7 December 2015

What is Periscope?

Periscope is video broadcasting app which allows you to ‘explore the world through someone else’s eyes’.

Described by its creators as ‘the closest thing to Teleportation,’ Periscope allows users (‘Scopers’) to broadcast (‘scope’) video directly from their smartphone or tablet and to view live broadcasts from across the globe.

The whole concept of Periscope is to virtually pick you up and place you down somewhere you would never have access to if it weren’t for the app. Via Periscope you can get a front-row seat to events unfolding across the world in real time. You can virtually attend music concerts, sports matches, political protests, see point-of-view broadcasts from amusement park rides or take tours of different cities… The possibilities are endless.

To get started, you need to download the app to your device. You can then sign up to Periscope using either your mobile phone number or your Twitter account:


Periscope recommends that those with a Twitter account should sign up via the microblogging service as this will give them the option to subscribe to the Periscope broadcasts of the people who they follow on Twitter.

How to find and watch broadcasts

You can navigate around the app using the four tab icons at the bottom of the screen:

p menu icons

Watch                Globe             Broadcast          People

The ‘Watch’ icon is the default tab and tapping it from another tab takes you back to the home screen. When someone who you are following on Periscope is broadcasting live a notification will appear on your home screen. The ‘Watch’ screen also displays live scopes, featured scopes and recent broadcasts.

Click the ‘Globe’ icon to see a map of where current live broadcasts are happening around the world. You can zoom in to any part of the world and see what’s happening. This is a good place to start if you want to do some exploring!


A map of where Periscope live broadcasts are happening around the world


When watching a broadcast you can type a message to the Scoper, or to fellow watchers, or send a heart to indicate your approval by tapping on your screen. Hearts are the social currency of Periscope –  akin to giving something a “like” on Facebook.

How to broadcast


To create a broadcast , touch the ‘Broadcast’ icon and enter a title for your broadcast. You can choose whether to make your video public (open to everyone on Periscope) or private (only open to certain followers). You can also set chat options to determine whether or not to allow comments.

To share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter, tap the bird icon before you begin broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a message to your Twitter followers.

When you are ready to begin broadcasting, hit the ‘Start Broadcast’ button. Periscope saves your video streams once you have finished recording them so that they remain viewable for up to 24 hours.

Ideas for use in education                                              

Periscope has many potential uses within education. It can be used for virtual field trips allowing educators to broadcast from places that may be inaccessible or impractical for students to travel to in person.

Periscope’s global reach allows instructors and students to connect to other people and places around the world with no cost involved. This may prove of particular interest for geography and history teachers.

Periscope can be used by instructors to broadcast live video of practical demonstrations.  The text chat feature means that Periscope can also be used to offer virtual office hours for students who have questions or need help, or to provide feedback to students on assignments.

Periscope can be used by universities to give prospective students guided tours of campus ahead of open days. It can also be used by educators a way to take virtual tours of other schools and classrooms, to see examples of best practice in action, or to tune into conferences or seminars that are being broadcast.


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

  1. Download the Periscope app and create an account.
  2. Use the map to find someone broadcasting in the location of your choice.
  3. Watch their broadcast, or move to another part of the world.
  4. What did you find?  Tell us by tweeting with the hashtag #uwl12apps
  5. Create a broadcast of your own to share.

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How might you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


EwanWritten by Ewan Frances, TEL Support Officer, University of West London



Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.