Getting Started With Periscope In The Classroom


Getting Started With Periscope In The Classroom

by Amy Arbogash and Stephanie Rudolph

Today’s teachers are finding new and better ways to engage their students in the learning that goes on in classrooms. One of the ways to stay relevant is to use technology to their advantage. It connects to the world that our students live in and brings high levels of interest. The connected world is where our students live and finding ways for learning to take place in avenues like social media is a way for our students to relate to our curriculum.

But like most technology, social media is often uncharted territory for teachers. Something they may or may not use themselves, social media has become a technology that many fear. It’s easy to see why. What you post is out there for everyone to see. People can be mean. People can be rude. People can be inappropriate. But hiding is even worse. Pretending like it doesn’t exist does us no good.

Social media, and being out on the internet for all to see, is where our students reside. We owe it to them to not only show the good side of technology, the internet, and social media, but we need to model how to act, behave, and most importantly, deal with it. Just like in real life, we all encounter situations we have to deal with. More and more, we find ourselves having to deal with situations that occur far from us, yet right are right in our face by means of technology. Utilizing technology in education, specifically social media, affords us the ability to teach our students model behavior.

So how can we as teachers use social media to engage our students in the curriculum and at the same time teach them best practices, how to embrace the good,  and deal with the bad? The first step is to use it! By taking a risk and trying something new, you are already modeling for your students an important 21st Century skill. Risk taking builds confidence, provides learning situations, and leads to greater opportunities.

Next you must choose a tool that fits best for what your classroom needs. You may look at your subject area, the age of your students, and what technology you have. Your goal is to find something that will allow you, your students, and their parents to be collaborative, active, and engaged. Finding something that is relevant the students’ world and that they can relate to is important. And although many social media avenues have gone through their period of trial and error, there are new social medias coming out all the time.


Periscope: Live Video Streaming Over Twitter

One of the more exciting apps that has recently made it’s way onto the social media scene is Periscope. Periscope is a live, interactive video streaming  app which allows users to broadcast media and footage while their followers engage in their content at the same time. When used in the classroom, students are able to connect with the world in real-time and interact with any of the content that is made available to them.

One of the ways Periscope can be used to enhance a lesson or unit is with a teacher-directed Periscope. Inviting students to interact in this way now allows for personalizing what is needed from each individual at that very moment. When creating content with a screencast program, teachers must already anticipate the needs of their class. With Periscope, teachers can broadcast content live to their students with the ability to tailor the video on the spot in response to student questions and conversations. Flipping a lesson, re-teaching a strategy, or communicating classroom information all in real-time now gives the teacher the power to easily personalize instruction through the interactivity of this app. Students on the other hand, now have the power to pick the path of their own learning.

An example of a way we have incorporated Periscope into an English Language Arts Classroom is through the use of teacher-directed content. For example, our students were recently struggling with some grammar concepts presented in class. Instead of taking another day to review and reteach the content, we broadcasted a Periscope to address the challenges and struggles we noticed. As we walked through the lesson, students were able to actively participate by asking questions and commenting on the material to ensure understanding. If students were unable to view the Periscope at the set time, it was uploaded to YouTube after the broadcast for further viewing making it easily accessible to watch at a later time or rewatch for further understanding.

Aside from teacher-directed content, students can now quickly connect with other parts of the world, view world news in real-time, or hear from another individual, author or celebrity about an important message that may have otherwise been out of reach. Students can visit places they have never been before by joining a virtual field trip and they can make powerful connections with other students across the globe. With all of the possibilities surrounding this app, Periscope truly opens the virtual doors to the world around us and helps to provide students with a more meaningful, personalized classroom experience.   

How Periscope Is Different

Periscope undoubtedly sets itself apart  from other video-recording apps such as Google Hangout and Skype. While these programs do allow for interactivity, drawbacks such as limiting the number of viewers can cause major barriers. Some of these programs also require a defined location where all viewers gather if more than one person wants to join the broadcast. Students who are watching a Periscope can do so from any location, and the app will not restrict the number of participants or limit student interactions like its counterparts. Periscope allows for live interaction instead of videotaping, anytime, anywhere, with any number of viewers.

Though there are many different advantages of using Periscope in the classroom, there are some features that should be taken into consideration before implementing this app. For example, users of Periscope will access the app through their own Twitter accounts. As a teacher it will be important to address proper social media etiquette with students such as appropriate usernames, limited profiles, and other such safety precautions. Teachers will also want to have students turn off their location settings when accessing the Periscope app for added security.

It is also important to note that Periscope videos will only be available for 24 hours after their live broadcast. If an educator wants to create their own Periscope for students and still have it available at a later date, he or she must download their video after broadcasting, and upload it to another platform for future viewing.  Once these features are acknowledged, the use of Periscope in the classroom can transform the way students learn and interact with any content or curriculum. Once these features are acknowledged, the use of Periscope in the classroom can transform the way students learn and interact with any curriculum or content.

Using social media to teach curriculum, model behavior, and connect with students gives you the ability increase engagement, relate to their world, and show students that it’s ok to take a risk and try something new. A simple tool like Periscope has the ability to give a voice to a shy student, a personalized learning path to those who need it, and a fresh teaching strategy for our students. Being teachers during a very transformative time in education, we need to leverage the technology we have to make us not just more efficient, but also more effective. And social media has the power to do just that.

Getting Started With Periscope In The Classroom