Periscope For eLearning: Is It Worth The Bother?

Periscope For eLearning: Is It Worth The Bother?
Summary: With a six-month hoopla around Periscope, this app gained the affection of many educators who started thinking on using Periscope in classrooms. But is everything so trouble-free? What are the advantages and drawbacks of using Periscope for eLearning, and what changes would save this software's reputation for making it #1 app among educators?

Is Using Periscope For eLearning Worth The Bother? 

Launched on March 2015, Periscope got its Android version in May and surpassed ten million accounts by September, having become #1 application (and website) connected to Twitter for broadcasting from anywhere anytime.

One can use Periscope in many ways beyond looking at broadcasters and their streaming videos. This application is about the interaction between the broadcaster and those watching his or her streams, and this peculiarity attracts educators to use Periscope as an alternative way of teaching, engaging students into the educational process, and making teaching viral.

Thanks to its feature of adding text comments to encourage a dialogue with a broadcaster, no one considers Periscope a simple entertaining application anymore. Since summer 2015, hundreds of educators have tried best to make it a mainstream in the educational process.

As a result, Periscope goes education viral today.

Teachers On Stage

Just to name a few, Jerry Blumengarten, a retired teacher from New York and a webmaster of the blog about edTech resources, developed a web page about Periscope’s use in education.

Periscope is great because many people can’t get to some locations. You open new doors to kids and take them out of the classroom into the world to explore”.

Another teacher, Sheila Jane, published the blog post about educators who actively used Periscope for communicating with students. She encouraged to follow them or join the company of teachers who saw nothing wrong in this application for education.

Claiming that “Periscope has gone #teacherviral and for a good reason”, Sheila reveals its advantages for educators:

Thanks to the little colorful, bubbly hearts, comment stream collaboration, and live video format, we are able to see our favorite teachers in real time. Go in their classrooms, ask them questions, attend education conferences with them, AND get a glimpse into their real life”.

So, what exactly can Periscope do for the educational process? What is the reason for a so-called hoopla about this application among teachers?

How To Use Periscope For eLearning

  • With the help of Periscope, teachers can show students how to do something.
  • Periscope can help them reach absent students.
  • With this application, teachers can help students do their homework.
  • It can help to connect classes.
  • It lets to share galleries.
  • Periscope can be used to conduct a survey.
  • Periscope lets to invite observers to the class. For example, parents can get an idea of what your class is like.
  • Students can use Periscope to create something, showing their thinking.
  • It can help teachers to organize a virtual meeting with experts: they can join a class via Periscope to talk and show where they work.
  • Periscope can help teachers arrange a virtual visit to some landmark or cultural institution.

But is everything so trouble-free “in the state of Denmark”?

What Is Wrong With Periscope?

Despite its numerous advantages, Periscope still has one drawback, and it’s the privacy issue.

Andrew Campbell, a teacher from Ontario, is concerned about Periscope privacy. He is not sure if educators should use it in their classrooms.

Because it’s under the Twitter umbrella, all of the feeds fall under the Twitter terms of service, and so all of that video can be used by Twitter and shared with third parties for marketing purposes. As an educator, you have to think carefully about how comfortable you are with sending videos of your students out to be used like that.

It's the issue of consent that is needed from a student and a parent for filming in classrooms and broadcasting videos to Twitter. Twitter’s privacy policy states that all users should be at least 13 years old, which makes it problematic to broadcast videos in pre-secondary school classrooms.

Jason Wigmore, a teacher from Ontario, Canada, knows how to solve the problem:

Everything we record does not need a global audience. I know the big push is to connect to a global audience, but we don’t need to turn our classrooms into reality shows (i.e. Big Brother)… My wish would be that Periscope would allow you to not publish the video to their public site, but keep it private.

One more concern is about Periscope’s commenting system. As far as we know, it can't be switched off, meaning inappropriate comments are still available for viewers and cannot be hidden from them.

After overcoming these issues, the developers of Periscope will transform it into a powerful educational tool, turning classrooms into incredibly dynamic spaces.