Mystery Skype has been a fad for quite some time for those taking risks within innovative classrooms. However, I found it difficult to coordinate time zones between collaborating classrooms and make it work. Working with schools from different continents was very challenging and almost impossible for me.
I admit, I was fortunate to make it over the timezone hurdle.
Now, I have a permanent solution — Flip Grid.
I heard about the application when attending the ACSD Leaders 2 Leaders Conference in Washington, DC this past summer. A colleague of mine highly recommended it if I was willing to try something different.
Getting my feet wet, I decided to implement it into an undergraduate course I am teaching at the university level. Wanting to go beyond the traditional discussion board, I switched out half the discussion board questions into Flip Grid questions. I modeled the process for my 13th graders and received some positive feedback. Here is one example from my undergraduate class.
My next step was bringing in messages from guest speakers using Flip Grid for the undergraduate course. I utilized my PLN via Twitter and Voxer and asked some folks to answer some questions to give my students more insight beside my own. They were amazed how big my PLN was because I was consistently adding more people into the discussion each week. I hope modeling being a connected educator rubs off on them as they enter the field of education. Shown below is colleague and fellow Salisbury University alum Eric Sheninger giving a piece of advice to my undergraduate students.
Middle School Classroom
Building up great confidence, it was time to go on the road with Flip Grid in middle school fashion.
I am an active participant in Global Read Aloud 2016, an international collaboration project where students discuss the same piece of literature. I was fortunate to find a West Coast partner classroom for the book we are reading. In our conversations via Twitter and e-mail, we wanted to introduce our students to one another. We decided to tackle a list of questions (shown below) and have students make short 90-second or less responses to the questions. Over the course of two days each class shared about their area/community without mentioning their name.
- Do you live near any significant bodies of water?
- Do you live near any interesting landforms or geographic features?
- Do you live near any large cities?
- Do you live near any popular vacation/recreational destinations?
- How far are you from your state capitol?
- Do you live near any major sports franchises?
- Is your school named after anyone or anything notable?
- What is your school mascot?
- What year did your school open?
- Do you live near any major Colleges or Universities?
After completion, each class got to review the others clues to determine where they were located. I’ll admit, it took some time since there were so many schools in the highly populated San Francisco Bay area, where our partner is located, but my #PocomokeScholars were able to play the role of detective to solve the mystery.
As we connect over the next few weeks, we now have a personal relationship built with the other class.
Now onto discussing challenging literature with our new partner! Thanks Flip Grid.
Brian Cook, Ed.D.