It is easy to take part in a live event with a little preparation! We encourage you to spend some extra time preparing your students/audiences and other teachers/educators at your school/location for this unique event so they can get the most out of the experience.
Prior to the live event:
Get some practice using the speakerphone or computer microphone; try it ahead of time if you need to.
Make sure that your computer has been set up and tested to run a webinar.
Make sure you know how to use all of the equipment.
Have your students review related materials about the upcoming presentation and then have them brainstorm some questions that they would like to ask the educator and researchers.
Occasionally, the educator is in an area that we cannot stream from, so make sure your students or other participants are aware that this may not be a live video feed. Technology is definitely getting better but we are only able to do video webcasts from some of the polar research sites.
In preparation for the live event you will need:
A quiet room
Pen and paper for notes, or note cards for students to prepare questions
Your speakers or speakerphone plugged in
A computer with Internet access that is projected to a large screen or on a large monitor so that everyone can see
Make sure your students know what an audio-conference is and what is expected of them. This includes asking only questions about the science and living environment, and if they have access to the chat, only submitting text that is addressed to the educator or researcher.
Your class comfortably seated. Arrange all students about the same distance from the speakerphone or as close to it as practical.
During your live event:
Whenever you are not talking through your computer or on the phone, please mute your computer (if it is not already) and use the mute button or enter *6 to mute and unmute your phone.
When asking questions, speak in your normal voice and volume.
Direct your voice towards the microphone or phone.
Try to not interrupt the presenters; there are usually 5-15 classrooms sharing the connection and we will get to questions as soon as we can.
Always identify yourself when speaking. Example: "This is Joey Smith of Fairbanks School speaking." Remember that people at other sites cannot see who you are, your facial expressions, or your surroundings.
If you are addressing a question or comment to a particular person, at another site, make sure you identify them by name. Example: "This question is for Dr. Sambrotto..."
If joining online, you may type your questions in the text or "chat" box and the facilitator will ask your question to the researcher as time allows.
The most common problems with live events are:
Classrooms not using the mute button and making it hard to hear.
Speakers mumbling or not talking directly into the phone.
Callers from remote areas getting disconnected and waiting for them to rejoin the call. This downtime can be frustrating, but it is part of the challenging logistics of communicating in the Arctic or Antarctica!