15+ Tools for Student Voice

In episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape PodcastMike Mohammad joined me for a chit-chat.  One of the topics that we discussed was student voice.  I posed the question, “How can educators provide opportunities for student voice?

Mike promptly made the distinction between student voice and student choice.  While both are powerful things to leverage in the classroom, they are very different (though we often lump them together, as Mike pointed out).

I think that educators’ definitions for the term student voice are inconsistent – some seem to believe that it simply means
– hearing each student’s answer or thinking
– while others believe that it means empowering the students to have a voice in some (or all!) aspects of their education.

Mike made it clear in his response that he subscribes to the 2nd “definition” of student voice.  His response fits with the description that Edutopia usesstudent voice involves letting “students’ input and expertise … help shape their classroom, their school, and ultimately their own learning and growth.”

I definitely believe that that is the type of student voice that we want to strive for.  In a recent #EduDuctTape chat, educators shared their favorite tool for empowering student voice.  It’s important to note that simply using the tool doesn’t provide opportunity for or empowerment of student voice.  It’s all about how you use it.

Here are some of their responses:

Continue reading 15+ Tools for Student Voice

#EduDuctTape Podcast 028

In the fifth episode of Season 2, I talk with Mike Mohammad about PearDeck, Flipgrid, NearPod, The Answer Pad, Formative, Classkick, Seesaw, Google Sites, student voice, learner profiles, digital portfolios & a wardrobe malfunction.

Mike Mohammad Episode Promo

FlipGrid One vs. Recap

(Note: This is as of 2/12/18 – I fully expect this to change in the future, as these 2 companies will likely continue adding features)

“I want my students to record their opinion and then respond to each other in writing.  FlipGrid or Recap?
“I want my kiddos to post videos recorded in Screencastify.  FlipGrid or Recap?
“I want to be able to play the students’ videos all together in one string.  FlipGrid or Recap?

In my role as a technology integration coach, I hear a lot of these questions.  So I decided that I needed to sit down and figure out when to use each.

First up, a disclaimer – FlipGrid Classroom (their paid service) dominates here. If you’ve got access to that, there’s not a whole lot that Recap offers that is better than it.  For this post, we’re just talking about the free versions (FlipGrid One and Recap).

When to use . . .


  • If you want students to reply to each other (text only).  Only FlipGrid Classroomthe paid version, allows students to leave video replies to each other’s videos.  So, for free, there’s only one tool that allows any kind of responses.  It’s Recap.  (Note: FlipGrid Classroom doesn’t allow text responses either – so if that’s a priority for, Recap is still your choice).
  • If you want to play all videos with one click.  If you want to be able to click play and string together all of your students responses, Recap is the tool for you.  It’s nice if you want to show all of the responses on the projector.  (Note: FlipGrid Classroom doesn’t do this either).
  • It’s a priority for you to have a separate space for each class.  FlipGrid One only gives you one grid, though it can have unlimited topics.  You can always use one topic for each of your class periods, but if you want to keep responses from one class private from the other classes, this is problematic.  Recap, however, allows you to have unlimited queues and, therefore, keep your classes separate.
  • You need a variety of time limit options.  FlipGrid Classroom offers plenty of time limit options, but FlipGrid One only offers 15 seconds & 90 seconds.  Recap lets you choose between 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 2 minutes & 5 minutes.


FlipGrid One:

  • If you need to “screen” student responses before peers see them.  With both tools, you can delete videos from the feed.  With FlipGrid’s moderator option, you can set it so that videos have to receive your approval before making it to the public grid.
  • If you want to include multimedia other than webcam video in prompt (YouTube videos, GIFs, images, links, etc.).  Recap only allows webcam videos, unless you use one of their “Journeys,” which don’t allow you to gather video responses from your students anyhow.
  • If you want students to upload a video (i.e., recorded in Screencastify).  I think this opens up a lot of options!  Here are 2 posts about one option (1 and 2).
  • If need to give co-teacher access.  This is a new feature.  Nice for those co-taught classrooms!
  • If you want to embed your grid.  Want to embed a grid on your website or in your LMS?  Can’t do that with Recap, but you can with FlipGrid.

There are a few others things that one has that the other doesn’t, but these are the big ones in my book.  Did I miss anything?  Leave it in the comments below your reach out to me on Twitter (@JakeMillerTech) or by email (JakeMillerTech@gmail.com).

The Ultimate App Smash Lesson


Recently, I was fortunate to be a guest on the awesome Google Teacher Tribe Podcast.  Not only are Matt & Kasey rockstars, but their show is my favorite education podcast.  It was an honor and a blast.

It’s a tradition on the show for the guest to create a lesson plan that listeners can use.  I chose to take a few ideas that I’ve posted about here and combine them into the Ultimate App Smash Lesson.  The lesson combines #StopMotionSlides, Screencastify & FlipGrid.  It can be used with any just about any content and is appropriate in most grades, starting in around 3rd grade.

You can find the lesson at bit.ly/ultimateappsmash.  I hope you enjoy it . . . and I’d love to see some of what your kiddos create when you use it!

Screencastify to FlipGrid

This post by Meghan Zigmund calls App Smashing “The art of imaginatively using multiple apps to create an enhanced project.”

Two of my favorite edtech tools right now are Screencastify and FlipGrid.  One missing feature in Screencastify is an easy platform for students seeing each other’s recordings.  One missing feature in FlipGrid is including screen recordings, rather than just webcam recordings.

Enter App Smashing.  On a Chromebook, it’s pretty easy to record in Screencastify and then post in FlipGrid.  Check out how in the GIF below.  After the GIF, check out a list of possible applications of this.  (Did I leave something out? Feel free to share it in the comments or on Twitter!)

Screencastify to FlipGrid Animation

Tons of ideas for how to use this . . .

  • Narrate Google Slides, like the example above.
  • Show how to do something on the computer.
  • Share a piece of writing in Google Docs, like a poem.
  • Share and explain a Scratch project.
  • Show off a #StopMotionSlides video.
  • Have multiple students give feedback on 1 writing project

NOTE: If you’re not on a Chromebook, you’ll likely need to download your video from Screencastify (or Google Drive) before uploading it to FlipGrid.

Trying out FlipGrid

After seeing Amy Roediger‘s post about FlipGrid, I had to try it.

FlipGrid is a platform where (1) teacher poses a prompt or question, (2) students access that “grid” with a code, (3) students record their response, (4) students view each other’s responses and (5) students can comment on or like classmate’s response(s).

Amy’s example of the students showing, describing and explaining Chemistry lab experiments/demonstrations was phenomenal.  On her first attempt out of the gate, she went above and beyond the “record a video response” format.

So, I’m getting in on the action.  At this link, you’ll see a prompt from me.  Hopefully, you’ll also see other professionals’ responses.  And, even more hopefully (if that makes sense), you’ll record you response.  I can’t want to hear what you share!!