Thursday, April 27, 2017

Three Tips for Getting More Out of Webinars

About nine or so years ago I watched a webinar for the first time. I can't remember exactly what the webinar was about (it was something about Second Life), but I do remember thinking that I didn't get "it." After that I watched bunch of free webinars about all kinds of things because that's what I thought I should do to be a modern teacher staying current in his practice. Finally, in late 2011 I paid to join a webinar and something weird happened, I got a lot more out of the experience. Since then almost every webinar I've attended, both free and paid, has been a good learning experience. Here's what I figured out about learning from webinars.

1. Participate in live webinars, don't just watch them.
Every webinar platform has some kind of chat or Q&A feature. Use it! Use it to ask the presenter questions. An experienced webinar presenter will be able to handle questions in realtime. Don't be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Even when I'm attending webinars about things with which I'm already familiar, I make an effort to think of questions to ask. This forces me to tune-in and listen with more focus than if I was just listening in the hopes that something said by the presenter will jump out at me.

2. Close Facebook and take notes.
If I cannot attend the live version of a webinar, I still find great value in recorded webinars. When I watch recorded webinar I focus on it the same way I would during a live session. That means closing Facebook and taking notes in my notebook. In that notebook I write the questions that I want to send to the presenter via email.

3. Act on webinar ideas quickly.
When I participate in a webinar my participation isn’t over until I actually act on what I was just taught. Just like in a traditional classroom setting, it’s important to try for yourself what was just demonstrated for you. Do this as quickly as you can.

If you’re ready to try learning through webinars, take a look at the online courses that I'm offering this summer. And if you're a subscriber to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter, check your email for a discount offer that was sent on Wednesday.

Practical Ed Tech Live - Tomorrow Morning With a Special Guest

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 EDT I am hosting another edition of Practical Ed Tech Live in which I will answer your questions about all things ed tech. This week's episode will be coming to you live from the waterfront in New Orleans with a special guest. That guest is my daughter Isla Quinn. Why we're broadcasting from New Orleans will be revealed in tomorrow's show.

You can join tomorrow's live broadcast by joining us on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to my channel and you'll receive a notification when the broadcast goes live. Watch this video to learn how to subscribe to a YouTube channel.

Tomorrow morning I'll answer questions that are submitted live on the broadcast. I will also answer questions that have been submitted in advance. Please use the following form to submit your questions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Love a Good Keynote...But I'll Take the Workshop

I love to listen to a good keynote presentation. Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover is still one of the best I've seen in terms of challenging status quo in education. Angela Maiers and Vicki Davis speak with passion that is infectious and unsurpassed. And when I am given the opportunity, I enjoy giving the keynote at a conference. That said, I enjoy even more the opportunity to spend hours working with teachers in hands-on workshops because at the end of the day I know for sure that those teachers are walking away with something new that they can use. That is why I every spring I start to get excited about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps.

The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps provide you with sixteen hours of hands-on learning in a small, collaborative environment. I hope that you can join us this year. Discounted early registration is available for five more days.

Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp registration form. 


Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp registration form. 

This Online Audio Editor Is Beautiful

Beautiful Audio Editor is a free audio editor that you can use in the Chrome and Firefox web browsers. Beautiful Audio Editor lets you record spoken audio directly and or import audio that you have previously recorded in MP3 and WAV formats. You can edit and blend multiple tracks in the Beautiful Audio Editor. When your audio editing project is complete you can download it as an MP3 file, download it as a WAV file, or you can save it in Google Drive.

For the last few years I've recommended using Twisted Wave to record and edit audio on Chromebooks. Beautiful Audio Editor offers more options and is what I'll be using on Chromebooks from here on.

Applications for Education
Beautiful Audio Editor could be a great tool for your students to use to create podcasts on their Chromebooks. The use of multiple track editing will let your students fade-in music or other canned introductions. Likewise, they'll be able to splice in audio samples in the middle of spoken tracks and or under spoken tracks as background music.

Learn more about using Chromebooks in your classroom when you attend the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp.


Live Video of Owls, Ospreys, and More

Explore.org offers the largest collection of live nature webcams on the web. In the gallery of live webcams you will find video feeds featuring owls in their nests, ospreys in their nests, and bald eagles in nests, and video feeds featuring puffins. As it is spring in the northern hemisphere, the bird videos feeds are the best they will be all year because birds will soon be hatching in those nests seen the webcams. For the last ten minutes I've been listening to and watching the nest of this Great Gray Owl in Montana.


Applications for Education
Birds aren't the only animals featured in the Explore webcams, they just stand out right now because the rest of the year the nests will be empty. Your students can certainly explore all of the other webcams on Explore that feature polar bears, tigers, goats, and many other mammals. All of the webcam feeds have a little pop-up menus that contain more information about the animals featured in the feeds. All videos can be streamed via YouTube or the Explore website. I kind of like just having the owl webcam on as soothing background noise, students might like that too.

Explore.org does have a dedicated education section that offers free lesson plans based on the videos available to stream and or download.