Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reaching The Community With Periscope

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I am on the road a lot. Traveling the country, working with teachers and districts to improve the way they use technology and bridge the gaps in the way they communicate with their communities. And while I have the best job in the world, that means I miss many opportunities to be involved with my first grader and what's happening in her school. Parent-Teacher Conferences, After-School Events, other meetings, are just out of reach.

Or are they?

Periscope is a live video streaming app that lives on your mobile device. To broadcast, simply fire up the app, give the broadcast a title and go. No complex set-up. No special equipment needed. You carry around a full fledged broadcasting station in your pocket with the power of one app.

To view, one gets a notification on their device that a broadcast has begun and they can tune in. While watching they can type comments and even favorite individual parts of the broadcast by touching the heart in the bottom right.

I am by no means the first to suggest using Periscope in Education. In fact a simple Google Search for "Periscope in Education" yields over 2.1 million hits. But if you begin to look at the suggestions most focus on in the classroom. And while there is potential in video streaming events in the classroom, I believe the greater impact is out of the classroom, getting parents and the community excited about whats happening in our schools.

Here are just a handful of ways to think about using Periscope to build community relationships:

Broadcasting After-School Meetings-Many adults don't work in traditional settings nor do they keep traditional hours. Those that work 2nd or 3rd shift or have multiple jobs may never be able to attend a parent meeting in the evening because of other conflicts. Or the lack of child care can prevent some from being more involved. With Periscope you can broadcast those meetings simply and easily allowing anyone, anywhere to see, comment and ask questions.

Athletics Highlights-Many schools have programs to record or even broadcast live the major sports in their schools but what about sports that don't typically get covered? Soccer, cross-country, tennis, track and field, these sports are just as important. And again, not every parent can be there for every event. So using Periscope could help them be more a part of them. And with the privacy functions built into the app you can allow in just who you want so you are in control of who can view and who cannot.

Parent-Teacher Conferences-In my situation using Periscope could be a great way for me to be at the conference without actually being there. Sure, using something like Google Hangouts would be a better choice because its 2-way video, but what about if I'm in a busy airport with lots of noise, or the equipment for a 2-way video chat just isn't available where the teacher is. Using Periscope allows me to be involved and takes the guess work out of the setup.

The inevitable question will arise, yeah but what if I can't see it live? Periscope doesn't offer a feature to save or publish videos. Fear not! Katch.me has the answer. Once you connect your Periscope account your videos are automatically saved and from there you can publish them and share them to your social media accounts.

Periscope can be a great addition to the tools you use to communicate with your communities. Remember, its not the only way or replace what's already working. It's just another way to build those bridges.

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