How To Make The Most Of Webinars In 2015

Education & Technology MOOC Online Education

Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.


Leroy Hood


rocky challenges

Image credit: Joe Ormonde Photographer

We all face New Year challenges and try to keep our dreams alive no matter how great the mountain of opposition may be. Whether these challenges come from things we can’t control, our own limiting beliefs, or a mixture of both, we can always find support in our communities and networks.

No matter what happens we need to feel passionate about the daily grind, the work we have chosen to do, the work that never fails to lift us up in the flow of creativity and inspired communication.

We can never allow ourselves to lose that.

A great way of keeping the magic alive is through tapping into the energy of those you admire in the field of education.

In the past few years I’ve been deeply involved in professional development and international teacher training initiatives. I’ve been inspired by what others have been doing with technology, education, psychology and community building.

Such work keeps us connected and keeps our hearts and minds focused on the bigger picture. I believe that we can maximise positive influence online through harnessing the power of live online teacher-training networks.

One way of doing this is by learning how to super-charge your webinar experiences. Today I’m focusing on webinars from the perspectives of the learner audience. My next post will feature webinar tips from veterans of the online stage for presenters.

We can all contribute towards lifting the spirits & skills of our online communities through sharing, communicating and supporting each other on practical, intellectual and social levels.

This  animated video I made illustrates what webinars can do for us when we are pro-active and enthusiastic.


Connecting online at IATEFL Webinars

While some of us may not get to attend conferences and seminars around the world, this is becoming less of an obstacle as leading organisations in English language teaching such as IATEFL are also organising online events.

Special IATEFL  events you can follow are their monthly events and dedicated SIG webinars.

The Membership Committee of IATEFL began a webinar series in May 2013 which features experts in the ELT field which are free-of-charge to all. Several of the SIGs (special interest groups) also organise their own webinars.

Dr. Nellie Deutsch is also bringing together creative leaders in the field to share significant ideas and  experiences online via the IATEFL YLT SIG.



Pictured above, Dr. Nellie Deutsch.

Screenshots images from presentations by Shelly Terrell, Maria J Garcia San Martin, and Sylvia Guinan.


British Council Webinars:

The British Council has done ground-breaking work in educating teachers online. From its famous Facebook page to it blog awards, it’s Teaching English Webinars, and finally, the MOOC it launched in 2014.  You’ll find that many of the concepts I share in the video above have already been brought to a fine art by the Teaching English Team.

The social concepts of talent spotting, spotlighting, collaborating, sharing and engaging international teachers from different kinds of backgrounds can be seen in action on the TE Facebook page on a daily basis.

Many bloggers and webinar hosts have been born & bred on this page, so to speak, not to mention featured and shared over massive social networks.

Part of fully experiencing the inspiration of global networks is to appreciate the heart & quality of massive teacher-centred initiatives.

The iTDi Global Network

Most of us who work professionally online have been inspired by Chuck Sandy, Barbara Sacomoto, associated ELT experts and writers, as well as member teachers of the community who host iTDi webinars online.

Recent iTDi initiatives were the iTDi summer school on WiziQ and their ongoing series of dedicated webinars at their teacher development institute such as ‘mission possible’,  by Shelly Terrell and Jason R. Levine.


The Reform Symposium:

Online global events featuring passionate leaders in education.

“Topics last year included mobile learning, gamification, differentiation, writing web tools, passion based learning, maker education, teaching english language learners, demand high teaching, Chess, puppets, Minecraft, digital portfolios, and much more!

Two of the keynotes were students who started their own companies and one of our presenters was a 10 year-old Youtuber who walked us through machinima and Mindcraft.Here’s a collection of links from #RSCON 2014.”

Here’s my collection of links to do with the event.


The Electronic Village Online:

Finally, the Electronic Village Online courses are now underway. Check out the list of courses and don’t forget to pay special attention to the etextbook teachers initiative by Shelly Terrell which I’m involved in moderating.

EVO was also featured on WiziQ by the IATEFL YLT SIG. Check out The EVOlution of Jan.
This features Janet Bianchini, one of the most dedicated volunteers at EVO whom I greatly admire.


Managing & implementing the flow of ideas you get from webinars and MOOCs.

The flow of  ideas generated by active teaching networks online is wild .

Sometimes I ask myself why we need books such as “Where good ideas come from?” when we are tapped into such rich global networks of thinkers and trail blazers.

Then I realise how some of these authors so eloquently appreciate the relevance of chaos.

As Steven Johnson says “Chance favours the connected mind”…!!

Inspiring webinars encourage you to dive into a

missing curriculum” for creative leaders by creative leaders.

(Behance 99u)


It’s about scaling creativity to fit the world we live in, and then changing the world as we scale to new heights.

We’ve got to:

“Apply the forces of business to creativity”,

(Jocelyn K. Glei and 99U, 2014)


This is what Jason R. levine and I have been working on with our ‘Build your Teaching Business online Course’.



We’ve been recruiting creative business edupreneurs to share their work and concepts for leveraging  professional ideas and making a real impact.

Jason has also been running a Featured Teachers Series where individual teachers deliver a myriad of presentation topics – a true feast of learning & influence online.


Here are the next few webinar topics and links for featured teachers on WiziQ:

1) The role of hip hop in education

2) Effective language learning

3) Are you playing or learning? Both

4) More about the featured teachers series.


Finally the message I want to share today is that professional development matters.

None of this art, pedagogy, caring or building would be important if we didn’t have an innate desire to make a difference beyond our own personal challenges. Being connected can enlighten one’s profession and answer the call for adventure in our working lives .

How can we remain inspired amidst the stresses of the daily grind?

By asking the right questions. A very provoking concept I recently read about provides us with one of the best questions ever. It basically challenges us to ask ourselves what would happen if our contributions disappeared from the stream of professional influence?

Would it make any difference?

Making a difference means making an impact. When we make an impact we change our environments. New environments bring about new experiences.

New experiences change our students and change us so we can change the world.

I’ll leave you with a similar concept from psychological perspectives, narrated on this podcast by Nick Michelioudakis.

listen to ‘THE RIGHT QUESTION’ on audioBoom.

Here’s to influence in 2015 without the noise and smoke;)

Further reading:

1) Make your mark: the creative’s guide to building a business with impact.
Jocelyn K. Glei and 99U ( 2014)

2) Manage your day to day: Build your routine, find your focus and sharpen your creative mind. Jocelyn K. Glei (2013)

3)The Small Big – small changes that spark big influence.
by Steve Martin and Noah Goldstein (2014)



Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

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