Updates abound: New features for Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Formative and Kahoot!

Lots of teachers' favorite tech tools get summer upgrades. See what's new in 2017 with Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Formative and Kahoot!

Lots of teachers’ favorite tech tools get summer upgrades. See what’s new in 2017 with Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Formative and Kahoot!

This year is no exception.

In fact, just yesterday (the day before I publish this post), Flipgrid threw a HUGE bash at their Minneapolis headquarters to release the all new Flipgrid and a slew of new features.

It’s a good time to be in education, folks. Technology makes all sorts of meaningful, engaging education accessible to kids everywhere. And every day, it seems, we have more at our disposal.

Here are some of the big updates to some of my favorite tools — Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Seesaw, Formative and Kahoot!:

Flipgrid (flipgrid.com)

I’m writing this post while wearing my Flipgrid Ambassador shirt and sipping coffee from my Flipgrid coffee mug. I’m fully bought in to this tool, which lets students respond to prompts with short video clips. It’s all for good reason, too: Flipgrid was named one of 10 Cool Tool Award product/service winners for 2017 by EdTech Digest.

With a free Flipgrid One account, teachers can pose a question to students. They can respond via video, pausing and continuing recording as much as they’d like, until they’re finished. They can then shoot a cover photo for their response (selfie style) and post it to the topic for others in the class to see.

A paid Flipgrid Classroom account lets students reply to each other’s posts with videos and unlocks advanced teacher features.

Cool summer flipgrid updatesNow, after all the big Flipgrid updates, teachers and students can do the following with a free Flipgrid One account:

  • Add a photo, video, link or attachment to a topic to spark discussion or provide additional resources.
  • Spark a particularly thought-provoking student response into its very own topic, letting students take center stage.
  • Schedule the date you want topics to appear to students.
  • Encourage brevity with 15-second videos. (Paid Flipgrid Classroom users can record up to 5-minute videos for more complex topics.)
  • Save time with the super fast QuickView to provide feedback, watch replies, share and switch between videos in a snap.
  • Provide feedback to students, formerly a paid Flipgrid Classroom feature! (Paid Flipgrid Classroom users can provide custom rubrics for their students.
  • Let students add selfie stickers and draw on their response selfies to personalize them! (This feature can be disabled.)
  • Respond to Flipgrid video responses with emojis: a heart, a light bulb, a thinking smiley, a rocket or a “mic drop” smiley!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more details on Flipgrid’s big updates, check out the following resources:

Looking for ways to use Flipgrid in the classroom? Check out this Ditch That Textbook guest post by Karly Moura on 15+ ways to use it in class!

BONUS: Check out these great sketchnotes from the Flipgrid release party at Flipgrid HQ in Minneapolis! Quote of the night from Flipgrid founder Charlie Miller:

You don’t feature topics. You feature students.

Google Classroom (classroom.google.com)

When Google Classroom makes updates, Google-using teachers sit up and notice. (Then they run to their devices to try them out!)

Untitled drawing (23)This year, for back to school time, Google dropped many, many new updates, including some that teachers have been requesting for a long time.

  • In the Students tap, click a student’s name to see all of his/her assignments, questions and quizzes — as well as status of work, grades, attached files and an icon for private comments. (Directions via Google support) (For me, this one get the  rating. It’s HUGE to have everything for one student in one place!)
  • Move the tiles in your Classes page in whatever order you want. (Directions via Google support) (We’ve been begging for this for a long time! I was in a meeting with teachers about new Google features and there was a thundering round of applause and cheers when this was announced!)
  • Provide decimal numbers as grades instead of just whole numbers.
  • Integrate activities with Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and (soon) Code.org in your Google Classroom assignments.
  • Display your class code in full screen with the click of a mouse! (A little thing that has teachers everywhere saying, “THANK YOU!”.)
  • Batch grading assignments in Google Forms quizzes by grading them question by question. (Directions via Google support)

Check out all of the updates in this post on The Keyword blog: 10 ways we’re making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year.

