Conferencing Online in January – Aren't You Glad You Don’t Have to Find Parking?
January 24, 2015
I have to admit that this past week has been a bit of a blur. It seems to be the chosen time of the winter season to have a PD session. Here at TESL London, we did exactly that, and had our mini winter PD last Wednesday with Diane Ramanathan. I’ve also been involved in the REALIZE15 Cross-Canada interactive online webinar-based conference. As I write this, it is still ongoing. There is another full day session today (January 24).
I first joined the online conference run through Manitoba-based MyEnglishOnline last year as a participant. This year, I was one of the presenters. I had an advantage, however, in that I have also been helping to set up and manage TESL Ontario’s webinar series in Tutela. Realize15 uses exactly the same platform, so I had none of the technical worries or problems that some of the presenters faced. That said, even if tech issues came up, each webinar had a support team to iron out the problems and keep the conference on track.
Online conferences are an easy, free way to stay in touch with the ESL community. They are also yet another way for our members to obtain their 10 hours of yearly PD. You do need access to a computer, and internet to participate. Some locations across Canada gave their instructors time to go to a lab at work and participate in the PD. I found out that my session had been put up on the Smartboard and observed by a group in Saskatchewan.
Conferences I Virtually Attended http://realizeforum.ca/for-teachers/realize/schedule/
I attended Cheryl Howrigan’s online conference “Online & Blended Learning: What do Our Learners Say?”, an open forum on “Ed-Tech Chat” and Perspectives on Blended Learning in the LINC Program” with Paul Carter et al.
While the information imparted by the presenters was highly useful and relevant, the sidebar chat brought a connectivity element that you don’t get in a face-to-face lecture. Yes, being face-to-face brings other advantages, and you can connect at prescribed intervals, the online chat allowed the conversation and presentation to be dynamic, and to reflect the immediate needs and questions of the participants.
Granted, the sidebar chat is also a good, social way to say hi to a colleague who has moved out west, etc, but it really added an element of life and community, especially within the Carter et al presentation. They were a group of presenters from BC and their chat box was lively and constantly moving.
The conference continues today. If you use Twitter, the hashtag is #realize15.
My presentation was on POWTOON. Click here to find out more about what I did.
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I will have to watch the recording of your session. I was in another one at the same time. More great sessions today!