Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'Discovering' Canadians at ISTE & upcoming DE webinars for all

The folks at Discovery really know how to throw a great party and I want to thank you all for showing us Canadians a great time while we were at ISTE. The food was great, the speeches were short, and we had a chance to meet up with other Canadian teachers interested in educational technology and instructional media which hardly ever happens.

The event was also a celebration of Discovery's first year in Canada. They now offer over 3 million Canadian titles to us. If you're in the IM program and missed the memo from Karena about how to get an account with DE Streaming Canada, Karen Goldman and Austin Dolan are the people to contact. You'll need to a different user name and email for your Canadian account.


There's a wonderful webinar series coming up in August (FREE!!!!!) and you don't even need to have Discovery in your school to participate.

(Click the image below and select Adobe reader to see the full-sized pdf version of the brochure. My blog columns are too narrow for the full-sized image.)

DEN summer 2010

If you haven't been to a webinar before, Discovery makes this easy. In addition to your computer, you'll need either a phone (no charge) or a headset to participate.

YOU start by registering. Using the DEN Blog link above or this sign up page, click each title that interests you. Each webinar has its own online form like the one below. (If you aren't seeing all of the next image, please click it.) I like to change the time zone to Pacific so I don't have to remember whether to add or subtract the 3 hours on webinar day.


When you register for your first session, it's also a good idea to check to be sure you have all the necessary media players. Use the "click here" link at the bottom of the registration form and check each all 3. If any need updating, Discovery has provided all the links you'll need.

Once you've registered, you'll be sent an email with the code for the session and information about how to log in. The email will also give you the toll free number for dialing into the session. The phone/headset option is needed so you can hear the speaker. My old phone is very tinny so I us my headset -- a wireless USB type that I wear on one ear. If you want to use your phone instead, when the webinar begins set it to speaker and prop it up so you can concentrate on your screen.

On the day of the session, use the link and the information provided in the email to join the session. If you don't want to use your phone, now's the time to choose 'headset' instead. Mine sometimes doesn't work unless I go to the control panel on my machine test the audio device settings before I log into the webinar. If there's a problem, you can always quit the session, readjust, and then rejoin it if you need to.

During these webinars the speakers share slides and their desktops with you as they talk. You can ask questions or participate in the conversation using the chat box on the bottom right of your screen, or you can speak directly with the presenter when the moderator is taking questions. He'll enable your phone/mike at that point so you can talk. Don't hesitate to ask your question or add your comment. Perhaps you have an idea or past practice of your own that worked really well and you'd like to share it. Perhaps you want some clarification. In my experience the more that listeners participate, the more interesting the session becomes -- but it's also OK to watch and type. That's the cool thing about these Discovery webinars -- whatever your comfort level, you'll come away with interesting information and cool ideas to use in class.

Generally the sessions are archived and if you ask either at the beginning (before everything gets rolling) or at the end, the moderator will tell you how and when you can access the links to the archives. These are often posted in the DEN blog, but ask anyway -- just to be sure.

I know that August seems like a long way off right now -- but I thought I'd let you know about this series now so that if you're heading off to the cottage or out on the road, you can find your wifi hotspots and join these webinars from wherever you may be.

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