Formative (goformative.com)

I’ve been a huge fan of Formative for a few years. It’s a great tool that lets you create interactive digital assignments, see students work on them in real time and provide instant feedback. The assignments you create are as unique as you want them to be, with questions, videos, images, text blocks and even a canvas where you can draw a picture for them.

This summer, Formative made a major upgrade, introducing V2: its biggest upgrade to the product since it launched years ago.

cool summer formative updatesHere are some of the big changes and updates in V2:

  • Track student growth on standards across multiple activities. Instead of just seeing how students did on individual activities, you can watch how they’re trending and take action accordingly.
  • Instantly see what is currently assigned to each class from your dashboard. You’ll see a grid of assignments (horizontal) and the classes they’re assigned to (vertical).
  • Choose what happens after a student submits an assignment. You can choose to show students their scores and/or the correct answers. You also have a choice on when those are displayed: immediately, after the session ends, after the student submits the work or decide later.
  • Create student accounts yourself and add them to your class right away. You can even import classes directly from Google Classroom, saving you time. (Formative also gives you the power to view student login info and reset passwords, too.)
  • Choose multiple assignments in Formative and copy, share, move and/or delete all of them at once. This can be a big time saver!
  • A progress bar shows students how far they are through their assignment. And if you choose to return scores to students, the dots in the progress bar change color based on their grade.

Have you tried Formative? If not, now’s a great time!

Looking for ideas for using Formative? Check out this post: 20 ways to use Formative for awesome assessment

Kahoot! (kahoot.com)

cool summer kahoot updatesOver the last several years, Kahoot! has become a classroom staple all over the U.S. and the world. Every time I present to teachers on tech integration, I’ll ask how many know about Kahoot! and almost every hand goes up every time!

  • They have a new home base! Instead of using the old getkahoot.com, you can now access Kahoot! via kahoot.com. (Try it!)
  • The Explore section of the site features some model uses of Kahoot! to follow. Check out what other educators are doing with Kahoot! for new ideas. (There are seven quizzes created by National Geographic on that page!)
  • A mobile app is being developed to let students play Kahoot! games on their own at any time. No more need to set it up in class and have everyone present! (As of publication of this post, the sign-up for beta testers of the mobile app was still available here.)
  • The jumble game mode isn’t brand new, but it’s a newer feature. Instead of choosing an answer from four options, participants put four choices in order to submit their answer. It could be chronological order, sequence or anything else you decide. Jumble questions can’t be mixed with multiple choice questions … you create a game with one or the other.
  • A neat idea shared by teacher Carol Salva on the Kahoot! blog: selfie Kahoot!s. Check the idea out here. 

Looking for more ideas for using Kahoot! in the classroom? Check out this post!

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Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

 DateEvent / Event DetailsCity / More Info
+ 01/05/2018
Taylorville CUSDTaylorville, IL
+ 01/08/2018
Princeville CUSDPrinceville, IL
+ 01/26/2018
Erie 1 BOCESWest Seneca, NY
+ 01/29/2018
Jackson R-2 School DistrictJackson, MO
+ 02/02/2018
California League of Schools (DBC)Monterey, CA
+ 02/07/2018
Ditch That Homework Workshop (Region 8 ESC)Fort Wayne, IN
 Venue:The Summit
1025 W. Rudisill Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46807
Public Event
+ 02/08/2018
Ditch That Homework WorkshopMishawaka, IN
 Venue:Northern Indiana Educational Service Center (NIESC)
56535 Magnetic Drive
Mishawaka, IN 46545
Public Event
+ 03/07/2018
Delaware Association of School Admin2 Skype Presos
+ 03/16/2018
Lake Shore Central SchoolAngola, NY
+ 06/21/2018
The Suite Life ConferenceWashington, IN
+ 08/09/2018
St. Joseph Grade SchoolSouth Bend, IN
+ 08/15/2018
St. Anthony de Padua Catholic SchoolSouth Bend, IN