Today our 4th graders had the chance to Skype with Charlie Miller and the rest of the Flipgrid team in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This was the conclusion of the explorers project that 4th grade students have worked on for the past few weeks. As part of the project, we encouraged people around the world to watch our Flipgrid videos and vote on whether explorers were heroes or villains.
The team congratulated our students on their hard work on this project and also took questions and suggestions from students. Several 4th graders stepped to the microphone and shared suggestions such as:
- Extending the 90 second time limit by offering a choice of time limits
- Allowing you to categorize your video with tags
Other students shared what they liked about Flipgrid such as:
- the ability to watch other people’s videos before making your own
- the like button
- being able to film your video again if you weren’t happy with it
Since this Skype came the week after our hour of code lessons, it was also a great time to hear about how an app was developed. It sounded like developing an app is a much longer process that developing a website because in one of the student questions we learned that the app took about 6 months to create while the website took 2 really long weekends. We also heard how an app is never really done because you are always trying to make it better. I loved how this connected both with our hour of code sessions but also to other areas such as writing instruction. Students also learned about how the name Flipgrid was chosen since the videos are on a grid and they flip when you play them, but they also heard other considerations that go into a name such as web domain registration and what is actually available.
One of the most fun parts of the Skype was the announcement of awards. Several students received awards for Excellence in Writing, Shout-outs from authors, and Global Persuader awards. I sent these names to the Flipgrid team and they took turns calling out student names as I handed out the certificates. Students had fun giving silent cheers for their classmates as awards were handed out.
I also took time to share with the students the results of all of the voting that had taken place for their project. It was interesting to see their reactions as they heard that Christopher Columbus was the only explorer voted to be a villain.
Just for fun, we closed out our Skype with a Christmas singalong of Rudolph. Luke performed on the guitar and we belted out our best Rudolph even through the time delay on Skype. It may not have sounded like it was together, but it was still fun.
Thank you to the entire Flipgrid team for creating a tool that has helped our student voices to reach a global audience, and thank you for taking time to celebrate with us.