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Professional Development Thoughts: Part I

Yesterday I attended my first webinar. The topic was using Edmodo (social networking) safely in the classroom. In some ways, attending a webinar seemed similar to a traditional lecture driven professional development session but there were also some differences. Like an “old school” presentation, the presenter talked through a PowerPoint presentation. The presenter was obviously knowledgeable and the presentation was smooth.

Since I was as interested in learning about webinars as I was social networking, I also signed up for the backchannel were audience members kept a running conversation during the presentation. While listening to a traditional session tends to be very passive the webinar was the opposite of that. While I was listening to the presenter, reading the PowerPoint and jotting down notes I was also trying to follow the backchannel conversation and fiddling with the webinar software (not smart). It was a little overwhelming. In the future I will need to be more careful with my attention especially with the backchannel. It can be very interesting but also distracting.

Overall, I think the advantages of webinars over traditional sessions are: some additional choice of topic, a small classroom feel (quite uncharacteristically for me, I even asked a question!) and convenience.