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Is Flipgrid appropriate for distance scouting?

Hello! In order to maintain social distancing, my Wolf den hasn’t met since the beginning of March. I’ve communicated with my den’s parents via email, but I haven’t tried to hold an online den meeting yet. I have a large and unwieldy den, and I don’t relish the idea of trying to run a Zoom meeting with them.

Some of the scouts in my den have worked on advancements, and I want to give them an opportunity to share what they’ve done. Their school system is using Flipgrid for asynchronous video communication. I think that it might be a good low-stress way for my scouts to post about what they’ve been up to, but I can’t figure out whether it fits the Scouting BSA guidelines for online engagement. Given that it meets the stringent standards of our school district (which doesn’t allow Zoom), I believe it’s safe, but I can’t figure out whether it counts as recording a meeting.

For those of you familiar with Flipgrid, what do you think? And who would I contact to get an official opinion on the matter?

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Hello, I would ask myself is there a way a 2nd Scout Leader can witness our discussions?

Flipgrid has a way to include a second leader in all interactions. It’s easy to have “copilots” who see all the same things that the Flipgrid host does, and also see all of the content generated by the host. Honestly, I think it’s a great fit for managing contact between Scouts and leaders.

That said, it works by recording videos. Regardless of how safe and secure it is as an application, it doesn’t meet the Scouting BSA guidelines, which are very clear about “no recording.” I wish there was a way to get Scouting BSA to look at this app specifically, as I think that it’s safe and appropriate.

Because it does not meet the current guidelines, I will not be using it. Bummer. I really want to interact with my den, but I don’t want to have to use Teams or Zoom. 2nd graders and video conferencing really don’t fit well together.

I guess we’ll figure it out eventually.

We are looking at Flipgrid because my assistant Den leader is a public school educator in PA where they are using it. Flipgrid has a parental consent form that could be modified for Scouts and include commonsense mandatory guidelines such as the parent must be present when making and sending a video. On the Den leader end there would be a properly credentialed leader and assistant/co-pilot to receive the short videos. Other controls can be placed on the platform to limit comments and content. With those controls in place on the sending and receiving ends, I’m wondering if recording is still an issue?

My pack is unwilling to step into a gray area regarding recording. I agree that Flipgrid is doing everything else right. I’m particularly interested in the product because it got a clean review from our school district (and many other products did not).

How do we get Scouting BSA to review Flipgrid’s setup and give a ruling based on that review? The blanket ban on recording is understandable, but I feel like there are enough safeties in place to make Flipgrid a reasonable exception. That said, until someone with more authority than me looks at it, I don’t feel like I can use it.

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it is BSA Legal - and good luck with that LOL

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I would recommend asking your local council.

Do you know if BSA has made an announcement regarding Flipgrid and/or what is the best way to confirm that with BSA?Thank you.

Robert,

I have not seen any comments from the BSA regarding specific tools.

The only statement I have seen regarding recording is in Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities:

  • Do not record online activities/meetings that include youth participants.
  • Recording of online activities that only involve adults is subject to local council legal review and approval. Check with your local council for guidance.
    • Call recording is subject to various legal requirements under U.S. law and the laws of individual states, some of which require all parties to a call consent to recording.
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Our local guidance has been “don’t do it, we don’t want to work the legal side.”

We have a Troop of 80+ Boys. We have been using Zoom for our meetings which regularly has over 80+ scouts and leaders every meeting. We do not record. We use a waiting room and will not admit anyone we do not recognize so patrol leaders make sure they have their boys “use” names in advance. If you are not meeting remotely, you are doing your scouts a disservice. At this time of quarantine, any engagement with scouts is a welcome relief for them and their parents.

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I understand how the current rules about recording are written. We are doing Zoom, which has been good, but there are some inherent limitations. First, it’s limited to 30 minutes for our Pack. Scout to Scout and Leader interactions, as they take place in normal Den meetings, is much different on Zoom. With proper safeguards, the concept of Flipgrid is to give the Scouts another, optional, platform to share what they are working on or doing, another way to interact in a fun and constructive way. It also provides flexibility for the parent and Scout to “work” on adventures in their own time schedule. Hopefully, BSA is evaluating some additional technology or video programs, whether it’s Flipgrid or not, to augment Zoom.

Kathleen,

Hopefully, what has happened worldwide in the past few months, will lead to an open-dialogue of needed change. I taught middle school for nearly 20 years, and am now working behind-the-scenes in academic technology for a medical university. Zoom is actually a great deal less secure than applications such as FlipGrid. While both are not HIPPA or FERPA compliant, FlipGrid ONLY allows for authenticated and secured access. The only way that FlipGrid could be “Zoom bombed” would be if someone, somehow, added a stranger and verified their email with the teacher/host.

FlipGrid is used extensively in both K-12 and higher education due to these safety guards. In addition, young people are familiar with the technology as it can be tailored for younger users. Speaking from a technology security background, hopefully Scouts BSA will look into FlipGrid and similar platforms over Zoom (which has improved its security, albeit only after the kinks in the system were exploited).

I wish I could provide a better answer. Personally, I’d prefer to use FlipGrid for Scouting, simply because it’s simple to use, it’s relatively secure, and recorded videos can’t be disseminated without approval. In addition, you can add co-teachers to accounts so that safeguards related to Scouting could be enforced. Our pack hasn’t used FlipGrid simply because we are TINY, but I can really see the benefits for larger packs and dens! Good luck and stay safe!

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