DA op-ed: 5 tips to help prepare for your next teacher webinar
From blog posts to podcast episodes, there are so many ways to gather new ideas related to any topic. Some companies focus primarily on sharing information in this virtual format, and plenty of folks—myself included—use teacher webinars as a way to connect with an audience.
I’ve hosted hundreds of webinars, and I love this platform for teaching and learning. Both live and prerecorded teacher webinars can share information that is actionable and ready for you to try out in your classroom.
But making the most of a webinar goes beyond signing up and showing up. There are strategies that you can put into practice so every minute of a webinar packs a punch. In the list that follows, I’ll go through my favorite tips for making the most of webinars. You can also listen to more tips in the “How to Make the Most of Webinars” episode of the “Easy EdTech Podcast.”
Before joining a live webinar or pressing play on a recording, review the webinar description and expectations. Your time is precious, and you want to make sure that the webinar you sign up for is going to cover information you are interested in learning. Most webinars have a short description on their landing pages.
After reviewing the webinar’s description, jot down the questions you would like answered during the event. Having a list of anticipated questions can help you focus on a few key takeaways and stay on the lookout for the information that means the most to you. If you don’t find answers to the questions during the webinar, you can use them if there is time allocated for a Q&A.
Mark your calendar
Many webinar registration pages have an option to create a calendar appointment for an event. So if you use Google Calendar, you’ll likely see a button that lets you add the webinar event to your calendar. Whether or not this happens automatically, set a reminder to log in to the webinar a few minutes early, just in case there are some technical issues, such as downloading special software.
Part of finding a comfortable spot to watch a webinar is making sure that all the devices you may need are fully charged and ready to go. So if you anticipate the power running out on a device, make sure your charger is handy. Sometimes I know that I won’t be able to sit at my computer for an entire live webinar. When this happens, I usually log in on my phone; this way, if I have an appointment or if know that I need to run to the post office before it closes, I can just listen in for the last few minutes.
Taking action from teacher webinars
To truly make the most of a webinar, you need to put your learning into action. When the webinar comes to an end, and you review your notes, take a moment to commit to action. Educators who’ve attended a workshop with me know that I like to set goals using the phrases “this week,” “this month” and “this year.”
Your goals might not fall into all of these categories, but I encourage you to think of your next steps as soon as the webinar ends. This way, you will have made the most of the time you carved out to learn something new.
Webinars are a fantastic way to find out about something new. Whether you hope to spend more time this year learning through virtual channels or you simply want to up your webinar game, I hope these tips come in handy. If you have a strategy for making the most out of a webinar that I left off the list, let me know.
Monica Burns is an educator, author and edtech consultant, and she will be a featured speaker at DA’s FETC 2020. Visit her site, ClassTechTips.com, for more ideas for your classroom.
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