Skype virtual school visits


I have been virtually visiting schools since 2012, during which time I've done over 200 virtual visits with over 150 different schools in the UK, the US and beyond. You can find a map showing the schools I’ve virtually visited and some of the feedback schools have shared on Twitter at the bottom of this page.

After offering free 20 minute sessions for several years, I've now switched to offering longer, for-a-fee virtual sessions adapted from some of the most popular in-person sessions I do in schools and libraries. Outlines of these sessions are shown below.

I offer a 30% DISCOUNT for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking.

 

Virtual Visit Session Outlines

HOW THE BORKS BECAME: An Adventure in Evolution, illustrated by Ely Dolan

A short introduction to the concept of evolution.
Spot the Difference: Students are asked to spot the differences between the Borks’ appearance at the beginning and end of the book’s timeline and suggest how these differences might help the Borks to survive.
A reading of How the Borks Became: An Adventure in Evolution
Q & A: Jonathan answers student’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

PIGS, FROGS & PRINCESSES, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

A reading of Prince Ribbit.
Froggy Fact or Froggy Fiction Challenge: Students must tell fact from fiction in this "Would I Lie to You?” style quiz and learn some amazing facts about frogs along the way..
A reading of The Princess and the Pig.
Q & A: Jonathan answers student’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

 

THE CLOCKWORK DRAGON, illustrated by Elys Dolan

A reading of The Clockwork Dragon.
A short talk explaining the inspiration for the book and how the story was ‘recycled’ from earlier versions.
Q & A: Jonathan answers student’s questions.
Clockwork Creature collage activity: Jonathan creates a new clockwork creature by request and shows students how the clockwork creature kit can be used to to create other clockwork creatures. The kit is available as downloadable printouts which the students can use to create their own clockwork creatures once the session has ended.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

FAST AND FURRY RACERS, illustrated by Ed Eaves

A short introduction to some of The Silver Serpent Cup's animal racers and their vehicles.
A reading of The Silver Serpent Cup.
Design a Racer collage activity: Jonathan creates a new animal race vehicle by request and shows students how to use the kit of vehicle parts to create other vehicle designs. The kit is available as downloadable printouts which the students can use to create their own vehicle designs once the session has ended.
A reading of Cleopatra Bones and the Golden Chimpanzee
Q & A: Jonathan answers student’s questions.

Suggested Age: 5-9 years • Session Length: 45 minutes
UK Price £90 excl. VAT (£108 incl. VAT)
International Price $115 (payment via PayPal)

HERE BE MONSTERS, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

A short talk explaining how a five-hundred-year-old sea map inspired the story and introducing the animal pirates in Captain Cut-Throat’s dastardly crew.
A reading of Here Be Monsters.
Q & A: Jonathan answers student’s questions.

Suggested Age: 6-9 years • Session Length: 40 minutes
UK Price £75 excl. VAT (£90 incl. VAT)
International Price $100 (payment via PayPal)

PICK 'N' MIX

Two readings of a complete novelty or picture book or an excerpt from one of my first readers or chapter fiction books. Schools can request whichever two books they like and each reading can be followed by a Q&A.

Suggested Age: 4-9 years • Session Length: 30 minutes
UK Price £60 excl. VAT (£72 incl. VAT)
International Price $75 (payment via PayPal)

30% DISCOUNT for additional sessions booked by the same school as part of the same booking

 

I’m happy to consider virtual visit requests from any English-speaking school, providing the visit can be done between 9:00am and 9.00pm United Kingdom time on a weekday. If you are not in the United Kingdom, you can use the international time converter here to convert from your local time to UK time.

Virtual Visits need to be booked at least a week in advance There is no maximum group size.

Payment: I will email you an invoice shortly after the session. Payment must be made within 30 days of the session.
UK Schools:  I will only accept payment by either BACS transfer (preferred) or cheque.
US and International schools: I will only accept payments via PayPal.

PLEASE NOTE: My virtual visits should not be recorded without my prior permission.

Software: After using Skype for my virtual visits for several years, I've switched to using Google Meet as it's far simpler to use and administrate. If I accept your virtual visit request I will send you a Google Meet link that will allow us to see and hear each other via an ordinary web browser window at the arranged time.

I'm also happy to arrange one-to-one virtual visit sessions using Zoom*.

If your school is not able to use Google Meet or Zoom, I will still accept bookings using Skype, but prefer not to where possible.

I don't currently offer sessions using Microsoft Teams as it is incompatible with Apple Keynote, which I use for most of my sessions.

*I'm happy to do a group Zoom, with multiple logins, providing the school sets up and hosts the Zoom session with their own Zoom account.

 


What you need for a Virtual Visit

Technical Requirements

  • SOFTWARE: If you haven't used the video conferencing software you've selected (i.e. Google Meet or Zoom) to call someone using the school's broadband network before, make a test call a few days before my virtual visit using the software and hardware you intend to use to check that it all works. If your call is blocked, you may need to change your network's permission settings to allow the software to be used.

    WEBCAM / MICROPHONE: The webcam should be positioned as close as possible to the screen the students will be looking at, so that I can see the students' faces looking towards me. If you're using a separate microphone, this should be positioned so that I can hear the students clearly. A cordless roaming microphone, that can be passed from student to student is an excellent way of ensuring that students can be heard by the author.

  • SCREEN: Ideally the computer should be connected to a large video screen or white board projector, but as long as there is a screen of some sort that the students can see me on this is not essential. If you're using a projector in a brightly lit room, it's a good idea to turn off the lights or close the blinds near the screen or whiteboard so that the students can see me more clearly.

  • SPEAKERS: Sound is important! The students will need to be able to hear me clearly. Your computer’s built-in speakers may not be loud enough for my voice to carry to the back of the room, so you might need to use some louder, plug-in speakers or the TV’s speakers if you’re using a TV screen.

PLEASE NOTE: I am unable to offer technical assistance for individual hardware and operating system configurations, so if you are new to video calls please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with your particular set-up by making some video calls before your virtual visit with me. If you are intending to use external sound and video and have not done this before, please test these in advance too.

 

Other Requirements

  • A room full of enthusiastic students: Students will enjoy a virtual visit much more if they are already familiar with my books and are anticipating the visit. Arrange for the library service to provide you with a selection of my books before the visit including the book(s) I will be reading on the day – or you might even buy a few. Set up a book display in your classroom. Feature the visit as an upcoming event in school newsletters and include the address of my web site.
    Most of my visits include an opportunity for a Q&A and these work best when classes have thought about and prepared some questions in advance.
Portrait

BOOK SALES: If you'd like to order copies of my books from a book shop to coincide with my virtual visit you can use this book list / order form to do so. I'm happy to send out signed book plates (shown opposite) for any books purchased in this way.


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