EdTech543: Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development: Webinars

webinarswebinars 2

What is a Webinar?

Short for Web-based seminar, it is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements — the ability to give, receive and discuss information. Contrast with Webcast, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience.  Source:  http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Webinar.html


Webinar 1 October 4, 2014 : Classroom 2.0 Live Michael Fricano “Revolutionize the Research Process w/Google Drive”

Classroom 2.0 LIVE provides the opportunity to gather with other members of the community in real-time events, complete with audio, chat, desktop sharing, and sometimes even video. I actually began the process the day before by Tweeting with co-host Peggy George.  If you’ve never done a webinar before I highly recommend talking with someone ahead of time.  It can definitely feel intimidating!  Peggy gave me some excellent tips that made the process go smoothly and I feel I was really able to communicate and add to the session.  The show lasted a little over an hour utilizing the Blackboard Collaborate room.

The guest presenter was Michael Fricano,  a Technology Integration Specialist at Iolani School in Hawaii. He is a Qualified Google Educator, authorized Google Education Trainer, Co-Founder of Edcamp Honolulu, Co-Founder of #edchatHI and a Board Member of the Hawaii Society for Technology in Education (ISTE Affiliate).  Michael illustrated how Google Drive’s built in Research Tool, the Add-Ons gallery, and useful collaboration features can be used to simplify and aid in the research process.  In this session we were able to learn not only what these tools are but how to use them.  I particularly appreciated that we were given the time and encouraged to open up our own Google Doc and try some of the features.  I honestly cannot believe how much I learned!  This short webinar should be a requirement in EdTech 501!  We were also provided with lesson plan ideas, projects, student samples, and a collection of free-to-use resources.

Here is the actual session recording of the webinar I attended!

Here is the link to live simultaneous chat that was taking place.  You can see I was a very active participant!

Webinar 2 October 7, 2014 : Connected Learning

The topic of this webinar was “Connected Learning” and what it looks like with younger learners. EdTechTeacher’s Beth Holland hosted educators Suzy Brooks, Ben Schersten, and Kristen Wideen.  I initially planned to watch and participate via Google + but literally 5 minutes before the session my main computer crashed!  So I had to use another one.  I did not have the time to get all the parameters of the computer set up so I chose the option to watch LIVE on connectedlearning.tv, and chat via #CE14 on Twitter

This was a great session.  I loved the multiple speakers and they did a great job of interacting with each other without talking over each other.  The participation via Twitter was a little confusing though.  There seemed to be a whole other chat going on simultaneously.  Finally someone told to just use and follow #ADEchat

Here is the actual session:

I am really glad that I participated in a session about younger learners.  I often feel as high school teacher that what I do is so very different than what elementary teachers do.  This session reminded me that so many of the core principles are the same such as the need for collaboration and being clear about expectations.  A lot of the discussion also focused on the value of openly networked learning and whether face-to-face or asynchronous is better.  I did not really sense a consensus on this topic.

My favorite part was when one of the speakers, Ben Schersten explained how he had used Twitter with his 3rd grade class.  He had the students send out a Tweet to their parents about what they did that day in class.  It really made me think about new ways I could use Twitter with my own classes.  Overall, I thought this was an interesting session.  I think it would have been better in Google Plus but the format I used worked fine.

Webinar 3 October 8, 2014 : EdWeb.net

The topic for this webinar was: “Coding for Kindergarten: Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving Skills to Early Learners”.  This may seem like a stretch for a high school math teacher to attend but I was just so curious!  I once had a professor tell me he could teach Calculus to a Kindergartner … well, I wanted to see this concept in action!

This was a really interesting presentation; however, I was really disappointed in the interactive features.  No one was really using the Twitter chat (except myself and one other person) and the chat feature on the presentation was all about how to purchase the product.  I posted several questions and reactions but did not get much feedback.

I was also disappointed that this felt more like an infomercial rather than a real collaborative webinar. I attempted to communicate via the chat feature … but there were a lot of personal conversations going on and I didn’t ever feel apart of this session.

Here is the summary: http://home.edweb.net/coding-kindergarten-teaching-creativity-problem-solving-skills-early-learners/

Here is the video recording (although you may need a password to view).




Webinar 4 October 8, 2014 : EdWeb.net

The topic for this webinar was:  “Then and Now: Developing Programs of Family and Community Involvement for Student Success”.  This was my second webinar in the same day!  This was a lot smaller group and was much more interactive within the site itself; however there was no one using the Twitter chat feature at all.

I really liked this particular topic … basically how do you get everyone involved in educating children?  They defined everyone as teachers, administrators, parents, and the general community.  Dr. Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University discussed key concepts, essential structures, and expected results of research-based programs of family and community involvement. The session addressed all levels of education including preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools.

Here is a summary of the session: http://home.edweb.net/now-developing-programs-family-community-involvement-student-success/

Here is the video recording (although you may need a password to view).


Although I once again felt that this was giant “infomercial” trying to sell a particular program.  I wonder if all the sessions on ed.web.net are promoting educational items for sale.  I really appreciated that I was able to contribute on this session.  I was even excited that one of my questions were chosen for the end of session discussion.


One interesting feature of my last 2 webinars was the ability to earn CE Certificates.  I think this is a great feature.

Final Reflection:

After completing 4 webinars and 4 (actually I did 6) Twitter chats I must say I really preferred the Twitter chats.  Even though they move so much faster I felt really engaged and a part of them.  Hands down, the Classroom.20 live were the best webinars if you want to be actively involved.  Moving forward I can easily see myself participating in many “chats” in the future!






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