My Ebook and App class at Rutgers is coming to a close. Next week my students will present their projections for what specific libraries should do about ebooks and apps over the next 1, 3, anad 5 years. As a final step, I invited Vicki Cobb to visit us to talk about her ambitious experiments with having authors do viritual visits to schools. In my mind, these virtual visits and the ongoing relationships between school and author they make possible is part of the horizon of possibility of digital publishing. Because, for us in NF, part of what we are offering to young readers is a model of our process — how we research and write our books. And Skype and similar tools make it possible for us to be embedded in a school or class over a semester or year.
Vikki, it turns out, does not need to rely on sometimes-kludgy-Skype, she has better equipment whicht Rutgers is able to connect to in a special media room. The advantage was that we had a better image of Vikki, and two separate screens to see what she saw of us, while we spoke with her. We had a lively class, as Vikki talked about the experiment they are doing working with a school over an extended period — a test case in what author, class Skyping can be. Though I am not part of that group, I have been having very similar discussions with schools. I like the idea of creating an ongoing relationship with a school, its teachers, its librarian, and its students where I share my process and they can use me as a resource — but all of this is done via Skype, so no travel, and not a big claim on my time
Take a look at the INK Think Tank site, I’ll report back from my experiences, and please post your thoughts. Can we all come up with FAQs on Skype visits, rules of the road, techniques for creating better Skype visits, a cost structure, tips and disasters — in other words, share and build a framework for what to do and how to do it?