social-emotional barrier and can be used in every subject at every grade level.
I am employed by a mid-sized rural high school in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our enrollment at the high school in 2018 was approximately 1,750, grades 9–12. Currently, the district does not have the infrastructure to support a 1:1 initiative and the students do not have a student network/guest network. I implemented the use of Flipgrid in four out of five classes, and three out of the four subjects during the first quarter. The total number of students in those classes were 87 and 77 of them responded to the survey.
I implemented Flipgrid in three courses. First, Baking, where we cover the following topics: Safety, Equipment, Cookies, Cakes, Pies/Pastry, Quick Breads, Yeast Bread, Custards, Frozen Desserts & Healthy Desserts. Second, Foundations of Family & Consumer Science (FCS), which is a course that offers a glimpse into 7 out of 9 courses offered in the FCS Department, and lastly, Independent Living, where we cover Job Seeking, Financial Services, Saving, Credit, & Insurance.
The study demonstrated that most students lack self-esteem and self-confidence when speaking or on video. As they used Flipgrid they got more comfortable
• 38 responses out of 45 Baking students in two classes. 16 Seniors, 9 Juniors, 11 Sophomore, and 2 Freshman.
• Students were asked if they got more comfortable speaking as time went by. 15 yes, 6 maybe, 17 no (38 students).
• Students used Flipgrid for student-led instruction, review and formative assessment. 60.5% stayed the same, 31.6% increased communication.
• Students sit at tables in groups of 4–5. The data indicated a 55% increase in group communication.
• Students participated in 8 topics over one quarter (45 days).
• 17 responses out of 17. 6 Seniors, 4 Juniors, 2 Sophomore, and 5 Freshman. 23.5% increase, 52.9% no change, 23.5% decrease in engagement. Students used Flipgrid to increase discussion in critical social emotional learning curriculum areas.
• Students used Flipgrid to enhance conversations on topics and formative assessment. 41.2% increase, 52.9% stayed the same communication.
• Students sit at tables in groups of 3–4. The data indicated a 70.6% increase in group communication
• Students were asked if they got more comfortable speaking as time went by. 9 yes, 5 maybe, 3 no (17 students).
· 22 responses out of 24. 7 Seniors and 15 Juniors. Engagement 36.4% increase, 54.5% stayed the same. 9.1% decrease.
· Students used Flipgrid for student led review of materials and summative assessment. Communication increase 36.5%, 59.1% stayed the same.
· Students sit at tables in groups of 4–5. The data indicated a 59.1% increase in group communication, 40.9% stayed the same.
· Students only used Flipgrid twice. Two topics were extra credit and we did not get to two other topics I had planned.
Results of inquiring with all the students regarding all technology:
Do you feel digital tools are helpful in the classroom?
· 77 Student Participant’s
• Yes 38
• Maybe 68
• Other 9 (No, only when students want to, limited for S w/o data)
What types of digital tools do you see yourself using to increase learning and communication in the classroom?
Discussion platform/another voice app
Snapchat and other text base IM apps
More Internet application
All students: Would you like to use Flipgrid in another class?
• I would like to use it in a class filled with opinions like English but it wouldn’t be as useful in a class like Chemistry that is filled with factual information
• My least favorite would be math
• Favorite would be History
• Favorite: Math(only like 9 kids there) and Least: History (too many kids)
• I wouldn’t really want to use it unless I’m doing it in a group or with people I already know
• I would use Flipgrid in English because i have more friends in that class and it won’t be as awkward
• My favorite would be English and my least would be math
• Use it in English to talk about peoples takes on the book
• My favorite would be doing skits because I got to work with another person
• I would use it in English
• I would use it in English. It was fun to watch others speak.
• Trigonometry to see how others do the work
• I wouldn’t want to use it in any of my other classes because I’m in a language and the words are hard to pronounce.
• Yes I would use it in English class for vocab
• Honors Algebra 2 to post answers and help study for tests
• Favorite would be English and least would be math
What is your device preference?
• 77 Students filled out the survey
• 54 Students prefer to use their Smartphone
• 22 Students prefer to use a Laptop/Tablet
• 3 Students prefer to use a Desktop
I assessed that Smartphone’s are their favorite device because we are not a 1:1 district. Also, once signed into the Google Classroom, or Flipgrid, you would not have to sign in again. Per further queries this holds true even when using Google Classroom for notes — Students only prefer a keyboard for large typing assignments
Implications in my district follow. Feedback was received from the Director of Technology which supports me holding a PD session on Flipgrid next breakout session that we have, and support me looking into other classroom technologies. I set up a Google Classroom for the PD session or for teachers that would like to learn on their own. PD will consist of a Flipgrid overview, demonstrating the difference between administrator and student accounts, and then have attendees participate in expressing their voice via a topic.
I presented a PowerPoint plan with the results of this research to the Technology Director. It is going to take time to get our infrastructure where it needs to be; therefore, and Flipgrid is a great tool to utilize both before and after we have a student network. Once we have the infrastructure that supports it, Flipgrid should be introduced at the elementary levels. Two teachers have used it in the fall via smartphone use at home or classroom computers. Teachers can utilize the shared chrome carts within their department which will make using Flipgrid very easy for both the teachers and the students.
My theory of action is first to get administrations buy in and then after that convince teachers that using this tool empowers them and will help build community collaboration in their educational setting. I will then need a sample set of teachers willing to implement Flipgrid within the school year. Then I will need to follow up with them via a survey, in person, or both. The hardest part in implementing Flipgrid for me is the amount of turnover every quarter. During PD I have to convince teachers that this app can assist with goals rather than create more work in their increasingly busy schedule.
The goal will be easy to measure as far implementing professional development. I will be able to keep track of how many people attend training and what roles they have. Afterward, I can offer help, I can offer to co-pilot some grids, and I can offer additional training. Additional training warranted could be mixing the videos or collaborating with teachers in another state or country. Ultimately, the level of use will provide me with measurable results. Towards the end of the year, I can survey the teachers that implemented the application.
My timeline is to have the professional development plan written by the end of December, and that goal was met. We have no more professional development time this school year since February’s professional development has already been planned. Even though I can write a plan relatively quickly, I feel if I have more mileage in utilizing Flipgrid myself, I will be better prepared. I am willing to teach interested teachers after school on our own time. An hour is enough time to introduce teachers, and get them excited to dive in and utilize this tool in their classroom. Of course the results they yield will be up to the students taught, their access to technological devices, and subject. As of today, I have convinced one teacher to try the app already and it only took 10 minutes of instruction over lunch.
About the Author: Sally Jo brings 15 years of business experience into the classroom. She is currently a Family & Consumer Science/Business Teacher. She is currently in a doctoral program and aspires to become a district administrator.
 During the 2018–19 school year the school district hired a Director of Technology and a Director of Curriculum.