Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers

Flipgrid is one tech tool I can’t imagine teaching without. As an instrumental music teacher I have found countless ways to use Flipgrid in my classroom, and with the new updates just released on August 1st, I have even more ideas for the upcoming school year!

If you haven’t read my original blog posts about using Flipgrid in music, I recommend starting there. It’s a good idea to understand the basics before jumping in to all the new awesomeness available.

Features for Teachers

From a teacher’s perspective, the grid set-up has changed little except for a re-designed website to streamline the process. You can now link additional media resources such as Kahoot, Nearpod, and Wakelet to topics. The ability for students to “Like” videos is turned off as a default, but can be turned on at the teacher’s discretion.

Topics are visible through a drop-down menu

One big difference comes from the grid view. When students view a grid, now all topics are visible through a drop-down menu at the top of the page. This makes it easy for students to move between topics.

Another thing that will be a great help is the ability to batch actions in the teacher dashboard. Previously an action like deleting a video, downloading a video, or moving videos to another topic or Mix Tape had to happen one video at a time. This could get time consuming. Now teachers can select multiple videos from one topic and apply that action to all of them. This will be a huge timesaver!

If you have never checked out the Mix Tape feature, be sure to do that. Mix Tapes allow you to compile videos from any of your grids into one place and share the videos with an outside audience. I used the Mix Tape feature last school year when the students created welcome videos before our Spring Concert. I compiled the videos into a Mix Tape and shared the link with parents. The videos were only accessible via the link, and parents could not view any of our other Flipgrid work. It was perfect!

The Disco Library

The Disco Library has also received some updates, making it even more user friendly and valuable. In the Disco Library (Discovery Library) you will find topic templates created by other Flipgrid users that you can easily add to your own grid and customize. Some new updates include:

  • #FlipgridWeekly30 – Each week 30 topics with the most engagement and usage will be featured.
  • Teachers now can add topics from the Disco Library to a “My Favs” list to use or reference at a later time.
  • Teachers can share direct links to their own Disco Library topics OR their Favs list. For example, here’s the link to the Disco Library topics I have added: Theresa Ducassoux’s Disco Library
Theresa's Disco Library

Be sure to check out the Disco Library, as there are many topics that have been added by music teachers, for music teachers!

Shorts Camera

The Shorts Camera has added some amazing features to the Flipgrid experience without making it more complicated to use. The simplicity is amazing! With the new Shorts Camera the following options are now possible:

  • Trim and rearrange video clips, or upload videos from your device
  • Whiteboard mode allows for writing on the screen as you record
  • Overlay photos, emojis, and text onto your video
  • Add filters to your video – in my opinion these filters are much more reasonable than other apps out there and create a great option for shy students
Flipgrid Shorts Camera

Teachers now have access to the Shorts Camera in their admin panel, and can create Shorts videos to share anytime, anywhere! This is a great option if you need to create a quick video to introduce an upcoming project, demonstrate a specific skill or tricky passage in a piece of music, or want to leave a reminder about behavior for a substitute! Here’s a comprehensive guide to all the new camera features: The Creator’s Guide to Flipgrid Camera & Shorts

Flipgrid AR

This might be my favorite of the new Flipgrid features and the one I am most excited to use when school starts in September! AR stands for Augmented Reality, which gives you the ability to place virtual objects in the physical world. Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizard’s Unite are both examples of AR games. With Flipgrid AR, you can now place a Flipgrid video in the physical world using QR codes. Any Flipgrid video QR code that is scanned using the Flipgrid app now automatically becomes an AR video.

Imagine a student’s music composition is hanging on the wall for display and it contains a QR code. You could scan that QR code and a video of that student performing her composition will come to life in front of you! Or maybe you create a bulletin board of composers and place QR codes to videos that students created about each composer, featuring their music. The possibilities are endless! I think this will allow for some great creativity in the music classroom.

What Now?

If you have gotten this far and are still trying to decide how Flipgrid can benefit your music classroom, stop and ask yourself one question. Where do I want to amplify student voice? Find something you do in the music classroom, or something you have always wanted to do, where it’s important that each student shares his or her musical voice. That’s where you can use Flipgrid. Whether you are sharing voices with the class, school, families, or the greater community, it can be done.

Here are a few of my favorite uses for Flipgrid in music classes:

  • Skills assessment – Have students record videos demonstrating specific skills. With the new whiteboard features, students can even show music theory and analysis skills in their videos!
  • How-to videos – Students create videos teaching specific skills, demonstrating their understanding. The new shorts camera now makes it easier than ever to record and re-arrange clips for this type of video.
  • Reflection and goal setting – Have students record videos reflecting on a recent performance or activity or set goals for themselves and the class.
  • Connect your class – Flipgrid makes it easy (and safe) to connect classes. Connect with a teacher whose class is learning similar music and can share progress, or a class who can help virtually “teach” the other. Students learning from and with their peers is incredibly valuable.

If you’re still not sure, check out this Integration Doc: Flipgrid in the Arts

So, what’s your plan? How are you going to use Flipgrid this year with your music classes? Share below in the comments!

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