Education Opinion

Periscope vs. Meerkat for Education

By Starr Sackstein — April 07, 2015 3 min read
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When we share our learning, anything is possible. Too often people don’t even realize what happens in other classrooms and therefore don’t know the possibilities.

That’s why we must put our authentic experiences out there.

In a continued to effort to share the magic that often happens in our learning space, I’ve been trying out different new streaming apps and after reviewing Meerkat last week, I’ve now had the opportunity to explore Periscope too.

The two apps are extremely similar and I totally understand the draw of Periscope as it made by Twitter and therefore has the advantage of being synced up with your Twitter followers right away.

The ease of use is similar to Meerkat, but honestly, for education purposes, I think I like Meerkat better and here’s why:

  • I like the screen output better on Meerkat. I like that the questions and online tweets stay on the screen. One of my biggest complaints with Periscope is that when a viewer tweeted a question, it disappeared from the screen too quickly.
  • Although the users have the option to hide the chat, the chat hides itself once someone writes something (unless I’m doing something wrong... which I could be).
  • Both apps allow the user to see who’s viewing the stream and what I like about Periscope more is that I know all of the viewers. They are people I follow on Twitter or follow me, so there is some rapport with who shows up. On Meerkat, I did have some random people watching which seemed a little odd given the very specific nature of the title I put on the stream.
  • Both apps allow the user to interact using Twitter to make comments, but viewers can communicate with sound, only text. I was able to address the feedback in my class as it came in which was extremely useful. I can see this being a great way for pre-service teachers to interact with mentor teachers.
  • Both apps allow the user to download or save the video after even though the stream doesn’t stay live. On Periscope, I believe you have 24 hours to view it within Periscope TV, so you need an account. Meerkat doesn’t have this option that I noticed. The user can save their stream though on their camera roll from both apps.
  • Periscope automatically gives you notifications unless you shut them off. My advice, is to shut it off. It is extremely disruptive to have your phone buzzing all of the time someone is starting a new live stream. I learned this the hard way.

Streaming apps have the potential of changing education for the better. These tools can instantly bring outsiders into your space remotely and for new teachers who are looking to visit classrooms but physically can’t, this is a real option.

One of the positives I had with Periscope was that I was able to sent a note out to my followers that I would be streaming live at a certain time and actually invited a few of my friends to watch. Knowing that people would be watching also gave me the chance to get some feedback about how it looked and sounded.

Unfortunately, when I did the live stream with Meerkat, no one was watching to provide this valuable data.

Here’s what Mark Barnes shared after watching my AP Literature and Composition Class live:

Ultimately, I think it is a matter of preference. I’d probably use them both but if more of my followers are using Periscope, then that might sway me there, even if I do like the look of Meerkat better.

As these new technologies become more available and main stream, educators need to continue to try them on and decide what works best for them and their students. Don’t think there is any one, cure all solution for everyone, we just have to know what like and what we’re trying to do and then use it to its fullest potential.

At the end of the day, it is all about the students and improving their learning experiences, so what have you tried lately to improve the learning in your space? Would love to hear your suggestions and experiences. Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.