Periscope in the Classroom

Post date: Feb 13, 2017 9:33:25 PM

February 13, 2017

Before I get to the main topic of this post, I wanted to introduce this blog as a whole. In my desire to write more and reflect on the things going on in my life, I decided to add this page to my website. Some of these posts will be related to the things I do on a regular basis in the classroom; reflections. Others will be more meditative musings on other things in my life. Either way, it provides you with a chance to stay connected on what drives me to do what I do and write what I write.

I hope you enjoy!

Periscope, for those of you unfamiliar with the app, was developed by Twitter as one of the first widespread platforms for streaming live video. I came across the app a couple of years ago, when it was initially released, and inevitably started to wonder, "How can I use this in my class?"

As a part of my American Government curriculum, scholars need to research a "current event," analyze the multitude of perspectives and biases, and lead an organized, informed discussion/debate in class.

My thought: why keep the audience strictly within the walls of my classroom? Using our school's wifi and my iPhone, I took it upon myself to stream these discussions to the rest of the world, allowing others to listen and comment along with the rest of the class.

Using this tool for a couple of years now, I can say that in my experience, using Periscope has an educational tool has been an overwhelming success:

  • Realizing that they are exposed to greater audience, scholars in my class take it upon themselves to prepare more think thoughtfully about their contributions.
  • Viewers are able to comment through the app, which I can relay to the scholars in class to further and deepen the conversation.
  • Scholars get to listen to outside perspectives that they may not have previously been exposed to.

After each stream, scholars will immediately ask things like, "How many viewers did we get that time?" Some even share these broadcasts with their friends and family, knowing that there may be another perspective worth sharing.

If you are thinking about using this tool in your room, make sure you consider the following:

  1. Be sure your scholars and their families are aware of the broadcast. My scholars sign a permission slip using language from my school district. I have attached a copy at the bottom of this page.
  2. If a scholar does not have permission to participate, I am sure to preview the discussion before I go live so that those scholars in particular get a chance to voice any questions or comments they have on the topic.
  3. Some scholars are given permission to have their voices broadcast, but not their appearance. I give these scholars an easily identifiable object so that I know not to stream their appearance during the broadcast.
  4. On rare occasions, viewers on the app will post vulgar/rude comments. As the broadcaster, you have the power to "tap" their name and block them from the broadcast. This will also retroactively block their comments on replay views.
  5. Be sure to include a clever title to entice more digital participants. I use the hashtag #simmonsdebate and use the debate question to generate interest.

If you would like more information on how to incorporate Periscope into your classroom, contact me and let's chat!

Email: hsimmons@euhsd.org

Twitter: @Mister_Simmons