A small group of excited students gathered in the library at lunchtime with their lunch and netbooks! They were about to have their first online meeting with Christopher Herz, an author from New York, to learn more about writing stories.
As we logged into skype, Christopher was offline and nowhere to be seen! Assuming his internet was down (as ours often is) I quickly emailed him to see whether he was still able to come in, as we were ready for him!Within 5 minutes, Christopher appeared in a skype bubble.
Christopher thought we were connecting on Tuesday……to which we immediately retorted that it was Tuesday and then……. realised it was Monday in New York! My email had sent through to his mobile phone and alerted him to our plight! The joys of mobile technology! The next 40 mins were spent under his charismatic direction. The two boys and seven girls:-
- shared with him why they loved to write
- listened to Christopher speak about character building for story purposes
- heard that a writer carries a pen with them at all times (In response to this, students waved their netbooks at him)
- thought about a character that they could create and add to a collaborative space. From this collaborative space, characters can be chosen for their stories.
- were keen to return next week with their characters complete and continue these virtual linkups at lunchtime.
Christopher and I skyped each other on the weekend to ensure we had the right time (we are now in daylight saving time, where I live)
- disucussed the procedures and the ultimate goals
- but….. I forgot the potential problem with different days of the week
- publicised the event on the school bulletin
- met with the interested students at recess yesterday to explain “Lunch with an author”
- finding a suitable time for students and Christopher to meet. I had hoped they could come out of class time but due to the large number of interruptions already, it was decided that it had to be during the student recess or lunch breaks. (This meant that only the ‘keenest’ of students would participate)
- hardware (booked the library and assumed the hardware was all setup, had to quickly connect web cam and microphone. Microphone would not work, so had to tweak settings
- listening to the students talk enthausiastically with Christopher who showed such keen interest in what they had to say. It was as though there was no sea between us.
- hearing Christopher coax the shy students into talking further and encouraging them all the way
- students sharing their interests on a level not often given time for, by teachers in the classroom.
- Skype behaved perfectly – the audio and video did not falter at all!