Microsoft has announced the acquisition of
Flipgrid, an education video discussion platform boasting
more than 20 million teachers and students from
180 countries around the world.
Within the announcement the company has stated it will make
Flipgrid free for schools in the same way it provides
Office 365 education software, as well as offer partial refunds to existing subscribers.
At a basic level, Flipgrid offers communication between teachers and students through short video clips. Users create a
‘grid’ of their classroom or community and set a few topics for discussion. Other users can then continue the dialogue by sharing a short video response. Frequent video creators are awarded with badges and other perks, which also adds an incentive to share questions and answers. By using a simple and straightforward Android and iOS App, the user experience is familiar to anyone who has experience with most other popular social networks applications.
Having launched in its current form less than a year ago after an initial startup at the University of Minnesota in 2015, Flipgrid has already gained considerable recognition and traction as a valuable learning tool for everyone from pre-schoolers to PhD students. Microsoft Education Corporate Vice President
Eran Megiddo said:
“We’re thrilled to see the impact Flipgrid has had in social learning thus far and look forward to helping them continue as part of the Microsoft family. We’re diligently committed to making sure their platform and products continue to work across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems to benefit students and teachers everywhere.”
Microsoft sees its mission in the education space to go beyond traditional curricula and help students and teachers form emotional and social skills, citing recent research that such ‘life-ready’ abilities will be key to 30-40% of the occupations experiencing the fastest growth. Arcadia Unified School District
Educator Lucretia Anton said:
“Flipgrid helps students develop communication skills, increase self-awareness and grow from failure, setting them up to contribute positively to the world.”
The announcement by Microsoft has generated a great deal of excitement and interest across social media, particularly with the news that Flipgrid will become completely free. On Twitter, the hashtag
#FlipgridFever trended with ideas from educators and students on how the move may mean an end to textbooks and other traditional education methods. Whether Google, which is already popular in schools due to its budget Chromebooks and cloud-based products, is as keen is not yet known.
So far, Microsoft plans to allow Flipgrid to retain its own culture, brand and teams, while moving its architecture to improve compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
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