In EdTech 543, I had the opportunity to participate in webinars as another resource for professional development. I had participated in a webinar at my school as part of my responsibilty as a member of a textbook adoption committee. These webinars were different because in the first one I just watched and listened, but the webinars I participated in gave me the opportunity to share my ideas.
The first webinar that I participated in was through Edmodo. The first half of the discussion was about how PD had improved since the early 80s. The moderator also shared how he established online learning without the use of the Internet. The other half of the webinar was a Q&A with four Digital Coaches. They were talking about helping reluctant teachers using technology in their classroom. This was interesting to me because I am the Digital Integration Lead at my school and I have unwilling teachers in my school. I found their suggestions quite helpful, and I will be implementing them next year.
For my second webinar, I participated in Speak Up Survey presented by STEAM Universe. Dr. Evans discussed the results of the survey that is given to school districts, teachers, students, and parents across the nation. It is a free service that looks at the needs, attitudes and goals of STEAM. She mentioned that we need to be acutely aware of how we promote STEAM. Meaning the A=art, because in places like the mid west, A=agriculture. One of the questions I asked, Dr. Evans addressed in the Q&A portion of the webinar and that was: How do we encourage teachers to use technology that are reluctant to use it? She had a few suggestions that I really liked. First, having the principals have a clear vision of technology and the support from the district is vital. They have to be the driving force. Second, principals need to be seen as mentors and they need to be using the technology that they are promoting. As a digital integration lead, I will be sharing this information with my principal this year. I found the webinar to be exciting and full of useful information.
I participated in a webinar hosted by Zoom on helping students identify fake news. It is important because she said that over 50% of our students are getting their news from online resources, such as Facebook. This webinar is mainly focused on teachers that teach social studies or ELA. However, I posted a question that some of the panelists answered. I asked if teachers that teach science could use to inform them about fake news. I’ve included the comments in my pictures, but the answer is yes. Kimberli, the commentator, answered my question too. She mentioned that I have to search the resources out, but it can be done. I found the discussion very insightful, and I plan on looking into for some resources that I can use with my science students.
My final webinar was hosted by Voxer, and it was EDCAMP. Voxer is an online walkie-talkie app that allows participants to record a message rather than typing their comments. I started the conversation by typing, but I then switched to recording my remarks. The commentator had technical issues, so he had to change to typing. However, we did have a great discussion. The discussion was on how we build relationships with our students. Gerry, the moderator, and I were the only two that were discussing the topic. However, I felt that we learned from each other. We both talked about what we do at the beginning of the year. I actually gave him another suggestion to an idea he had. He has 6 pics that he downloaded from the internet and he has the students do an improv of what they did over the summer based on those pics. I suggested that he has the kids explain what he did over summer break based on each of the pics. It was fun chatting with him. In fact, we exchanged Twitter names to continue to connect beyond this conversation.
I found the live webinars valuable as a teacher. It gave me an opportunity to learn from other educators about ideas and resources they are passionate about. I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate in a resource that I did not know existed. I will be looking into more webinars throughout the year, especially since I’m going to be learning a new curriculum for science.