Webinars, or web conferencing as defined by Wikipedia : ".... refers to a service that allows conferencing events to be shared with remote locations. These are sometimes referred to as webinars or, for interactive conferences, online workshops. In general the service is made possible by Internet technologies, particularly on TCP/IP connections. The service allows real-time point-to-point communications as well asmulticast communications from one sender to many receivers. It offers information of text-based messages, voice and video chat to be shared simultaneously, across geographically dispersed locations. Applications for web conferencing include meetings, training events, lectures, or short presentations from any computer."
No one denies the fact that webinars are growing fashionable these days and experts are trying to disseminate information to a wider audience and letting teachers from many countries connect and share ideas. These virtual meetings add a lot to teachers around the world, especially us (ie those who do not have the luxury to travel and attend those conferences and workshops everywhere in the world). Thanks to technology, and webinars more sepecifically, we can connect with other teachers, learn from their experiences, exchange ideas and gauge to what extent we can apply the best of these ideas in our context. It's true that my experience with webinars started with our MOOC course, and it's grown as an addiction. I have attended many so far and I long for attending more. What I can confirm to my fellow colleagues is that the first step is always the most dreadful. The word webinar used to fall on my ears as magic does, something unattainable and mixed with a lot of ambiguity. I was wondering how I could attend one and I was thinking it would be long before I could attend one, because I was crippled to some extent with a blocking astonishment and fear of failure. But once we start, we are keen on attending more and more webinars. One message I would like to convey by this blog post is to urge every teacher who has not the chance to attend one webinar. Please do not let your fear cripple you! You can do it because the benefits of attending such events are countless. COUNT on yourself to continue developing as a teacher and you will certainly find tremendous opportunities waiting for you to self-develop and learn more ideas every day. Now, when I go back to the very moment I was doubtful I would be able to attend a webinar one day, I laugh at myself. It's always good to hope for the better and think positively no matter how crippling the conditions are in our ELT world.
Eventually, I wish some renowned linguists, and ELT experts would think of a regular meeting via webinars with teachers from all over the world and hear from them. That would be very noble ! Nonetheless, youtube is a wonderfully abundant with past conferences and presenting a wealth of materials, instructions, discussions and opportunities to learn more.