On Wednesday February 27th I took part in a webinar from the Buck Institute about STEM PBL. The Buck Institute provides great training and resources for learning about and implementing project-based learning (PBL) in your classroom. I have taken part in two hands-on PBL training sessions about Project Based Learning with the Buck Institute (PBL 101 and PBL 201) in Red Deer and participated in a few of their webinars.
Why Host a Webinar
Whenever possible, I prefer layered learning – sharing and connecting with others who are learning at the same time. When I am taking part in a webinar I like to back-channel, Tweeting out my learning and participating the chat for the event, as well as front-channel, taking to other people in the same room. Because of this, if I am taking part in a webinar during working hours, I invite my co-workers to join me and host a webinar.
How to Host a Webinar
Hosting a webinar is pretty easy, especially if I am not the one doing the presentation. I book a conference room that has wireless access to the internet so participants can back-channel if they want to, and send out invitations. On the day of the webinar I arrive a little bit early (in case I need to download software or there are other technical issues) and connect my laptop to a data projector and speakers so that everyone can see and hear the session. During the session I use my iPad to take notes and Tweet out my learning and only use the laptop for the presentation because switching between the presentation and anything else can be distracting for participants. After the session I email participants copies of my notes, any links or resources that were shared and a link to the archived presentation (if available.) I also try to blog about the session as another way to share my learning.
The webinar on Wednesday was about integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) into PBL. The presenter, Michael Gorman (@mjgormans), a Buck Institute National Faculty member, demonstrated some of the software he uses and demonstrated several websites that can be used for PBL or to scaffold learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. All of the links he shared, plus many other useful resources for STEM PBL are available in his blog post PBL Meets STEM: Delicious Main Course of Resources and Ideas. A description of the session and a link to the archived Blackboard session are available here.