Using FlipGrid with Canvas

What is Flipgrid?

At its most basic, Flipgrid is a video tool that allows teachers to post “Topics” that are essentially videos with some accompanying text. This is then shared with students, who can be prompted to respond.

The response can be made using the software’s camera to create videos that are then posted to the original Topic. These videos can be recorded as many times as needed before uploading, and can have the addition of emoji, text, stickers, drawings, or custom stickers.

The service works online so it can be accessed via web browser from nearly any device, or using the app, making it good for laptops, tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks, and desktop computers. Flipgrid is free to use and can be accessed using a Microsoft account.

Why use FlipGrid in your Class?

One of the best parts about Flipgrid is the ability to interact using video, like face to face in the real world, but without the pressure of a live classroom. Since students are given the space and time to respond when they’re ready, it makes educational engagement possible even for students who might ordinarily feel left out in class.

The ability to add rich media allows students to be creative and, potentially more importantly, expressive. By adding emoji, text, and stickers, students can engage with class content as they might interact with friends using social media platforms.

This aspect can help students feel less apprehensive and more empowered to express themselves openly, engaging more deeply with the task. Ultimately, that should result in deeper learning and better content recall.

Ideas for engaging with higher education students!

  • Class discussions. Many educators create a Flipgrid discussion prompt for any time they would normally engage their class in a discussion. Flipgrid provides a way for learners to share their ideas and reflections on their own schedule. And it allows educators to see and hear from students who normally would not share in class.

  • Student presentations. In Flipgrid, you control the maximum length of your students videos, anywhere from 15 second elevator pitches to 10 minute presentations. If you would normally devote a full class (or multiple classes) to student presentations, instead create a Flipgrid Topic prompt. If you’d like, you can turn on “Video Moderation” in the Topic settings, so that students will not see each other’s videos until you make have reviewed them.

  • Conduct project overviews and reflection. Ask learners to summarize a class project. Peers and instructors can respond to their videos with feedback and ideas.

  • Field-based learning. When students download the free iOS or Android app, they can document their hands-on learning anytime, anywhere.

  • “Office hours.” Allow students to reach out with questions any time and respond with a video when it’s convenient for you.

How to Set Up and Use FlipGrid as a Teacher in Canvas

Setting up and configuring FlipGrid for use in a Canvas course requires a few steps, but should not take too long, especially once you get used to using FlipGrid.  FlipGrid has a nice handout explaining how to set up and use FlipGrid in Canvas.

It is missing a few things that may come up though: 1) what do you need to do when you roll over your course from one semester to another? 2) what if you have more than one instructor/facilitator, and 3) what if you share your course with someone else to use?

This video walks through setting up and using FlipGrid in Canvas, and it addresses those issues at the end:

But as to those issues about using FlipGrid in Canvas:

  1. When rolling over your Canvas course from one semester to another, go back to each of your FlipGrid assignments and create a new grid to use.
  2. If you have more than one instructor/facilitator, click on the FlipGrid link in the course navigation menu and click on “Add CoPilot” to add another person who can administer the FlipGrid grids in the course.
  3. If someone else copies your Canvas course or if you import and use a Canvas course that someone else created and which uses FlipGrid, go to Settings -> Apps -> View App Configurations, and enter your own FlipGrid consumer key and shared secret as explained in the handout and video above.  Then go to each FlipGrid assignment and create a grid to use.

How to Use FlipGrid as a Student in Canvas

If students do use FlipGrid with a laptop or computer, they may get errors that Flash is required.  Here are instructions on how to enable Flash in Chrome and enable Flash in Firefox.

Or students can participate with their smartphone and the Canvas Student app (AndroidApple) and FlipGrid app (AndroidApple) installed:

Other FlipGrid Options: Captions and Email Notifications

Captions are not enabled by default in FlipGrid, and by default you will get an email notification every time a student posts a video.

To enable captions (which I recommend), click on the FlipGrid link in your course navigation menu, then click the pencil icon, scroll down, and toggle on the “Captions” option.

If you wish to turn off email notifications, toggle off the “Notify Me” option.