Monday, March 30, 2015

Periscope For Education, Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about this new app called Periscope (Periscope For Education?).  I experimented with a few broadcasts today during school trying to determine if it had a place in education.  I believe it has the potential to be a very powerful learning tool, but at the same time, inappropriate comments that show up on the screen made it too big of a risk.  Or so I thought.

I filmed a few minutes of a 6th Grade Math class that uses individual pathways for student learning.  I had some educators interact with me, no inappropriate comments were made and I think a few educators got an idea or two from watching.

Sure this could be leveraged as a PD tool, and that would be a great benefit, but I still thought there could be more.  For example, last night I was watching someone stream live video from the WTC Memorial in New York.  How cool would that be to show your kids in class?  The problem was that someone decided to make a racist comment to which the person videotaping made a verbal comment back.  An unbelievable learning opportunity for our kids, poof, gone.

But as my man Lee Corso from ESPN would say, "Not so fast my friend."  Periscope allows you to hide the comments of a video.  When you click on a video, and as it is loading, swipe up, and there is an option that says "hide comments."  Click on that and poof, all of the comments, inappropriate or not, will disappear.  One problem solved.  However that will not do anything to prevent the person who is broadcasting from verbally responding to the comments on the live stream.  To solve this problem, simply mute the volume.

In my opinion, the power of this app is the video and images it provides.  Sure the commentary by the broadcaster is an added bonus, but not a necessity.  I do not need the broadcaster to explain what is going on, I as the teacher can do that.  And sometimes, there is no commentary needed.

The safest bet would be to use broadcasts that are saved and not live, because you never know what images could appear on a live video stream.  If you have previewed the video, you can use this app to take your kids to places they never thought they could see.

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