Appear.in is a no registration needed video conferencing tool that doesn’t need Adobe Flash and has apps for Android and iOS devices. It also allows for screensharing and text chat. Users can lock out unwelcome guests while still allowing access to others without needing a password. It is a fantastic tool for the classroom. Here is how it works:
Go to https://appear.in/ and click on Start. [Note: appear.in will automatically create a unique URL, but you can also choose your own. Simply type in a name in the box before clicking on Start]
At this point, you can just share the link with up to 7 other people to have a video conference. There are also a number of options, some which are important for the classroom.
Lock – This is an icon you find at the top of the page that looks like a padlock. Anyone in the room can lock the room. Those who want to enter have to “knock” when they arrive and people can choose to let them in or not. This is great for the classroom in that strangers can’t just wander into the room.
Claim – While Appear.in does not need registration to use, if you want to keep a room from being used by anyone else after you leave, you can register for free. Simply click on the Claim button at the top of the page and follow the instructions. It also allows you to kick out people.
Quality – This is an icon at the top of the page that looks like a gradient box. The default quality is Good, but if you have low bandwidth or if the video is skipping a lot, choose Low.
Leave – You can leave the room at any time by clicking on the Leave button at the top of the page that looks like a door. You can always re-enter by going back to the link.
Chat – There is a text chat function available by clicking on the chat icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen. It looks like a chat bubble. Keep in mind that the chat text can’t be deleted in that room.
Muting video or audio or both – You can turn off your webcam and microphone by clicking on the microphone or camera icons found in your video box. They only appear once you start moving your microphone over your video image. Click on them again to activate them.
Screensharing – You can share your entire screen with others or simply one of the windows that is currently open on your computer. This replaces your webcam video, so you can’t have your picture and the screen on at the same time. Simply click on the laptop icon in your video area, choose what you would like to share, and then click on Share. Click the laptop icon once again to go back to the webcam.
Stickers – You can also use a “sticker” on your video image. This is like Facebook stickers, only there are very few available. They only appear for a few seconds on your video image before going away. To access them, click on the smiley face icon in your video area and click on the icon you’d like to share.
Language classroom use:
Any time you have an online tool that students can use without having to give away private information is a win. I work with teachers who have students who are refugees and have limited access to their own computers. This gives those students access to a video conferencing tool without having to install anything on their computer such as with Skype.
There is the obvious group work usage, especially if students are working on a project from home. Students can share their screens such as with a presentation and can give it to a limited group of students instead of to the whole class. The teacher can meet with students online, especially when going over assignments.
I’m sure there are other uses which you are welcome to share in the comment section below.