I first heard about Flipgrid back when it was released, but I never got around to using it! I guess I was to busy to find carve out the time to investigate it further. Ironically, having now used it today, it is blisteringly easy to use and it has bags of potential for empowering learning in any environment where you can share ideas. I just loved recording a video and taking 5 takes to do so. It really made me think about
- What was I saying?
- How I was saying it?
- How might it be interpreted?
- How will the audience react?
- Could my audience hear my voice over my shuffling flip flops or the 16 bit sounds of the Shanghai electric bikes!
The best part about Flipgrid is that it is free to use. No pricing plans to look at. No purchase orders are necessary here my friends! It is also so easy to use, that as is stated on Flipgrid marketing, it could be used by pre-k students. All students have to do is:
Flipgrid in the Classroom
I have a plan to use this tomorrow in a Grade 7 Science lesson, that I am co-teaching. The students have to create an infographic based on their understanding of cell types. My job is to teach the students how to use canva to create the infographic.
Before the students enter the (flip)grid they will need a bit of frontloading. I will use a cooperative learning structure (Jigsaw) to first teach about some of the key principles of an infographic. The key design principles being:
Then we will move onto Flipgrid. Students can choose to discuss between 2 and 4 design principles based on the example infographic supplied (the one I created in week 3). After they have uploaded their responses, they can choose to respond to each other to deepen the conversation and learn from each other. After this absolutely vital stage of understanding infographics is complete, will they then begin creating their own infographics. I really do believe, by approaching the learning this way, students will remember not just how to create the infographic, but the design principles as well. And I hope that they will carry this knowledge, skills, and understanding into other parts of their learning.
Unite for Change
The chapter on diversity and social justice serves a wake-up call to us all; particularly agents of which I fit the criteria. But I am not afraid to rock the boat and to look out for those with different needs and abilities to mine. The reading has strengthened my will to do more to understand my students and colleagues, their backgrounds, their lives outside of school, what they are passionate about. As mentioned in my video I will look to the bigger picture as well, whilst not ignoring the smaller day to day things.
Take this scenario as an example. Recently we reviewed magazine covers as part of a design exercise. We focussed on magazines that were written in English and were primarily western relating to the theme. The next time I do this review, students will, of course, be free to review magazines from their home countries; after all, they may be able to relate to this content authentically.
We must unite to make change possible!
Unfortunately, Harro was not talking about 007, when he discusses agents in the Cycle of Socialization. I am a white, middle class, able, 40-year old heterosexual, and under his definition, this is an agent who has access to things only other people (targets?) can dream of. I feel a certain amount of shame being attached to this group, but I want – no need to interrupt the system.
If I am being honest I would say that being part of this group has allowed me to get where I am today. I am an international school teacher, paid a much larger salary than me, peers, teaching in local schools in my host country. I do feel some amount of guilt, which has led me to do service work in the past. Although this is not all based on guilt, I also want to help others who are not as fortunate as I am; and unfortunately, that may mean having been born into an agent group.
This inner feeling of a need to do service led me to teach in Cambodia in 2014; my first experience as a teacher, not teaching in my home country (internationally at least), in a little school in Cambodia.
The school was made up of a long wooden structure, measuring about 4 meters by 12 meters, which was then split up into 3 classrooms. The students, 25 per class, sat at small wooden tables, on little benches resting on the ground below. For air conditioning, we used the breeze, as the gaps because there were no walls – only beams holding the roof up. We taught English there, and the students were split up by ability, not by age; so it was not uncommon to have an 8-year-old and a 13-year-old in the lesson. The students were so happy to learn taught English. They would always turn up on time and be so eager to get started. It was the first time that I truly knew my good fortune. And it was genuinely the first time that I fell in love with teaching.
So how has being part of being an agent group impacted who you are today and how you interact with your colleagues and students? Well it continues to impact me every day. It reminds me that I must do more and be grateful for what I have. It never ceases to prompt me to see things from other peoples’ points of view. It has taught me to be reflective and patient. And it has educated me to see the good in people.
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