Flipgrid flips the engagement switch to “ON” in French Immersion

One fifth of the French Immersion curriculum is comprised of “Production orale.” This is the ability to produce oral language. Many students harbor feelings of anxiety toward this portion of the curriculum, however, it’s one of the most important components of learning a new language. Oral production of language is how you will primarily use what you’ve learned as a means of interacting with others. Flipgrid takes the intimidation out of oral communication of a second language and allows students to speak to their webcams/Chromebooks, rather than be intimidated by a classroom full of eyes hanging onto their every word.

Flipgrid is a discussion community wherein students interact verbally through brief videos. It gives students a voice and engages them with a number of topics, set up ahead of time by the teacher. Their video responses are laid out in a grid format, which is great for visual learners and very user friendly. It also allows students to respond to one another and build on one another’s points. The catch, as mentioned earlier, is that it’s all done through video/through verbal interactions. Students cannot write to one another, but instead must communicate vocally and use the language they are studying.

One of the reasons Flipgrid works in engaging students is that the videos are limited to 90 seconds. Anything seems less intimidating when you chunk it into 90 second installments. Speaking for a minute and a half is do-able. Also, Flipgrid is stimulating. There are a number of different discussions happening and conversations to engage with. Students have choice without feeling overwhelmed.

I created a locked grid for my classroom, meaning only my students (and their teacher) could access the grid. We had our own access code that allowed them access to the grid. This allowed students who do not have media release permissions to still participate.

One drawback to Flipgrid is that creating an account will give you a “Flipgrid One” account, which means exactly that. You have access to only one grid. Unlimited grids falls under the “Flipgrid Classroom” package, which will cost you $65. In a regular classroom, this may not be worth the money, but in Immersion classrooms, it is worth every cent.

Flipgrid’s value also comes from the fact that it lends itself well to evaluation and assessment. Having a conversation with a student or having a student raise his/her hand in class is good… but there’s no record of it. Flipgrid records and allows you to play back all of your students’ interactions with each other, giving you the chance to evaluate their level of French proficiency, fluidity, pronunciation, etc. I used Flipgrid for my class’ inquiry project, the Potato Olympics. Students worked collaboratively in groups to plan out the opening ceremonies, the events, etc. while still keeping a record for me to see who contributed the most and the least to their group.

Students learned from one another’s ideas, and I’ll admit… I enjoyed being able to make my own video prompts to them as well. My next steps with this tool involve using it with another classroom or school and having the students interact with others who are outside of their comfort zone. I’d like for them to practice their French in authentic situations outside of the school, and Flipgrid allows this without ever having to leave the school.

Final notes:

  • Great for French Immersion 
  • Easy to use/ user friendly
  • Limited account if you don’t pay $65
  • Encourages vocal abilities/verbal communication

  • Flipgrid was recommended to me by my Vice Principal, Ian

                Final grade: A-