The Webinar--A Valuable Educational Tool


Wikipedia indicates that synchronous learning” refers to a group of people learning the same things at the same time in the same place.” Wikipedia also indicates that  “the term webinar is a neologism, short for Web-based Seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web, specifically a portmanteau of web & seminar, to describe a specific type of web conference. Some argue that webinars might be one-way,[2] from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, so one-way broadcasts are perhaps more accurately called webcasts. Webinars themselves may be more collaborative[3] and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.” (Quote Reference Site URL: )

            How puristicly we pursue the interpretation of  the definition of webinar is rather inmaterial at present as the webinar is gaining popularity both within the commercial and educational establishments.  This genre, however can  provide a high degree of audience interaction and be highly valuable for comprehensive interaction within the music field.   

             A good example of the work that is being done within the music education training profession can be  illustrated by the sessions at SoundTree  Sessions on music software, copyright law, building a music technology lab, conversations with  major  music innovators, are all being developed on a continual basis. SoundTree has an outstanding leader in our field in Dr. Jim Frankel who has extensive expertise as a music teacher at all levels and outstanding command of how to include technology into the music education framework.  Teachers can access continual live webinars through the SoundTree Institute, which provides great opportunity for online live “synchronous” learning.  Last year SoundTree presented  “METOS-the Music, Education & Technology Online Summit” which featured 16 separate sessions as a conference online.

            This year a second offering is being developed.  As a participant in this conference, last year I can honestly say that this conference was awesome!  No need to incur the expense of plane, hotel, and meals for the opportunity to learn and be interactive with the best professors and leaders in our field.  Actually, I have had more synchronous interaction through the webinars then I have had at some major conferences with drafty rooms, poor acoustics, and blurry screen displays inhibiting the personal communications with the presenter. With limited time for questions and usually no opportunity for after-session feedback these participant-travel “asynchronous” conferences would do well to adopt the online webinar format for effective dissemination of the material they attempt to present. With increasing problems of airport security, costly meals, and expensive hotel rooms, attendance at these conferences have lost the glitter, and value they once had, and synchronous online interactive conferencing can actually provide a higher level of educational learning and stimulation.

Pedagogical Suggestions