Wednesday, 21 January 2015

2014 - the year of the Education Webinar

I don't know how NZ stacks up with the rest of the world in webinar participation but it feels like our teachers and the educational community in general are finally starting to 'get it' that they can connect with each other virtually and still have a quality professional learning experience.

We have been encouraging the educational community for some years to come into the virtual space so that our teachers can have access to professional learning opportunities that you don't have to drive miles to attend, find relievers to cover the extra time you need, or fork out loads of scarce PD budget for. Yes there is nothing so good as face to face but sometimes you don't really need to be there in person to achieve the learning outcome you are looking for. Blend it for balance - take the opportunity to f2f when it makes sense to and when you are thirsting for some more social contact or there are practical aspects that are easier to be there for - (conferences are great for this). Then make the most of a growing wealth of pld opportunities that fit more flexibly into your busy work life.

Originally through the NZed video conferencing network we collaborated to bring expertise to schools in our VC clusters for example - Julia Atkins, NZ Film Commission, MyPortfolio, StudyIt,  Now with a stronger, faster, more stable infrastructure, you don't need high end VC equipment or a dedicated bridge to connect, you can come in from the desktop (or mobile device) at school or home. Adobe Connect, Elluminate, Google Hangouts, Skype... take your pick.

ConnectEd Educator month was a real clincher for teacher participation in webinars, with many teachers connecting to a wide variety of sessions throughout the month, in Adobe Connect & Google Hangouts You can check out the recorded webinars archived here.

The Enabling ELearning team hold regular PLD webinars and these are archived here. Before this our VPLD team ran Hot Seat sessions - some sessions still worth checking out are archived here. Would recommend Karen's session on Social Learning (Karen is definitely the queen of the webinar - a fantastic & composed presenter :-) also Christina discussing Teaching as Inquiry.

And those are just our NZ webinars - there are so many opportunities to connect globally for example edWeb.net and Adobe Exchange. So make sure you follow whats coming up and plan your personal PLD for 2015. Love to hear of your recommendations of virtual PLD opportunities to follow!

Pinelopi Zaka from Science Alive running a PLD session on the Nature of Science, supported by the VLN Primary School.

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