Periscope: The Simplest Way to Livestream your Snow Day classes

This is the tenth installment in my series, 15 Educational Apps in 15 Days. You can view a list of all of the posts in this series here

With the Old Farmer's Almanac predicting another cold and stormy winter for the Northeast United States and the prospect of a 'Godzilla' El Nino and its possible weather consequences all over the news, its time to prepare for the snow day. Through the help of various technologies, it is possible to transform at least a part of these snow days into learning days through formal learning activities using apps like Educreations and Zoom and informal gamified activities.

It's relatively easy to connect students through flipped videos, videoconferencing, learning management systems, and game-based learning when they are all home. But what can one do when the majority of the students are in school but a minority are snow-bound due to transportation issues from a specific location? We faced this challenge this past year and used smartphones apps like Facetime and Skype to conference those students into the classroom.

However, there are limitations to these apps. Their setup is relatively difficult requiring both users to have accounts and often they only work for one student or perhaps a small group. Sometimes, its just easier to livestream the class for anyone to access through a link. But setting up a livestream for every class can be daunting.

Enter Periscope

Photo courtesy of

Periscope is the simplest live streaming app that I know of and it works on both android and iPhones. To start a Periscope, just open the app, log in through your Twitter account, click on the red camera icon, name your broadcast, and Start Broadcast. That's it. You are now livestreaming to an unlimited number of users who can watch from their phone or online.

You can share the link on Twitter or your learning management system and those watching the Periscope using a smartphone can even chat about your class during the broadcast. Periscopes can be reviewed for up to 24 hours. Then they disappear unless they are saved. This added security feature can be a plus for teachers. You can read a post comparing Periscope and Meerkat for Kiruv on the NLE Resources blog here.

I first learned about Periscope at the ISTE 2015 conference this past June in Philadelphia when Sue Waters and the rest of the Notatiste crew virtually attended the conference watching many sessions live thanks to Periscope. I had the privilege of someone Periscoping my own ISTE session which I presented with Sue on using crowdsourcing in the classroom. Here is an archive of Tony Vincent's live Periscopes from ISTE which he saved for future viewing and below is a pic of my presentation taken through the lens of Periscope.

So whether you are planning to broadcast your next snow day or help participants virtually attend a presentation or even an entire conference, give Periscope a try and discover how it is simplest way to livestream using any event.