This week we are having a "virtual author visit" in the Junior High, and it's going to be really cool. A year or so ago some teachers had expressed interest in bringing Award-Winning YA Author to school, and I contacted her with the possibility of doing the visit via 'video conferencing,' using a Web 2.0 tool like Skype. Award-Winning Author wasn't familiar with this tool, said she might look into it, but our communication (and the idea) never went anywhere.
Early this school year, a School Library Journal article on author visits via Skype popped up in my RSS reader. Along with the article was a list of "authors who Skype," and among them were some familiar names, including Brendan Halpin, author of Losing My Faculties, How Ya' Like Me Now, and the Alex Award-winning Donorboy. Yippee! Donorboy, detailing the angry, hilarious and touching relationship between 15-year-old Rosalind and her suddenly-met, rather young biological father, has been an 8th grade Reading Bowl book for a number of years -- what if the 8th graders could meet with the author? Even better -- I e-mailed him, he replied the same day, and we're set!
I didn't reveal that this is a first for me as librarian, and for this group of Junior High kids. Brendan didn't reveal that this is the first time he's Skyped with a class. We came clean last week, and this morning we had a test run in the JH class we'll be using. Wow! The technology worked like a dream, the students got a taste of what we'll be doing later in the week, and I think the teachers are pretty impressed. I am really looking forward to the full-length visit. Thanks so much, Brendan! And, by the way, you don't really need to wear a tie for Paideia.
ps -- Kate Messner's updated Authors Who Skype list can be found here.