Periscope in Professional Learning

I recently downloaded the app Periscope from twitter – a few days ago finally release on Android! I’d heard of Meerkat and Periscope itself for a while, but only on iOS devices which I don’t have.

For the past couple years first as a teacher then a, “teacher on special assignment,” I’ve been fortunate to work with the great folks at Teaching Channel. Until I took the job, I hadn’t given much thought to formal PD, although I’ve been involved with the CUE Rockstar camps – participant and some presenting at local CUE conferences. Teaching Channel’s Teams (a safe system for sharing video between teachers and groups within a school district, and much more!) and others posit that when teachers record themselves on video and then are able to use that for more targeted instruction, student learning will increase. In addition, the culture of a school just might change from, “Shut my door and let me teach” to a more welcoming and colleagial tone.

Periscope and other live streaming apps could finally open the door like Uber has with the world of taxis. While I can’t quite say I’d recommend live-streaming a teacher teaching kids, I think live-streaming PD would be amazing! Instead of having to wait for conferences, people could randomly see PD from across the globe or nation (or even city!) that they normally wouldn’t be able to see at all.

One morning recently Periscope popped up that a teacher named Don Wettrick was going to be Periscoping a discussion about 20% time. I’ve of course heard of this concept in education and even gone to sessions about it, but was curious to hear more again. So I popped on. There were about 20 of us from all over able to ask questions to which he was able to give an immediate response too. (By the way Don, can I see a syllabus of your course?). It was an incredibly productive discussion and he was even able to pan around his room so we could see the ‘innovation chamber’.

So now I’m hooked! Some other great articles I’ve read are:

Periscope and Privacy

5 ideas for using Periscope in the classroom

Here are my own ideas for how we can use Periscope in professional development (Fresno Unified calls it Professional Learning to emphasize the continual nature of being a professional.)

1) During Training Sessions: If the training is done right, there is probably some lecture and guidance and then lots of time in groups and collaboration. Imagine leading a session on say the Math Practices, and as you walk from group to group having people take what they’re seeing and suggesting ideas to make the lesson or suggested practice even more robust, and perhaps offering to connect later around what that teacher has done.

2) During planning/brainstorming sessions: I’m imagining a group of leaders sitting down and talking about how to communicate the C3 to teachers. As they start writing ideas down on a whiteboard, again others from the Web can ask questions or make suggestions, broadening the reach of the room to more than just those in it.

3) Teacher Feedback: I can honestly say I don’t see this happening for any K12 teachers I work with, but for college perhaps I can see it possible to allow your entire session to be streamed on the web and allow others to chime in with questions and ideas. I teach a Technology for Educators class at Fresno Pacific University and we tried Periscope the other day – but I set the stream to be public so we got some non-helpful comments like “do you like burritos” because I said we were in Fresno.  (Reminds me of a live-streaming Teacher coaching  system we dreamed up nicknamed GUIDE at Learning Forward in 2014. Pretty much has everything except the formative assessment colors built on, but combined with PLICKERS and even OpenEd we’re getting there… Jason and Jason)

Privacy is a huge concern both with teachers and students, but this kind of live streaming opens up a huge world. Looking forward to being a part of it even as I exit the world of a school district and enter the exciting waters of a startup in Silicon Valley at OpenEd.com!

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