I just had an author visit with a group of kindergartners and first graders 430 miles away at the Corpus Christi school in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. And I didn’t even have to put my shoes on. How cool is that!
One of the moms was kind enough to send along a photo of what things looked like from the other side.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well Skype worked for an author visit. The classroom was equipped with a smart board which they used to display the Skype call. On my end, I had a monitor set up at the far end of my desk so the kids were able to see me and also where I work. Skype even allowed me to share my screen with the kids so they can watch me draw on the Cintiq. I also used the screen sharing feature when I was reading my books. I had previously scanned in the book pages and set them up a power point presentation. That way the kids can see the illustrations nice and big and my mug didn’t get in the way.
The main drawback that I could see was the delay. If I said something funny (or at least something I thought was funny) I didn’t hear any laughter until halfway through the next sentence. It makes it a little hard to tell if you are knockin’ them dead or dying a slow death. But luckily I did eventually hear laughs at all the right places.
If any other schools are interested in trying this, please email me. I’d be happy to discuss.