Designing Effective Webinars

As I transition into a new job in the business/education sector, I realize the importance of planning effective webinars.  I would like to share some information that will help presenters in the business and education setting as we communicate with others.  As teachers are flipping their classrooms and online classes are becoming extremely popular, meeting the needs of students and teachers is made easier by providing content in a meaningful manner.  In the business sector, this is the primary means of communicating information to our audiences.  Here are some tips that I gathered about planning effective webinars:

1. Slides do not need a busy colorful border, it distracts from the content of the slide. The eyes will focus on the border and will be distracted instead of focusing on the content. Simple slides hold the eyes attention better.  Google makes their slides simple so content is the focus, not colorful designs or background.

2. Meaningful, relevant images that illustrate the point will be remembered much better than a slide full of text. The brain can remember the image and the meaning/main point, but won’t remember a long list of bulleted text.  (This is how we teach students to design digital stories)

3. Graphic organizers with shapes, arrows, flow charts, work well to illustrate key points or the process and the brain captures the image for recall.

4. Links to documents, videos, and research should be embedded in the presentation for later viewing.

By using Google slides, I have been able to create a “website” type of learning environment for my audience with all the links to research, videos, pilot programs, and documents stored in the presentation. Attendees have taken the information and several have downloaded it to their computers either as a PowerPoint or in their Google Drive account via Google Slides. This has helped meet their learning needs along with the recording of the webinar. This is my work around since we don’t have a designated website for webinars.

Teachers: How Can I Help Meet Your Needs and the Needs of Your Students?

ISTE Padlet

Google Slides Presentation ISTE 14

When training teachers this past school year, I started each session with a question,“How can I meet your needs and ultimately meet the needs of your students?” I was in charge of training faculty and staff members for Title I Schools in Greenville, SC. I saw the tremendous pressure that our teachers were under this year as they implemented the Common Core State Standards and adjusted their teaching styles.  The vast amount of workshops, professional development, and meetings that teachers were required to attend this year was astounding. I knew how valuable their time was and I wanted teachers to realize that the tips that I was sharing with them would truly make a difference in their teaching and ultimately in their students’ learning.  I did not want to waste one minute of their precious time.  Whether I was training during their 45 minute planning period or after school for an hour, I wanted to be as clear and relevant as possible. Here is how I did this:

Google Documents  I prepared several Google Documents to gather information from teachers. One Google Doc was a Sign Up Sheet so teachers could request for me to come in their classroom and model a technology skill or app with their students while teachers observed and assisted me.  Teachers loved learning beside me with their students. Many times, I would tell the students, “Class, I’m showing you how to go to settings and adjust this feature, so if your teacher forgets, you can show her.”  It worked.  I truly taught the students how to do pretty hard technical trouble shooting that the teachers had a hard time grasping, but the students totally understood.  This saved me time, the teacher time, and the students’ time when they could problem solve on their own.  

Padlet as the Bulletin Board for Ideas I used to create a Choice Board for teachers.  I had several topics on the Padlet Wall for teachers to choose from based on the feedback I gathered from Google Docs.  I would present one or two ideas that needed to be shared at the beginning of my session, then I let teachers guide the rest of the PD by their interests.  We were truly operating in a 21st Century Environment with lots of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.

Padlet Walls: Science Techbook   January Menu Formative Assessment iPad Ideas and Teaching Strategies Teachers became interactive and shared links to websites and forms they used on the Padlet wall while we learned together.

Todays Meet I also ran a Today’s Meet during the sessions, so I could have a running record of their questions and comments. Many teachers used this same idea during their Literacy Stations after participating in Today’s Meet during training. Students were actively engaged in the lesson and didn’t mind adding their comments and asking questions in this environment. Some students were too shy to talk in class, but felt comfortable sharing ideas using Today’s Meet.  QR Code


New Adventure, New Career, Same Philosophy

I’m so happy to be blogging with you again.  As many of you know, I have taken a new job with an amazing company with a HUGE vision for education. SYNNEX is a Fortune 500 company located right here in Greenville, SC.  I am working with SYNNEX and Intel K-12 Education. I am assisting resellers and school districts as they decide which devices they would like for 1:1 initiatives.  I have the honor to work with the amazing people from Google for EducationIntel K-12 Education and the many talented people at SYNNEX. I am part of the Google Chromebook team and work with many other products that have Intel based processors.

