Today she arranged a video conference meeting with her third grade reading group and children's author Robert Kimmel Smith, who wrote the books Chocolate Fever, and The War With Grandpa.
Her students prepared questions for Mr. Smith, who lives in New York City, after studying and reading Chocolate Fever. We invited other classes to watch and/or ask questions by broadcasting our meet over UStream.tv. We told teachers if they wanted to ask Mr. Smith questions they could get a UStream account and use the chat feature. We then relayed the questions to him for his animated and anecdotal answers. At one point we had as many as eight locations "tuning in," and I know some classes combined in a room with Smartboard so they could see and hear well.
Our students were TOTALLY engaged with this, and we prompted Mr. Smith ahead of time that we wanted him to plug his other books in the hopes that our students would take the initiative to read them as well.
This was our first attempt at this, but we see the possibilities and learn with each new product and "educational experiment." Mrs. McMillan will surely share more about this later. Here is the recording of the webcast if you would like to see our time with Robert Kimmel Smith.
Streaming live video by Ustream