Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How Webinars Have Transformed my CPD

Until a few months ago, my CPD consisted of my own reading, attending an odd seminar when the opportunity arose, and my weekly participation in #eltchat on Twitter.  Not being fortunate enough to work for institutions which put much emphasis on the professional development of their teachers, or indeed with colleagues who were interested in their own, these methods were all that were available to me.  I didn't mind too much.  I felt that I was keeping up to date with what was happening in my field and that I was serving my students well by taking the best of what I learned, particularly through #eltchat, back into the classroom.

Then I discovered webinars.  I can't remember what the topic of my first one was, but I do remember that it was good to be a part of a global meet-up of teachers, all with a common interest and with similar problems and issues in their daily working lives.  The opportunity to 'chat' with these colleagues before, during and after the webinar meant that it was a social experience rather than a solitary one.  And I learned so much!

Since then, I've attended webinars presented by some of the biggest names in the ELT field on a range of topics from 'How do we generate language from a topic?' and 'Digital literacies' to 'Creativity in ELT' and 'The difference between written and spoken grammar'.

These webinars have been hosted by organisations such as:
I tend to make copious notes during these webinars which I then summarise and keep as a record of my CPD.  Some of these summaries make their way on to this blog, as a reference for myself as well as a help for other colleagues in the blogosphere.  Others have been used as the basis for workshops in my current place of work.  Professional development has not been given much focus here, but, slowly, this situation is changing, and I have high hopes of helping with the implementation of a more formal series of training sessions in the new academic year.

There have been times when I've been unable to attend a webinar which was of particular interest to me, and I've tried to watch the recording later.  For me, however, this hasn't worked.  I like the immediacy of a webinar and the fact that it is a shared experience rather than an act of solitary learning.  There is a bit of a lull at the moment in the number of webinars on offer, mainly due to summer holidays, but I'm already registered for one or two in September and am looking forward to another fruitful period of CPD.

8 comments:

  1. Excellent post Andrea, thanks. I feel the same and can't quite believe how much free PD there is available now via webinars. Unfortunately most are at unfavourable times for me in Australia as I value my sleep very highly :-) so I do rely a lot on the recordings. I miss the interaction and immediacy of being there live, but most still provide very useful learning for me.
    Regards, Lesley

    ReplyDelete
  2. P.S. You didn't mention these, so just in case you haven't discovered them yet ...

    Shelley Terrell's free Friday (Saturday morning for me) webinars for American TESOL: http://americantesol.com/tesol-lectures.htm

    South Eastern Europe Teachers Associations (SEETA) hold webinars and/or online hosted discussions every month or so - all free and most are open to all: http://www.seeta.eu/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lesley - Thanks for taking the time to leave these comments!

      I'm aware of Shelley's webinars, though I haven't attended any because they're on in the early hours of the morning here.

      The SEETA ones are new to me, so thanks for the heads up - I'll check them out.

      Delete
  3. Hi Andrea. I am also relatively new to this. I've only started using webinars this year as part of my MA programme and, subsequently, have been involved as a participant in a few. I've now hosted my first couple, using WIZiQ and am now using Blackboard Collaborate to carry out interviews for my dissertation on teachers' ICT use in ELT. I presume you know about Nicky Hockly's e-book which just came out - if not take a look - http://the-round.com/resource/webinars-a-cookbook-for-educators/ - meanwhile I am wondering if you would able to speak with me this weekend for 20 minutes online about the views you summarised for the #ELTchat on Dinosaurs and CPD. As you know, I've already quoted you and it could be nice to top and tail my reserach with quotes from you... ;-) if so send me a tweet - @teacherphili

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Phil - yes, I bought Nicky's e-book, but haven't had time to read it yet!!

      I'd be happy to talk to you. As you've probably gathered by now, I'm travelling at the moment. We're flying back to Vietnam tonight, so would probably be free some time tomorrow afternoon if that suits you. (We're BST +6)

      Delete
  4. Well, as you might know, I am interviewing Lesley (above) just beforehand, maybe I can ask her to stay around. I sent you the link separately on Twitter. Don't worry if you can't get through due to 'technical issues', but it would be great if I can get a few quotes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome post Andrea! I am also relatively new to this. I've only started using webinars recently. In an age when event budgets are being cut and broadband Internet access is rising, webinars are becoming increasingly popular. I do rely a lot on the recordings. I miss the interaction and immediacy of being there live, but most still provide very useful learning for me. I have tried to put together few in sites on hosting a webinar. Do check it and let me know your feedback. Cheers!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. In an age when event budgets are being cut and broadband Internet access is rising, webinars are becoming increasingly popular. Webinars are web-based seminars, that usually include over 30 participants and are used to conduct presentations, workshops, lectures and large-scale meetings. Since webinars are held online, they allow companies to save money on travel, catering and venues, all of which are costs commonly associated with face-to-face seminars. However, due to their large attendance, webinars need careful planning in order to be successful. This is why those planning on video conferencing need to take their time to ensure that they properly go through all the necessary steps which will ensure the webinar’s success.

    ReplyDelete