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Perch and distance ed?

I’m listening to the CBC Spark podcast (Episode 225) where they introduce Perch, an always-on portal to help bridge the physical space for remote workers.

I have questions about how this might work for families with members living away, and even more how they might help students avoid feeling the “distance” in distance education. I wonder if this would allow students to have a workspace where they could set up such a system and be online to meet with other students for more of the discussion and unplanned conversation that happens in regular programs. The idea of a portal where you could see who was around and could instantly “drop in for a chat” opens the potential for synchronous conversations that are not place-dependent. I think there are a lot of advantages here over Skype, in which there are several barriers to success. With Perch and it’s set-it-and-forget-it approach, there are interesting options for ad hoc group formation that I find intriguing.

I also envision this “portal” as an opportunity to hold distance office hours for students. It’s not always possible for my students to get in to meet me at my designated office hours, but if they were able to hop on to a virtual chat and get help, or see I’m around at other times on the portal, I could potentially increase access for my students. It’s currently only available on iOS, but they’re looking for an Android developer, so that’s obviously not too far down the road (which is essential for me here in Korea, where Samsung dominates).

Here’s the promo video from Perch:

Published inTeachingTechnology


  1. Great idea here Kim! I worked as a teacher in Korea as well. I think students and teachers would love this. Hagwon hours are so long and it could be a great way to get some real time with the 선생!

    • kimberlyhogg kimberlyhogg

      Thanks for the comment, ewoker!

      I had never envisioned this for hakwon workers who are already getting 30+ contact hours per week with students. It think it’s just too much. The idea fits in quite nicely though with my university schedule and the difficulty of meeting my students 1:1 outside of class. Anyhow, it will be interesting to see where this goes!

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