Why Students Should Learn in Real Time

Learning in real time simply means that students are engaged in tools, people, and instructional guidance in real time. Routine activities such as grading completed papers, class discussions after reading text, or writing a research paper do not provide real time learning.

Real time learning connects students to the world with real people and provides authentic learning that could not otherwise be achieved.  When providing real time learning activities, you will discover that your students might be motivated to produce higher quality work because they have witnessed real world activities and made real world connections.

Furthermore, you can expand their audience by publishing reactions and discussion to the world via Twitter, YouTube, or a Padlet.

Many of our students miss opportunities to participate in a positive online presence. Employing these tools is a great way to demonstrate a constructive online presence that enhances the world in which they live.

Here are three tools that can help you bring real time learning into your classroom.

Periscope Live Streaming to the World

With over 10 million active Periscope accounts and the equivalent of 40 years of videos watched a day, this tool is worth leveraging with students and educators.  Odds are your middle school and high school students have spent hours watching real time videos from across the globe.

Periscope is viewed on any device and through its app for both iOS and Android users.  Periscope has the ability to bring real world experiences like Museum tours, foreign travel experiences, rare bird watching, and other adventures that many students will never have the opportunities in which to participate.  Periscope has started a hashtag for education called #PeriscopeEDU.  If you follow that hashtag on your Tweetdeck or Twitter feed you will have direct access to live streaming that may or may not support the standards you are teaching.  

Users need an account that can be quickly created under their Twitter umbrella.  Viewers can ask the “streamer” real time questions that get answered immediately and tap the screen to add hearts that lets the videographer know that what they are streaming is liked.

Imagine live streaming real world events that can engage students in analytical discussions.  Consider the mass immigration of refugees to the coast of Europe due to the Syrian war.  It’s impossible to imagine the chaos this event is causing, but to see those people crammed into a small boat and the lack of humanity they are experiencing- imagine the class discussions and possible actions your students might be inspired to take.

To read more about Periscope live streaming, check out @tonyvincent ‘s infographic.

Google Hangouts

Connected Classrooms on Google+

Another great tool is Google Hangouts. I’ve blogged a lot about Google Hangouts and how we’ve used them in the classroom. I cannot stress how effective this tool can be when you need to invite experts into your room, hold a group meeting, or experience a virtual field trip.

Today I saw a post in the Connected Classrooms Google+ Community.  It was a sixth grade social studies teacher requesting to hangout with a sixth grade class in Rome. It just so happens that I have a cousin who teaches in Rome, so if course I got them connected. The platform also hosts virtual field trips that your class can sign up to “attend”. With Google Hangouts you can screen share, invite up to 15 different groups or individuals, and even record the hangout as an “on air” hangout to refer to in the future.

Google Docs

It might seem simple, but Google Docs can be utilized as a real-time learning tool.  Research papers, narratives, or any other created documented becomes a real-time learning experience in Google Docs.  Simply have your students share their doc with you and monitor their progress by posting comments that serve as guiding questions to push their thinking deeper.  Students relate this experience to “having my teacher with me all the time.”  Create your lessons that allow you to become the guide on the side and let your students go. You sit back and monitor their work with feedback, resources, and comments.

I have seen this work magic in classrooms and teachers are amazing at how quiet and productive their rooms becomes.  Does it seem like too much to monitor up to 28 or 30 docs at a time?  Simply create collaborative documents and students produce together to limit your role.  Or use peer editors to guide each other along.  You will be amazed at the higher quality of work your students can produce when immediate feedback is provided.


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