Monday, July 11, 2011

SimpleK12 Webinars are a good investment of summer time

Today I participated in a wonderful webinar by SimpleK12 on using word clouds in the classroom. It was called "Tag, you're it! - Free Word Cloud tools" and was taught by Kim Munoz, part of the "Wonderful World of Web Tools" series. This was my first webinar from this group, but certainly not my first webinar. I had a little trouble getting in, especially from my technology room at school, but once I got in, I was fully engaged the entire time. By the way, if you are on a Mac, and trying to get into one of these webinars from behind a firewall, such as a school network, I highly recommend using Firefox over Safari. After multiple attempts to join the meeting (gotomeeting) on Safari, and having Safari go unresponsive on me, I switched to Firefox, and got in immediately.

The webinar was an engaging half an hour giving me an over view of four word cloud sites and tips for using each site. (Look for the word cloud site review coming soon!) I could see where she was going, what she was typing in, what buttons she was pushing, and also hear her explanation of the steps she was taking as she went along. There was also a chat window on the side that offered me the chance to ask questions along the way (or offer a suggestion) that was shared at the end of the webinar.

The webinar was short, only thirty minutes, but yet, gave me exactly what I needed about some helpful tools I cold use in my classroom. I'm signed up for two more this week, and a few next week as well. Looking forward to getting some more professional development in while I have the extra time during the summer. My son, who came to school with me today to help work on some of the computers, followed the webinar right along with me, and learned a thing or two about using word clouds.

SimpleK12 has many different webinars to choose from on technology that are offered free of charge. They are presented by leaders in educational technology, many of whom I follow on Twitter and in my PLN. Some of the webinars offer include using Skype with your students, 21st Century teaching tools, using mobile devices in education, virtual field trips, how to convince kids that writing is fun, using Google tools, and creating posters in Glogster, just to name a few. All you have to do is go to the site (, select some webinars that interest you, sign up (name and email address), wait for the email, click the link on the email when its time, sit back and enjoy. Its that simple!

Now you could check out all these places and tools on your own or you can be actively engaged with others learning more about their potential with your students from other educators who already use them. Its only half an hour - that's the length of most sit-coms, and its summer time. You don't even have to drive anywhere to attend a workshop. You can participate right from the comforts of home, school, or wherever you are (with Internet, of course). What do you have to lose?


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