Monday, April 7, 2008

TWICE + ASK = IVC Author Visits

In Michigan, teachers who want to bring authors or other specialists into their classrooms through remote visits have the organization TWICE and the ASK process to help make the connection. TWICE, Two Way Interactive Connections in Education, is dedicated to providing interactive videoconferencing (IVC) opportunities for Michigan K-12 schools. TWICE offers virtual field trips, professional development, shared classes (especially at the high school level), technical support and ASK Author Visits.

TWICE teams up with school districts to provide Author, Specialist, Knowledge (ASK) Author Visits, interactive videoconference sessions. In the program, children's book authors are interviewed, especially those who have some expert knowledge of an issue or who can offer insight into the novel or text students have read. Students create the questions to be asked during the IVC session. Because of the remote access, up to three different classrooms, regardless of location, can participate in a single IVC session.

The ASK process itself was developed by Dr. Raymond Kettel at the University of Michigan-Dearborn to structure the interview and IVC process for students, teachers and the authors and specialists involved. A notable aspect of the step-by-step process is the emphasis on preparation before the session; of the thirteen steps provided, nine occur before the day of the IVC session. Students move from reading the book to creating and choosing questions to practicing the asking of questions, an important step to success and efficiency in the IVC session.

There is a fee and some important procedures to adhere to for participation in an ASK Author Visit. Test calls are held each month for participants to test their connections well in advance of any IVC. A 2007-2008 schedule is up at the ASK webpage and is regularly updated. The last program for the year will feature Gary Schmidt, author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, recommended for middle school students.

The step-by-step ASK process and the additional advice provided are great tools for any remote specialist or author visit. The Cooperating School Districts (CSD) in the St. Louis, Missouri, metro area also use the ASK process for their IVC author visits. Most recently, CSD hosted an ASK author IVC with Lauren Myracle and three middle schools. It's great to see organizations like TWICE and the CSD helping teachers and schools bring authors and other specialists into classrooms.

SOURCE: "About TWICE" 2007
SOURCE: "ASK: Author, Specialist, Knowledge" 3/12/08
SOURCE: "Author Visit: Lauren Myracle" 4/1/08
photo courtesy of Noah Sussman, used under this Creative Commons license

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