From Seminars to Webinars
Teachers and administrators are consistently involved in professional development and training. However, cost for attending seminar and conferences has always been a challenge for many schools. Additionally, students have to take long trips to speak to professionals or vice versa to encourage contextual learning. With the use of communicating and collaborating technologies, professional can attend web based seminar, webinars, which have all the characteristics of a seminar, except presenters and attendees are separated by time and space. Some Webinar providers are:
- Microsoft Meeting: http://www.microsoft.com/online/office-live-meeting.aspx
- GoToWebinar: http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/webinar
- Edmodo: http://blog.edmodo.com/2010/07/27/announcing-edmodo-weekly-webinar-series/
- WebEx: http://www.webex.com/overview/mobile-meetings.html
Webinars can be of benefit to society in that there is less consumption of energy. Since there is no needed for travel to attend. Many underprivileged can participate in a webinar. With a webinar, participants can participate in the comfort of their own home. Additional benefits of a webinar are: it can be interactive and accessed for further reference, since most presenters save and archive the presentation. Educators can create and moderate their own and invite others to join or accept an invitation to join one. Teachers can schedule interviews with experts from remote location; it is cost effective since there are no travel and hotel fees involved.
In spite of its usefulness, there are some challenges; functionality is dependent on the vendors. Sometimes there are software restrictions that the users are unaware of. Consequently, there may be problems during the seminar. Since many of the challenges are associate with production and software restriction, this technology can be improved by educators working along with vendors to help to effectively design the program to meet the needs of educators