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Microsoft Ups Their EdTech Game with Acquisition of Flipgrid

This past Monday, Microsoft announced that they have acquired Flipgrid, a video discussion platform that’s said to be used by more than 20 million teachers and students across 150 countries. The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

The Minneapolis-based startup was founded in 2014 by Dr. Charlie Miller, Jim Leslie and Phil Soran who together envisioned a world where educators could change the narrative of video in the classroom, from a passive experience to a tool that empowers and amplifies every student’s voice.

Eran Megiddo, CVP at Microsoft commented on the news to say “We’re thrilled to see the impact Flipgrid has had in social learning thus far and look forward to helping them continue to thrive 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. To bring the power of video-based social learning to everyone, we’ll be making Flipgrid free for all educators and offering prorated refunds to everyone who has purchased a subscription from Flipgrid in the last year."

Not only did Megiddo comment on the news but also Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft was very excited to announce the acquisition in a short video clip:

 

How Flipgrid will fit into Microsoft’s overall edtech play remains to be seen, though the company has already integrated the app into Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education. As with its Office 365 Education offering, the company will be making the app free for schools. Those who already purchased an account, meanwhile, will be getting a refund.

A round of updates will be coming to the app shortly as well. Microsoft will be apparently unveiling those at Flipgrid’s education conference in early April 2019.
 

Flipgrid Platform Overview

Having more than 20 million teachers and students across 150 countries, the video platform empowers teachers, students and families to communicate all across the world promoting active, social learning in classrooms and enterprises.

Since this is the first time Flipgrid has made an appearance on CMS-Connected, I’d like to give our readers a glimpse into some background information on the vendor and its offerings:

Price: Free and Paid versions
Platform: Website
Mobile Application: Yes
Mobile App Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Languages: English
Recommended grades: 6–12

  • Easy to use: Create a Grid - that’s your classroom or community. Add a Topic or two to spark the discussion. Your students share short video responses to ignite a dialogue.

  • Response Format: Teachers post discussion questions to a class Grid, and students respond with short, recorded videos. Students can add a title, one linked file, and stickers to their videos. 

  • Video Sharing with Families: teachers can share student videos with families through a private link. Family members can view the teacher's topic prompt, watch their student’s response, and download the video. There's even an option to invite family members to participate in Grids, the discussion-style questions. 

  • Student Interaction: Flipgrid's class Grid functions as a message board where students can watch their peers' video responses as they appear in a shared display. Flipgrid emphasizes social features, with student-to-student replies and custom reactions, similar to Instagram and Snapchat. 

  • Teacher Support: Flipgrid provides extensive teacher tools, from instructional videos to full walk-throughs of how to use the site for a variety of subject areas (including STEAM and physical education). Teachers can also use Flipgrid's Topic Discovery Library and filter by subject and age to search thousands of Topic templates shared by other educators.

  • LMS Integrations: custom integrations with Canvas and Microsoft Teams apps and can embed videos into Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo, WordPress and more. 

  • Pricing: Three pricing levels, ranging from free to $200 per year. The free version includes one Grid with limited features, and the two paid levels for classrooms offer unlimited Grids and many more features.

  • Privacy: Flipgrid prides themselves being a part of the Student Privacy Pledge and the European Union Privacy Shield Framework.

Alongside my research, I stumbled upon a review on Common Sense Education from a teacher sharing her personal thoughts on Flipgrid:
 
“Flipgrid can be used in any situation in which you want to hear from students: their responses to a reading, video or discussion; their answers to a content question; their reflections on the completion of an activity or project; their thoughts on a personal topic as part of an advisor program. The user interface is very straightforward for both teacher and student. The teacher creates a grid (probably one for each class) and then posts a question. Students go to the question, take a photo of themselves, and then video record their response to the question. They can view others' responses and "like" them if they choose. There are very clear, specific instructions on the support page, but Flipgrid is so intuitive your students will probably not need it.” 

Speaking of Digital Strategy in Education

While attending Acquia Engage 2017 in October, our Media reporter Laura Myers, was noticing a trend with customers she was speaking with were from the EDU sector, using the Acquia Platform to truly individualize the student experience “Was it a coincidence, or was Acquia a commonly used platform in this vertical, and if so, why?”

Upon her investigation, she was fortunate enough to sit down with Mike FiteWebmaster at the College of Southern Nevada as he discussed how not only their organization but how many other colleges and universities are understanding the impact of their digital presence has on their market of students.

“Acquia was a great fit for them because they not only offered the support they were looking for from a vendor, but he felt the passion they have for their own students, was reflected in Acquia’s passion to bring the needs on their internal digital team to life within the platform.”

“One of their needs, was to offer their students a truly individualized experience, which is enabled through the use of Acquia Lift. As Mike explains in our interview, “We wanted to give each student their own interaction”, but further to that, they wanted to empower students with information not only for the current time period but also nurture their transformation towards their career path goals, show them what is available and in terms of advising especially, feed them information that would get them talking to somebody in person.”

Click here to watch the full interview.

Ending Notes

A few weeks ago, I highlighted the story of Microsoft acquiring the world’s leading open-sourced software development platform GitHub.

The $7.5 billion GitHub acquisition did not trail far behind from the $8.5 billion Skype acquisition in 2011 and Microsoft’s largest acquisition, LinkedIn for $28.1 billion in 2016.

Will Microsoft’s acquisition sprees continue for the remainder of 2018 or will there be signs of slowing down? Stay tuned here on CMS-Connected!




 
Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMS-Connected. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world.