Professional Development Opinion

Periscope For Awesome Classroom Sharing

By Starr Sackstein — May 10, 2015 2 min read
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In the beginning, my opinion was different.

The first tries with Meerkat and Periscope, Meerkat was my preferred, but after using Periscope more frequently, it is the clear choice for the educational setting.

(Aside from the function being very similar, its connection with Twitter makes for a seamless transition. Tweeps who follow you and have Periscope, can watch easily and send comments and questions in real-time.)

Recently, I’ve been sharing my classroom more readily, getting feedback and questions from onlookers about what is going on in my classrooms. Students are sharing their learning and I’m excited by the possibilities.

Transparency is important in the classroom. In addition to being able to show parents and other teachers what learning is happening in class, this is a great way to document learning over time to share with students when it comes time to reflect at the end of the year. The video footage coupled with their portfolio work will give a very full picture of what has changed over the course of time.

Some teachers may be worried about sharing their spaces with the unpredictability of a live-streaming element, but what better way is there to learn? Classrooms aren’t perfect, ever, and I don’t think folks expect them to be.

Too often we get hyper-focused on our spaces and lose sight of the big picture, seeing what others are doing can be very validating and inspiring. Imagine even allowing your students to watch a classroom in another part of the country learning the same thing? It could lead to really amazing connections.

Another way to use this tool can be for demo lessons. It occurred to me the other day that doing a demo lesson is so awkward. Going into an unfamiliar space with students that are unknown, teaching a stand-alone lesson, unconnected to everything else. There are merits to this method I’m sure, but why not share footage from your own live space instead?

Here are the benefits:

  • Reviewers would be able to see and hear genuine rapport with the teacher and his/her students
  • Providing a little context at the beginning of the stream, the reviewer could get a real sense of the kind of teacher the person is, and doing various snapshots from assorted classrooms gives a wider variety to understanding.
  • The teacher never has to take a day off to go on the interview for the demo
  • The review can ask questions on the spot that can easily be answered
  • The footage can be saved and uploaded to youtube and to be reviewed again later. This replay footage would allow the reviewer to really concentrate on the lesson.

Although I still don’t love the fact that the comments don’t stay on the screen long enough, I’ve grown fond of the look of the stream. Students have gotten comfortable with my having the phone out to stream live and know that I’m not just acting crazy talking to myself while I’m doing it. They love the idea that people are watching.

Check out some footage here of my 9th-grade journalism class:

Check out some footage here of my 12th grade AP class:

In addition to demo lessons and student growth, what a great opportunity to inter-visit without having extra bodies in the room. The footage can be reviewed once it’s finished at the leisure of your colleagues who are looking to learn or critique.

How do you see Periscope improving professional learning? 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.