First off we have big news from Flipgrid! During the ISTE 2022 conference, I was able to attend Flip Fest, a yearly event that Flipgrid hosts to roll out updates, changes and BIG news! This year they had quite a lot to brag about; they changed their name, their logo, and rebranded themselves to Flip.
What’s in a name?
The kind of news I like to talk about though is news that impacts what teachers are doing. It’s news that benefits what we’re doing with our students, news that helps us to be pedagogically effective, news that helps our students learn, and helps us assess them. While a name change doesn’t really matter all that much, what does matter is what URL to go to. So, if you are looking for Flipgrid you can find it at Flip.com, and if you forget and go to Flipgrid.com, the site will redirect you.
While that’s a relatively minor change it doesn’t really impact the way we do our work, but it is interesting and exciting to hear about. However small the name and logo change may be, for people like me and others who are always recording videos, building guides and blog posts to help teachers use technology, we now get to change every slide deck we have that has Flipgrid in it. 🙃 So thank you to Charlie Miller and the Flip team for making that change.
Let’s talk about the changes that will affect you and your classroom. I felt like the tone of Flip Fest was that they are really trying to foster a community where educators are using Flip in their classrooms, while evolving, to be almost like, (they didn’t say the words, but I’m going to say it for them), a social media platform. They’re really trying to be a community, using it for clubs and for groups outside of school endeavors. I think that’s part of the reason for some of this rebrand change, they’re trying to become “Flip for community”, not just Flip for schools. Of course, that’s that’s me adding that in, not their actual branding.
So, as I mentioned, you can find them at www.flip.com, and as of now, the old links will redirect you.
Changes to the User Interface
They’ve started to work on changing the view that we see when we go into Flip. Instead of the menu at the top, we’ll see a new side menu, we’ll see the camera and our own videos first, and that’s also what our students will see as well.
The student and teacher versions are pretty similar, but Flip will know when you log in, what kind of account you have. The students will see slightly different things, but the general view is the same. It feels unified, the way that going into another platform, like your email, feels the same for everybody, even though you have different content in there.
The side menu will list all of our groups and we can add groups. I love this as a teacher because I could easily jump from my fourth-period class’ responses to my fifth-period responses without a bunch of clicking.
This is what the group feed looks like on your phone, but it also has a group feed feel on the web page too. What that means is, all of the videos are vertically stacked in the order they are happening. For example, in this breakdancing basics Flip group, which sidenote, I actually teach a break dancing basics class – I’m a professional break dancer, but most people don’t know that about me. It’s a little-known fact that I carry a cardboard box everywhere I go in case someone needs to breakdance. Okay, so that’s not actually true, but in the class shown, the top video that you’re seeing is the most recent one. Below it, the videos are chronically arranged. It has a very Instagram or TikTok kind of feel, which I think is great! Flip has found a familiar look from outside of school that our students will respond well to. So yes, bring that kind of feeling into an educational platform, why not, right?
The home feed will be like that as well, both on mobile and on the computer. You’ll see the most recent video full screen, you scroll down and you see the next video, etc. Again a very social media-like feel except educationally focused.
I’d also like to point out that my friends Joe and Kristin Merrill were on stage with a member of the Flip team to unveil that Flip is also working on quality control with videos and comments. I know that when teachers hear that Flip is getting a kind of social media look they may get a little nervous. For example, what if our students do something inappropriate? Flip is putting a lot of automated filters in that will flag videos that may have a student putting up a middle finger or a student saying a swear word. Flip is going to automatically flag and take down those videos. They showed an example of how it will prompt the students to change the word(s) in their comments that are inappropriate. I’m interested in seeing how that rolls out, because sometimes, like in a high school literature class, where those swear words may relate to the topics we’re reading about or writing about, we need to keep them as is. This is not available to test out yet, but it will be available.
The group feed is pretty similar to the home feed, it’s just drilled down into one particular group. The groups now have this nice topic view where we can see our topics all stacked up. By the way, I love the dark mode option. On the right, you can see a button to easily make a video for that group, within that topic.
Customize those Links
When we send out group codes, the links to them can now be modified. I actually thought you used to be able to do this, but anyhow you can now change the end part of the link, so instead of having just a series of letters and numbers you can make it say your class’ name or whatever to make it easy for your students to get there.
The new playback feature is what I’m possibly most excited about here, because as a teacher when I have all of my students respond to a prompt in Flipgrid, I need to be able to watch those, and I need that to be a smooth viewing process. In the past it was like click this, click play, click this to get to the next video, click play, click this to get to the next video, etc. They’re making it better and better and they have evolved that over the years.
Adding to the vertical stacking of the videos mentioned above, you can also scroll using the up and down buttons, and you can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard. So if you just need to go down to the next video, use the down arrow key, and it will jump you down quickly to get through your students’ videos. They can do that for each other’s videos as well. The comments are right alongside it, so while we’re watching we could be commenting, and that efficiency piece is huge for me. If I don’t have to watch the whole two minute video before I start commenting that’s going to save me maybe 30 seconds per kid, so it’s a really nice feature.
Closed captions are automated in Flip by teachers or the group manager, and whoever led the group used to be able to edit those closed captions.Students could not edit their own captions, but now teachers and students will be able to edit.
You can now be a member within the groups. There’s always been something kind of like this but, they’re really ramping it up. Now I can approve who’s in my group, I can remove people from the group, I can add and invite people to the group, I can block people from the group and manage which students or teachers are a part of the group.Flip is adding a search tool, so if I manage a lot of different classes and groups I could use the search to easily find certain types of videos. That’s a nice way for me to find stuff quickly within Flip, sounding again like a social media tool. The camera is going to be getting an upgrade as well. It’s full screen, with no borders and looks really slick, and again, very social media media-like. You’ll see things in the menu that we’re already familiar with; text, drawing, stickers, filters, frames etc. However, with the new camera design there are a few other new features, like a new stock of video backdrops. We’ve been able to add videos in the background of Flip for a while but, now they have a set of really nice looking ones. The background you are looking at with the balls or bubbles, are actually moving back and forth.
Smart stickers will be rolling out too. The girl you are seeing started a video about New Orleans, and Flip brought up all these smart stickers for her to add in; New Orleans City, Louisiana, the population, a description, and things like that. Flip is using Bing, which quickly and easily pulls in pics and facts that relate to the video allowing your students good contextual information to add to their video.
They’ve also added create mode to the camera. Our students have always been able to make videos that didn’t have them on the screen, and were just text. Create mode, really ramps that up and lets kids put in text and things like that while not showing their face.
Localization takes into account where you’re at, or what language your phone is set to, and it will determine what language the app is in. First up is Spanish with other languages coming in the future, so soon your Spanish-speaking students will have access to a Spanish-speaking version of the app.
The last thing I wanted to share is that Flip is bringing in a sign language ASL filter into the camera. It can help you learn ASL, by giving you the letter which you make with your hand, and Flip checks to see if you’re doing it correctly. Alternatively this Twitter video showed a student typing using ASL. She’s making the sign for a lowercase d with her hand, the camera determined it’s a d and it showed the d in the middle of the screen, and added it to the text box up at the top of the screen. Students will also get to use ASL to type, which is really cool for students who are learning sign language.
How’s that for a FLIP News Brief, I mean an EdTech News Brief?
[ Image(s) Source: info.flip.com/blog/product-updates/flip-rebrand-features.html twitter.com/danichmiel/status/1541799298815467520