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5 wonderful websites for education webinars

Moderated by Kevin Hogan, eSchool News, Content Director

These webinars don’t just pitch products–they’re made by educators, for educators

webinars-educationMany webinars available for school administrators and teachers aren’t always full of information. Instead, they promote products or fee-based programs that administrators and teachers don’t have time to review when they’re searching for meaningful content. However, these five websites create some of the most information-rich webinars available for K-12 educators.

As educators (this includes everyone from teachers to superintendents), it’s critical to continue professional development (PD) by keeping up-to-date on current classroom practices, national standards implementation practices, and much more.

Yet, how many times have educators had to sit through a webinar billed as the most informative webinar of the year, but all the speakers are vendors, and actual useful information is never addressed?

The five websites highlighted in this article are by no means the only sources of education webinars, but for the price (all free), ease-of-accessibility, and quality of speakers, resources, and information provided, these hour-long webinars are always worth a watch.

From discussing autism teaching tips to BYOT strategies, and from implementing next-generation assessments to challenges facing chief technology officers, these webinars cover a spectrum of information in education—a spectrum every 21st-century educator can take an interest in.

*Be sure to check out the end of our list—we’ve included some bonuses!

(Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eSNPD. Next page: The five best webinar websites)

[In alphabetical order]

1. Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE): Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is president of AEE, a Washington, D.C.–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. The Alliance focuses on America’s six million most at-risk secondary school students—those in the lowest achievement quartile—who are most likely to leave school without a diploma or to graduate unprepared for a productive future.

AEE has recently focused a lot of its energies on its webinars, ranging from next-generation science assessments to ensuring quality in the shift to an all-digital curriculum.

All webinars list keywords associated with the topic, such as assessments, blended learning, or Common Core, and all past webinars are archived and can be viewed without the need to download any kind of conference/webinar-viewing software.

2. Brookings Institution: The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: To strengthen American democracy; to foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and to secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system. Brookings is consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted, and most trusted think tank, according to the Institution.

Though the Institution’s events, which are then archived online, are not technically considered webinars, many of the issues addressed in this think tank is based on months or years of research, feature speakers from the U.S. Department of Education and other notable positions, and many topics covered by the Institution are education-related. From events such as U.S.-China collaboration on early childhood development to Common Core-aligned assessments: You get what you pay for, these events help shape national understanding about current education events.

Many archived events provide video as well as audio; events do not require downloading additional software.

3. edWeb.net: edWeb.net is a professional social and learning network that makes is easy for anyone in the education community to connect with peers, share information and best practices, spread innovative ideas, and provide PD. The site provides an intuitive Web 2.0 platform that includes webinars, blogs, discussions, file-sharing, shared calendars, wikis, live chat, messaging, polling, and shared links. Communities (groups) can be created and linked for closer collaboration. Teachers and administrators can share best practices, information on what’s working, and support each other across schools, districts, states, the country, and even around the world. Many options are also available for schools and districts, colleges, faculty in a department, associations, community leaders, and education companies. edWeb is free for professionals in education and for educational institutions. Education companies are invited to join as sponsors.

Webinars, discussions, and forums cover a variety of topics and include everything from emerging tech for school librarians to game-based learning, and from the flipped learning community to digital citizenship. A full list of communities can be found here. All communities have free webinars and all webinar attendees will earn CE certificates. A webinar calendar can be found here. To watch the webinars or participate in communities, visitors must register, but registration is free and edWeb.net does not spam mail!

(Next page: The rest of the best)

4. EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO): EdTech Leaders Online is a nonprofit  national, capacity building, research-based online learning program based at Education Development Center (EDC). ETLO works with states, districts, virtual schools, colleges and universities, and other educational organizations to enable them to build successful online and blended learning programs for teachers, administrators and students. ETLO is the 2010 recipient of iNACOL’s Online Innovator award for Outstanding Online Program. Since ETLO’s inception in the fall of 2000, it has prepared more than 4,000 online instructors and designers who have delivered courses to over 45,000 educators and students in more than 35 states.

Many of the webinars ETLO provides are free for non-members, including “From Concept to Scale: Growing blended learning in a large high school,” “Creating Communities of Online Learners: Enhancing Course Content with Social Media,” and much more. See a full list of webinars here. To be able to view the webinar, your computer must be able to run Blackboard Collaborate.

5. eSchool News: Not to toot our own horn…okay, we’re doing it anyway. Search for “education webinar” in Google and our webinars are among the first mentioned—and there’s a reason. Our webinars are a great place to learn about new technologies, how your colleagues are solving concerns you may have, and more.  All of our webinars are free and all you’ll need on the day of the event is internet access. After you register, you’ll be supplied with a link to log-in at the scheduled time. Can’t make the date or missed a previous webinar? Don’t worry—our webinars are also recorded and archived. Upcoming webinars include “Going 1:1 with Google in Education,” “Language Learning in the Common Core Era,” “How to be a connected school leader,” and much more. For a full list, go here. To view our webinars, all you need is your eSN login information (and if you haven’t registered for us already, it’s free!)

Bonus round: These organizations require either membership qualifications or a fee, but their webinars and online PD are worth the money! Be sure to check out CoSN, ASCD, SETDA, and iNACOL.

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