Dyan Branstetter | March 2016
How to Roll Out Periscope For PD
You may have heard the educational buzz about the free app Periscope platform With this app, you can record a live broadcast and share it with followers, or with the public. If you aren’t familiar with it, check out this Education Closet article from the fall: https://educationcloset.com/2015/09/15/up-periscope-reimagining-arts-integration-professional-development/
Many educators have jumped on the Periscope platform, broadcasting tips after school hours or live from their classrooms. While it is easy to sign up and follow broadcasts, it can be daunting to record a public broadcast yourself. After learning about Periscope platform, I thought this might be a useful tool for my school district to help teachers network and learn from one another. I ran the idea by my principal, and she was immediately supportive. To help with privacy concerns, we decided all of our broadcasts would be set to private. In order for anyone to see a private broadcast, though, our staff must be mutual followers of each other. Here’s the plan we followed when rolling out a school-wide Periscope community.
Step 1: Hold a sign-up session For Periscope Platform
After sharing the idea with the teachers in my school, I sent Education Closet’s documents (find them at the link below) for how to sign up for Periscope platform and held a drop-in event in my classroom for those who wanted a tutorial. I created a Padlet (http://padlet.com/) for us to collect names, grade levels, and handles of teachers who signed up to make it easy for us to access and follow one another.
Step 2: Gather Needs
I also sent out two other Padlets. The first was a community site to collect needs that teachers have. If a teacher is struggling to figure out how to make a certain strategy work, they could post it on the Padlet. If another teacher has an example of that strategy at work, they could broadcast it to share. We are also lucky to have instructional coaches that can help to broadcast best practices since it can be difficult to teach and hold a camera at the same time.
This could also work coming from an individual teacher. Personally, I would love to watch broadcasts from the art and music teachers in my school. If I saw clips of what they were doing, I would not only learn from them, but I could also gain useful ideas for integration.
Step 3: Find a Way to Save and Catalog Broadcasts
Since Periscopes only last for 24 hours, we thought it would be a waste to let samples of great instruction just vanish. Our next step is to find the perfect place that teachers would easily be able to upload and tag the broadcast by category. This is currently a work in progress.
As with any brand new idea, this venture has had its ups and downs. I was overly enthusiastic about rolling out this project because I thought it could be a game changer in our professional development. I am always on the lookout for ways that I can adjust my instruction to make it better, yet I can’t see the incredible things my colleagues are doing in their classrooms because I am always teaching at the same time as them. It could increase the amount of sharing amongst us without costing us precious time.
I found that not everyone is quite as excited about sharing in a live format. In fact, after I shared the idea, a number of teachers confessed that they were wary of the live aspect and that they would be more comfortable if they could make a video and edit it before posting. Of course, that is an option. However, I believe that we need that authenticity that Periscope platform provides.
I understand why teachers are uncomfortable– live events are unpredictable. Teaching is unpredictable. That’s why the live format is best! Many of us are perfectionists, and we are worried about showcasing a “perfect” classroom. In order to help each other grow I think we have to show how “messy” teaching can be. It may put new teachers at ease to see similar things happening in veteran teachers’ rooms, and it can start discussions about how to tackle common issues. If we let go of our worry of broadcasting perfection, it will allow us the freedom to flourish as educators.