Apps: They are the cornerstones of our lives and are beginning to blur the lines between our digital selves and our physical selves. They are big money. And while there can be a tendency to regard some of the more kitschy aspects of app culture as frivolous, it would be a disservice to discount this influential industry.
One of the more important apps is Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming video app. The concept is simple: Create an account, follow other accounts and post/view live video from anywhere in the world. When applied to education, this concept has the potential to expand the boundaries of the typical classroom. We’ve come up with some ways we think Periscope will enhance the learning experience for students and teachers.
5 Benefits of Using Periscope:
1. Increased Access to Guest Speakers
Allowing guest speakers access to student bodies around the world is something made popular by Skype. Periscope takes it a step further by letting people play videos that have already streamed. This is great for students who need to work around scheduling conflicts.
2. Creation of Multimedia Projects
We no longer just take pictures with our phones. We also shoot videos and document the daily aspects of our lives on video blogs. We might listen to talk radio, but we also listen to and create podcasts. Expanding the type of media available to students in a classroom broadens the type of work students are able to do, and keeps in line with the development of multimedia skills that have become commonplace outside of the classroom. Multimedia projects encourage creativity and can infuse a drab curriculum with relevancy and excitement.
3. Facilitating Interpersonal/Professional Relationships
Being able to ask a community of peers for help is an invaluable resource. Periscope can be used to facilitate problem solving, brainstorm sessions and even private tutoring. It also opens up access to teachers and professors, whose office hours cannot accommodate all students.
4. Expanding Educational Opportunities
With the ability to livestream videos that can be accessed at a later date, Periscope presents educators with the opportunity to turn personal events into supplemental lessons. Trips to the museum, zoo, aquarium and art galleries, to name a few examples, can be watched by students at any time. And with the new Sketch feature, Scopers are now able to draw over live streams, teleprompter style.
5. Decreasing Reliance on the Media Binary (TV and Video)
By providing instant access to an established global community, Periscope helps to enrich the learning experience by decreasing reliance on static media (i.e. in class movies). Within the Periscope community, real people are documenting aspects of their lives in easily digestible bite-sized chunks. Yes, you can learn about the daily lives of people in foreign countries by watching the nightly news, but you can also supplement this type of learning with Periscope. This can be extremely helpful for those who need to keep up with current events, social studies and anthropological coursework.
Beyond being hip, the goal of technology should be to make our lives more efficient. While Periscope won’t necessarily replace the traditional media that has become the educational standard, there is a real opportunity for educators to integrate it into the classroom. We shouldn’t so much penalize the use of cellphones in classrooms, as encourage their responsible and creative use.
At the end of the day, mobile devices and the apps on them allow us to interact with a larger part of the world, and being able to see that world through the eyes of the many and not just the individual is invaluable.