When I Skyped with second and third grade classrooms in New Hampshire last year, it was easy. Neither I nor the students had to stray far from our home bases. The students gathered in their classroom, and I sat down at my office computer. Although this was a first time experience for both the hosting teacher and me, we both managed to pull it off without a hitch.
Today, I'll give a list of the tools that are needed by the hosting teacher. Get ready to write the following list down. You may be amazed at how simple it is to get an author visit going, especially when you realize your classroom already possesses most of the tools you need. You'll need:
1. Internet access
2. A desktop computer or laptop
3. A webcam or document camera
4. A Skype account which you create on your own for free at Skype.com from the computer you will be using. This will entail coming up with a user name that an author or another classroom will use to "call" you when it is time to connect via your computers. Make sure you exchange user names with each other prior to the visit so that you can each go into your Skype account and add the other's user name as a contact prior to the visit.
5. A digital projector that will project the classroom computer onto a large screen that all the students will be able to view.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon - Making Connections for the Classroom (for both author and teacher).