Even though my career looks a little different than the 1st and 2nd grade classroom where I taught for all those years, my passion and philosophy are still the same.  I want to make life better for students.  I know that students learn best when they are engaged and technology is a tool that can motivate and inspire students to reach their academic goals.

One of my goals at SYNNEX is to spread the word about professional development (Intel K-12) and its importance for a successful technology transition in the classroom. I have seen this happen: When teachers hear they are getting a computer, they are so happy. When they find out they are getting some computers for the classroom, they are even happier.  But when they find out that all of their students will have their own devices, they are overwhelmed, scared and don’t know how to plan well or what to do.  This is why professional development is so important. At SYNNEX, we stress the complete package, teacher training is a must and you can get that through SYNNEX and with Intel for Education.

Schools districts all across the nation are buying devices every day, but are their teachers ready for this change? I know the students are!  Let’s plan well and start the technology integration training before the devices arrive and continue throughout the year.

My plan as an Instructional Technology Facilitator made professional development a natural occurrence in the every day life of a teacher.  I’ll share more on that thought in my next post.

Love you guys! Thanks for the opportunity to continue teaching through my blog and website.


California chrome wins again! @CalChrome #chromebook @fmauney This could be the year @NBCSports

— Roger (@rogermauney) May 17, 2014


Students Love Discovery Education Science Techbook

Quotes from students this year about the Discovery Education Science Techbook:

” Mr. Rowland, can I get Science Techbook at home?”

“Would it be OK if I took my username card home so I can work on this at home?”

“Science Techbook actually makes science fun!”

“We learned about Earthquakes on Friday and we had an earthquake on Saturday!”

“I think Science Techbook is the best because I love the videos, we all do!”

I have the distinct privilege of training teachers and students how to use technology in Greenville County Title I schools.  After attending a workshop with  Discovery Techbook in October, I decided to train teachers and students how to use Techbook and set that as my professional goal for the 2013-2014 school year.

Welcome Elementary School and Monaview Elementary School piloted DE Techbook this year.  I decided to spend time working with teachers during planning and after school to help them plan lessons and navigate the app.  The best part was modeling ways to integrate the amazing resources that are available to students using this app in their classrooms.

Welcome Elementary is a 1:1 iPad school and Monaview Elementary has a variety of devices such as laptops, iPads, mini iPads, Dell tablets, and 2 computer labs.

Both schools have a Virtual Science Lab and are able to partner with each other during Science experiments.

Here is the padlet wall that I built to help teachers with the Techbook Implementation. I took off the school specific information that I originally included on the padlet wall.

Here is a video as I introduce Techbook to students in 3rd grade.

Welcome iPad Learning Walk

On March 12, several teachers and Administrators from Anderson 1, Greenwood County and Greenville Schools came to observe the Welcome Elementary students and teachers in their 1:1 iPad environment.  We called it an iPad Learning Walk. The visitors were excited and extremely complimentary of the lessons they observed in the classrooms.

We created a survey to gather feedback and here are the results about a few things they learned on the walk:

  • how independent the students were
  • how well Related Arts were using the iPads
  • how well K5 and 1st grade use the iPad
  • how each class differentiated instruction
  • how knowledgeable the student leaders were
  • how useful the iPads were in every subject
  • how effective the use of Air Server was
  • how crucial it is to have an expert on site
  • how well the students behaved and were engage
  • how the classroom flowed and was differentiated
  • how much the students love the iPads
  • how feedback is generated for each student
  • how important it is to have a strong foundation and implementation BEFORE putting iPads in teachers/students’ hands
  • how an iPad classroom operates
  • how a number of apps worked across the various grade levels
  • how important teacher training and follow up is
  • how to limit apps

The apps they were most interested in were: Explain EverythingBook Creator, EdmodoDiscovery Education Science TechbookRaz Kids A-Z, HMH App for leveled readers, the ability to mirror using  Air Server, the usefulness of QR Codes, and the features of Padlet website.

For a list of apps and activities that students were using click here. Welcome iPad Learning Walk Activities (Responses)