Last week our district deemed Thursday “too cold” to go to school. With final exams on the horizon, I wanted to give my students a way to ask questions on the day before finals even if we were not in session. Thus, I began a search for the best means to do this activity.
I typically use Remind in my classes. I have about half to three quarters of each class using the app. I have tried to give students incentives in order to get better participation and this year I’ve made my best effort yet to keep it current with all of the assignments and notes from class. I discovered today that students can send you an image in their comments which I was unaware of before today. That will be useful if students have home questions in the future. I really wanted students to have access to live streaming video of questions and answers, which currently is not available on Remind.
My first venture was into Google Hangouts or YouTube Events. I already use a variety of Google products and am incredibly happy with everything that I have used (GMail, calendar, forms, drive, docs, etc). I like the free-ness (always a big thing for my teacher budget) and I like how easy it is to share. I like how easy it is to see comments regardless of when they are made (which would help in my tutoring/teaching situation) and the automatic upload to YouTube for future reference was awesome. My only issue with this platform was the need to create a Google account if you want to participate in the Hangout. That didn’t really jive with me as I unfortunately have some students who are not allowed to get Google accounts per their parents.
My next attempt was to use Periscope. Periscope is really simple to set up and they make it easy to publicize your event though Twitter without requiring a login (which was my only major problem with Hangouts). I do not like how the comments appear and then disappear. If I was in the middle of explaining something I would not like to have the comment disappear. Other than that though, I liked the platform.
With the possibility of more snow days to come, I liked these experimental days because now I know what I would be getting into if I did indeed need to use it. Apparently, even with double digit sub-zero temperatures my district did not deem it necessary to take the day off – for which I am grateful as now I will have one more day in May to play in the warmth. Moving forward I plan to survey my students to see how big of a problem the lack of Google accounts truly is versus the ease of Periscope but disappearing comments.