Thursday, May 21, 2020

Foster Connection and Interaction in Webinars

Screenshot of a webinar called: School website makeover
Some new to conducting online webinars may feel a void in this environment. Unlike teaching face-to-face you can’t read the room the same way. It may be difficult to pick up on non-verbal cues. You can’t walk over to someone and look over their shoulder. Sometimes it just feels like you are talking to an empty room.  The ideas below are designed to help fill the void, establish connections, and facilitate interactivity.

Before the webinar:

Here are some considerations to put in place to prepare for your webinar.
  • Select some background music you can play before the webinar to get folks starting in a good mood. Add audio to the opening slide. Perhaps also have audio at parts where participants are working too.
  • Create some pre and post quick polling questions and compare responses at the end. A meaningful poll can also lead to some good discussions/idea sharing.
  • Set up a whiteboard and think of some ways you might want to use it.
  • Create a workbook or checklist for participants to work on during the class. Encourage participants to take notes and engage with the material as you go along.
  • Dualless: This simulates a dual monitor. Good way to see what participants are saying while conducting the webinar.
  • Consider using Peardeck with your slides to make them more interactive.

At the start of the webinar 

Here are some items to consider as your webinar begins.
  • Introduce yourself and share what you are hoping to get out of this session. 
    • Doing this can clear up any questions or expectations about the session early on and also give you an idea of which participants you might be able to call on later.
    • We may want to get creative and have them each complete a slide in a slide deck. This can be going on as the presenter is going through housekeeping, etc.
  • Have different grade strands, subjects, etc. say woo!!
  • Create a room (using whiteboard, slides, Google Draw, etc.). Have folks use a photo, Bitmoji, etc. to seat themselves in the room. Do activities that you might do f2f where folks move around in the class, for example:
    • Stand in this corner of the room if…
    • You’re using such and such web platform
    • You have this role
    • Have a question? Come to the podium

After the start use some of these:

Here are some ideas you can incorporate during your webinar.
  • Questions
    • Call for questions from participants between each section of your presentation about every 10-15 mins
    • Ask questions of participants and have people reply in the chat, then pick some to paraphrase and reply to
  • Breakout rooms 
    • Could be alphabetical, according to birthday, or some other way
    • Give participants a task
    • Tell them to have a reporter ready to share when coming back
    • You can visit some of the rooms
    • Have everyone share.
  • What are some takeaways from what you learned just now. 
  • Does what I just shared make sense? If not, what clarification do you need? 
  • How are you feeling about what you’ve learned so far?
    • They can respond with emojis
  • Put some fun/funny slides in about the topic to encourage laughter
  • Kahoot to check for understanding
  • Use raise hand to call on people who may want to contribute


As the webinar comes to an end there are some final activities you can have participants engage in.
  • What are you excited about?
  • Lingering questions?
  • Post poll. Share pre and post results

Further Reading

These are the sources that many of these ideas were pulled from.

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