Frequently Asked Questions
What technology do I need?
The virtual visit can be run using a basic webcam with microphone, your interactive whiteboard or projector and screen, and a broadband connection. These are all technologies that you probably have in school already. Alternately you may have access to dedicated video conferencing equipment, which can be used instead.
We will provide all the information you need to get started, and if it helps we can arrange a test call before the event to ensure everything is working fine.
What do I need to do before the virtual visit?
There are a number of things that you can do to both prepare your pupils for the visit, and also to help us tailor the visit to the needs of your pupils. If possible it would be great if you could:
- Explain in advance what is going to happen. Talk about some of the technology you will be using, such as webcams and Internet connections, and compare this to technologies pupils are using at home.
- Discuss and make a list of questions that they would like to ask. Decide who is going to ask which question.
- Use the opportunity to think about how a group discussion works, how it’s important to take turns and that not everyone can participate as an individual. Also think about the importance of loud, clear voices that the microphone can pick up easily.
- Think about how you will arrange your space for the visit. Will everyone be able to see the screen or interactive whiteboard? Where will you place your camera? Do you want the camera to see the whole group, or maybe focus on a place where individuals will be asking questions? You might want to have a chair or space reserved for pupils to sit when they ask a question. Is this close enough to the microphone for them to be heard clearly?
- You might want to prepare something to present during the visit, to demonstrate what pupils have already learnt or been doing in the classroom.
- If possible let us know what questions you’d like to ask, and also if you would like to present something beforehand. This way we can make sure we plan enough time to allow as many questions to be asked as possible in the time available. You can do this by emailing us a few days before the event. Please ensure pupils do not post full names or other personal information on any work you send.
Do pupils need to do any work before the virtual visit?
No! We know how busy schools are and how precious teachers’ time is. Therefore there’s no need for pupils to do any work beforehand – some of the time!
However, you are more than welcome to use the video conference as a stimulus for any curriculum activities you would like to plan in your classroom. In addition the video conference would be a perfect vehicle for presenting any work your pupils do. For instance, if your pupils are writing poems, letters or stories, creating artwork or taking part in technology projects and you would like to use the virtual visit as a forum for presenting them, then by all means bring a selection along to the event.
All we ask is that ideally you let us know about your plans a few days in advance, so we can make sure we leave enough time for pupils to present everything.
What questions can we ask during the visit?
We are sure your pupils will have no trouble thinking of questions to ask, and we are happy to answer any questions no matter how big or small. Remember the presenter will be in the role of a character, and therefore the way that questions are answered will be influenced by the character chosen. Henry VIII may be happy to discuss his many wives, but don’t expect him to be too sympathetic towards some of them!
Help! I’m stuck
Don’t worry! If this is the first time you’ve taken part in a video conference it’s only natural to be a little anxious that something might go wrong. If you’ve any concerns or questions, no matter how small, we will help. All you need to do is ask