The technology behind the webinar is Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ Pro Meeting. It is a pretty cool program that worked without a single issue. There are a few basic parts to the software. It runs in its own window and there is the ability to talk or type throughout the Webinar. All people involved can view the main window, but permission can be given to certain individuals to share their desktop, files, or (in our case) a PowerPoint. While everyone could see what Garth and I wanted them to, we also had a useful “green arrow” that we could point at certain things within our PowerPoint slides. People could also raise a digital hand to ask us questions. Garth and I were together for this webinar, so we ran it off of one computer; but we could have been anywhere in the world and still used the program successfully.
Being the first webinar that Garth and I have done, we had a good reflection session afterwards. The first thing that struck Garth and I was how strange it was to give a talk to 26 people that we never saw or heard. It was simply Garth and I sitting in a room starring at my MacBook. As teachers, we are used to having a live audience, even with Skype we can see who we are talking to. So it was definitely a new experience. We were very happy to see the Adobe program work without flaws; how often can you say that about a new piece of technology you have used? As is typically the case, both of use felt like we presented way too much information in forty-five minutes. It is so hard to judge what previous knowledge your audience is bringing with them. Usually as we do a presentation, body language and facial expressions tell us if nobody, somebody or everybody is following what we are saying; no such luck in a webinar! We were flying blind, but presenting some great information. We tried to focus our efforts and build upon each topic culminating with a quick explanation of our students’ online textbook. One point that Garth likes to make is that while individual tech tools are great for instruction; it isn’t until you start combing several tools that you realize the true potential of technology in the classroom.
Overall the webinar was a great experience and gave us the opportunity to talk to a group of teachers we may have other never reached. It is also great that INFOhio collects all of their Webinar and leaves them online for future viewing. This allows teachers to go back and review information, share presentations with colleagues during professional development days, or simply go back and look for that one great resource they remember someone mentioning.