How we can use Periscope in the Classroom!

I recently discovered a new app: Periscope that has been drawing a lot of attention lately.  I have been exploring the app both on a personal level and trying to find uses in my classroom.  Thanks to my #peel21st pln, I’m finally getting these thoughts down.  So I thought I’d begin with a quick overview of what Periscope is all about, explain how I have used it so far, move into future uses, and then some concerns and questions I am still working through.

What is Periscope?

Periscope is a live video streaming app, that gives people around the world a window into your life (well what ever you record).  It requires you to set up an account using either your Twitter account, or your phone number to create content.  No account is required to view and comment on content.

With periscope attached to your Twitter account, it allows you to follow and be followed by people using periscope much like Twitter.  These followers will get notifications of your broadcasts, and be able to watch replays as well for a limited time (24 hours).


The image above is a screenshot of the app.  To start a broadcast, you click the camera app from the main page.  This brings you to the above image, where you have some options before you are ‘live’.  Give your broadcast a title.  This is where you can add in #, or @ mentions if you are linking your stream to Twitter.  On the bottom you have 4 other options.

Location sharing (arrow): Turn on/off if your location is visible to users

Private Broadcast (lock): Make your broadcast private to only the people that follow your Periscope stream

Chat (Speech bubble {not shown above}): Can toggle the chat to everybody or only users that follow you.

Twitter: (Twitter logo): Turn on or off automatic Twitter post of your broadcast.

Press Start Broadcast and you are now live streaming to the world!


As you stream your video, if you have left the settings open, Users can interact with you video.  These interactions come in the form of hearts (like a favourite on Twitter), and a one way text chat.  Users can type comments, but you can only respond through the audio on the video.

Once you are finished streaming your video, you can save your video for replay (24 hours) and you can save it to your camera roll.

There are other features, and options within the app, but that can be for another time.

How I have used Periscope 

Now I have used periscope for both personal and classroom uses.  Just to highlight the scope of the app I will touch on both uses, but focus on the classroom connections.

On a personal level I was trying the app out while up at my family cottage on the May long weekend.  I broadcasted the sunrise, the sunset, and fireworks.  All video streams were viewed by the world,  but the real reason was to give my family a view at one of their favourite places because they couldn’t be there.  People from around the world interacted with the video stream, and got a glimpse into life on the dock.  All three streams were just of scenery.

Now, on a classroom level, I have used Periscope for a few different purposes.  All of my Broadcasts were designed to give people a view into our classroom more than a picture or text could provide.

Live Stream examples tried recently:

Knights in the Classroom medieval battle sequence – Recorded the battle sequence during our in-school presentation, to give others a view at how great this presentation is, allow parents that follow our class a view into what their children were experiencing, and a way to record the video for future use.

Live Streaming of our School play to back stage and holding room actors and stage crew – I set up a stream of the production so participants behind the curtain and in holding rooms could follow along.  This gave them a visual cue, along with the audio cue they were used to following.

Recorded our planting of Aquatic Plants at Loafers Lake with Toronto Region Conservation authority – Recorded from a distance students planting aquatic plants and the surrounding environment that they were experiencing on this trip

Nature Walk at Loafers Lake – A recording of the sights and sounds during our nature walk in this natural environment.

A Broadcast of a Mystery Skype Call – Recorded a few minutes of a recent Mystery Skype call to give others a view into what a Skype call is all about.

A Broadcast of a recent Math debrief – This was recorded for 2 reasons, to show another teacher the power of Periscope, and give them a window into our Math debrief.

Possible Future Uses

How to use this app in the classroom is still a work in progress.  I can see applications that are great for the classroom, and those where I would not want such a global audience.  So I plan to continue to use Periscope in the following way:

As a tool to give educators and more importantly parents a view into our classroom or on a field trip in real time.  Videos on YouTube, and Photos posted are great, but sometimes being a part of the live event when you can’t physically be there is powerful.

I see myself using the private broadcast stream almost exclusively now.  Most of my applications for sharing video footage would be appropriate for educators and parents that follow the class but not a worldwide audience.  So be sure to follow @MrWigmoresclass on Twitter for updates and on Periscope to experience school with us.

Concerns and Questions I am still Pondering

Is it necessary to have a live stream of a specific event, or are videos and photos after the event sufficient.   I am going to explore this idea with parents of the students I am teaching this year, and then into next year, to see their preferences.

After the video has been stored for the 24 Hour reply time what happens to it?  I understand that everything we post online is public, but does the video get deleted, or is it stored offline for another time period?  You can turn off the replay mode, and simply have the live stream with the option to save a local copy.

There has been some discussion around the fact that the video stream maybe used to pull out data from, i.e. logos on t-shirts, coffee cups etc.  by companies for advertising data.  Is data really being pulled from all broadcasts?  Who is using this data?  What information are they acquiring?

We need to make sure that all people on the video stream are aware that they are being recorded. My students and their parents are aware that I record and post numerous times and in various ways throughout the week, but that visitor to the school, or student/teacher from another class needs to be given the heads up to this occurring so they have the option to be a part of it (in it) or not.

As with any new tool that is available to us as educators we need to make sure we are using it as a tool that will make our teaching, our classroom and our students better, not just because its a cool new techy tool.

I look forward to continuing to explore Periscope and its uses in the classroom.  Let me know you’re thoughts, as it’s a tool that I’m excited and scared about at the same time.


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