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 type a unique name into the box in the centre of the screen. Click on Create new room.
You will now need to allow the site to have access to your microphone and webcam by clicking on the Allow cam/mic access button. [Note: Depending on your browser, you may also need to give permission in the browser as well].
Inviting others: Click on the Copy Link button and then give that link to up to three other people.
Text chat: Click on the chat icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Lock – This is an icon you find at the top of the page that looks like a padlock. In order to lock the room, you will need to create a free account. 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.
Switching cameras and microphones – Click on the Cam/Mic button to switch which camera or microphone to use. You can also downgrade the quality if your network access is limited.
Leave – You can leave the room at any time by clicking on the Leave button at the bottom of the screen. You can always re-enter by going back to the link.
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. In order to do this, you will need to install a plugin first. Simply click on the Share Screen icon at the bottom of the screen, install the plugin, choose what you would like to share, and then click on Share. Click the Stop Sharing 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 Stickers 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.