Sunday, March 3, 2013

Now that was awkward...

As my 9 year old son loves to point out to me, when things just don't seem right he considers them to be awkward.  That is the feeling I had hosting my first Webinar. 

I started by creating an account on the site:  USTREAM.  As this was my first attempt at doing something like this, I chose not to create it through my Facebook or Twitter as I wasn't sure what it would then do to those accounts.  I watched a couple other live broadcasts that were running at the time and then made a few samples of my own.  I am definitely meant to be live, as in in-person, and not live through video.  I can easily stand in front of a classroom of 30 or a crowd of 1600 and talk.  But for some reason, that little camera in front of me just does something to my nerves!

The first few videos I attempted were of various lengths and just were me babbling about anything.  It took me awhile to find how to play them back, but once I did I quickly found the delete button as well.  Once I felt I understood how it worked, I sent myself a sample e-mail and tried the link.  I got a little flustered with the commercials.  I was hoping not to have them, but then I would need to purchase into the program and I wasn't ready to do that. 

I decided to do a Webinar as a recap and an update of all that our youngest daughter has accomplished.  It was four years ago this week that we made the decision to adopt her from Honduras and began the legal proceedings.  I then set my date:  March 3 and time 5:00PM for my live webinar.  I sent out e-mails to every friend and family member so that they would have the link.   Here it is:

Hello, everyone!

So, for one of the courses I am taking during my year off, I have to create a Webinar. This is all very new to me, so for my first attempt, I am only going to share it with family and great friends I consider family.

At 5:00PM Eastern (2:00 on the West Coast), please click on this link:

to join in on my webinar. It will basically be a LIVE short presentation on Cesia Maria. It will only take a few minutes, so if you are able, please log in and enjoy! If you are not available at 5:00, it will be recorded so you will be able to see it later.

OH, there will be a short 30 second commercial to start. There is no way around that. Sorry!

Hope you are all well! Thank you in advance!


I then worked on a power point to use to show pictures of Cesia that we have received over the years from missionaries who had met her.  Many of these pictures were never seen by family members.  I then asked everyone in my home to log onto their device and see if they could connect to my webinar.  It took a little while, but everyone with a "newer" device got right on.  I was amazed to see that not only our desktop and laptops worked, but also our Ipad, Kindle, and smart phones.  It just proved how truly "accessible" things are. 

One of our biggest frustrations was that the majority of my viewers do not have Facebook or Twitter so they were not able to log on and make comments.  Until we ran the test runs, I wasn't aware of this.  Maybe if I were to have created this on a different program, this would not have been the case.  It did result in a lot of phone calls when we were all done!!!

I was able to see how many people I had viewing my webinar, but as the majority could not comment, I could not see who they were.  At no time did a name ever pop up anywhere.  With the webinar I attended earlier in the week, we were all able to see who was in attendance.

As for the actual presentation, it went as well as I had hoped, but definitely not professional quality!  First, I could not figure out a way to upload my powerpoint to UStream so I just placed my camera in front of the computer screen and advanced it as I read my script.  If I were to ever do this again, being able to upload a video or powerpoint or other presentation program would have to be a must!  Of course my 4 year old didn't take a nap today so she wasn't the most cooperative, but still as cute as ever!  I was able to record and save the Webinar so here it is:

Do I see myself using this in the classroom?  Possibly once we find a school in a Spanish speaking country to connect with, then absolutely yes!!!  I would think that the instant response and communication would be best!  Although there was a bit of a delay in the broadcast today, I do think this could be beneficial in this specific situation.  I've enjoyed the links in this lesson to see how students spoke directly with famous athletes or astronauts.  That is most definitely taking the learning out of the textbook!  I need to start working on some high-power contacts!!!

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