Cum să structurezi și să livrezi webinarii pentru profesori
Webinarul (în limba engleză) de pe 23 iunie 2020 “Cum să structurezi și să livrezi webinarii pentru profesori” a fost cel de-al doilea dintr-o serie de webinarii dedicată organizațiilor non-profit care activează în educație, creat de Romanian-American Foundation, alături de US Embassy in Bucharest și Asociația Techsoup.
Invitatul acestui webinar a fost:
- Alan November, fondator al November Learning, numit unul dintre cei mai influenți gânditori ai SUA ai deceniului de către Classroom Computer Learning Magazine
The Romanian-American Foundation, in partnership with the US Embassy in Bucharest and Asociatia Techsoup, invited educational NGOs to the “How to structure and deliver webinars for teachers” webinar built to support Romanian NGOs that work in education. The aim is to support the transition to digital of teachers’ professional development programs.
Our guest speaker, Alan November, took us through designing webinars for teachers from goal to flow, key differences from offline seminars, do’s and don’ts in a webinar, and also how to create achievable learning goals in webinars.
10 Key Points from Alan November’s Webinar
On students’ learning
1. One of the key changes in education is student-driven education, moving away from teaching
students towards students learning how to learn. In students in the driving seat, they can even
be designers of problems, stimulating both creativity and content knowledge;
2. When students ask their own questions, they become more motivated to learn. Teachers’ role
is to help students learn how to ask better and better questions. For example, showing
unexpected, puzzling patterns before students engage with a new topic could be a good trigger
for questions and further to increase their motivation to learn.
On teachers’ learning
1. One of the most effective techniques for training teachers is to show student work (demo
lessons, students’ products). A new teaching methods or new content is better absorbed by
teachers when they see how it works in real classroom environment. When a trainer shows
students’ work, s/he should explain things in detail to help teachers understand students’ view,
how they think, how they learn. Also, the trainer should show common mistakes, what could go
2. To trigger teachers’ motivation for learning, trainers can show teachers their limits, that they
don’t know they don’t know, so they have a lot to learn. Trainers can expand teachers learning
horizons by challenging them on the advance use of common tools or concepts.
3. When showing a new idea/method to teachers, trainers must include information on
assessment and guidance on giving feedback to students. The trainer may illustrate student
work with a series of support questions that teachers could ask students on that work helping
students to self-evaluate and teachers to assess it.
On webinar techniques
1. Everyone should present in a way he is comfortable with, depending how one feels about the
topic, technical knowledge etc. Trainers should acknowledge their own personal style;
2. For a good engagement from the very beginning, trainers can use a slow start with a personal
story and link it to the content, with some amusement or dissonance (lining up things which
are not usually lined up together);
3. When presenting content or methods completely new to teachers, the trainer should
acknowledge the possible very different emotional effects upon participants (fear, anxiety,
4. In online webinars, participants’ engagement is very important. Some tricks: trainers can ask
participants to do the exercise in the same time with the trainer; give challenges to
participants; or ask participants to give a challenge to the trainer (see more on participants’
engagement in Alans’ answers to the follow-up questions – below);
5. Trainings in education need to improve the follow-up work to increase the chances of adoption
of the new content in teachers’ practice. For example, as a follow-up, the supervisor may ask the
teacher to provide evidence of students’ work with the new content/technique within a defined
timeframe (30 days).
Alan’s Answers to the Follow-up Questions:
1. What are the three top strategies to keep people engaged during an online webinar. You have used
a few techniques in the webinar, but which would you consider the most effective?
1. If we had more time I would have shown some multiple choice polling ( I use
Polleverywhere.com) questions on the webinar. I might start with a poll question to immediately
engage participants to indicate how they feel about a topic. There is no right or wrong answer. It is a
safe way for participants to become part of the content and to learn how they compare with their
colleagues. For example, “Who currently works harder in your classroom? Multiple Choice Answers:
Teacher, Student, Balanced. “Who should work harder in your classroom?” Teacher, Student,
Balanced. By asking a pair of related questions I can learn about their current reality and their preferred
reality. I will then comment on the results and try to gear my presentation to the preferred reality. With
this upfront polling I can learn how my ideas align (or do not) with the participants. I also feel by asking
participants what they think in the beginning of the webinar honors their views. Later in the webinar, I
will try to reference the results of the poll to “connect the dots” to support or challenge their views.
2. I also will use the word cloud response tool in Polleverywhere.com. Typically, I will ask participants
to try to answer with one word, for example, “What is the one change you are experiencing with online
emergency learning that you would like to continue when you return to the classroom?” My sense is,
that by asking an open-ended question where teachers can express their views and share them with
colleagues helps with engagement. It also helps me stay in alignment with their views. For example,
when I see the word cloud pattern and the word, RELATIONSHIP is in the center, I can make sure that I
highlight how my examples help support building relationships. Again, I also believe that most
participants are interested in learning how their colleagues feel about the topic.
3. I also believe by asking the audience to challenge me to demonstrate how to apply what I am
teaching to something from their own work creates a sense of engagement. You can decide if the
example of tracking smoking in Eastern-Bloc countries served that purpose.
4. As I said in the webinar, pre-recording examples of student response (form their school) to the
material you are presenting can be the most powerful engaging activity. I realize this can be difficult to
arrange. By showing how students respond to the skill set being presented also lends credibility to the
2. How do you create a safe and comfortable space for participants to work online during a training
(for teachers and further for children)?
Judicious use of anonymous tools can create comfort for those participants who do not want their
names to be printed in the chat window. Besides polling tools, there are text highlight tools such as
prism.scholarslab.org (an amazing tool offered free by the University of Virginia). This tool turns any
article into an immediate word cloud as the audience highlights aspects of the content with 3 different
highlight colors representing different interpretations of the text, for example, “best use of evidence”
. There are also paid versions of powerful anonymous tools such as Verso. Verso allows a teacher to put
in any content (video, text, photo) and students respond to the content with text. Teachers can see the
student names but classmates only see the content (no names). This tool gives teachers the control
they need, while providing students with the safety net of having an anonymous voice. Verso.com.
Giving students a choice of medium to express their knowledge can also help create a sense of safety for
students. For example, if you let students use MInecraft instead of writing a paper as I demonstrated in
the webinar, you can encourage more students to take the risk of expressing themselves and motivating
them to learn more. My personal belief is that we have so many tools available for student expression
that we should not make them uncomfortable about expressing themselves because they do not feel
confident with a specific medium such as writing.
3. Your interactive approach, including the activities with questions, are well fitted for an audience
which is used to have opinions and express them. For those, both children and adults, which are not
accustomed to being asked for their opinion (as a cultural trait) this approach is more challenging as
they usually freeze in front of such a task. How would you tackle this situation, how would you
In the case of an audience that you describe it would be best to use anonymous tools as described
above with very clear content choices to encourage engagement and feedback.