Scientists and explorers can you help support education?

This is an ask for support on behalf of children and families in the face of school closures. Can you spare an hour or so over the coming weeks and months to deliver an online live talk to all those students who are now at home?

At Encounter Edu, we are working to provide as much live lesson content as possible up to the end of the summer term at least. We’ve had hundreds of bookings for our existing Live Lessons over the past days, and they provide a really useful educational tool during this time of school closures.

The ask
  • Do you have a 30 minute talk you could give to a school audience?
  • This could be a version of a talk that you have already given to schools.
  • If you haven’t given a talk to school audiences below there are some tips below.
  • In terms of your time, there will be a bit of prep, a short test call (we use Zoom, again details below) and an hour to give the talk itself (including time for set up and live Q&A).
  • At the moment, we will be prioritising those who have experience of delivering public and especially school talks.
Next steps
  • Send an email to [email protected] saying ‘Yes I’m in’.
  • Let us know your available dates. Currently we are looking to programme through the Easter holidays and to the end of May, and then stock take. See coverage calendar below.
  • We’ll then get in touch to schedule your talk and ask for some further information.
What’s involved

Our live lesson format is going to be pretty simple for the foreseeable future.

  • We’ll be using Zoom to host the live lesson and then broadcasting this using YouTube live via our Live Lesson platform.
  • Families and teachers (on behalf of virtual classes) can then register to book and submit questions and shout outs in advance.
  • On the day, we’ll get online together via Zoom and then at the allotted time, we will begin the broadcast.
  • After a brief introduction, we would ask you to present a series of slides for about 20-30 minutes and then the remainder of the call will be a Q&A with the online audience. The host will feed you the questions.
  • The talk will be recorded and available to watch on catch-up via YouTube or the individual broadcast page (example here).
Preferred dates

We have a few live lessons already in the calendar and are looking to fill up live lessons for the dates below. Preferred timings during the day are 11am, 2pm, 4pm (UK time), 6am, 9am, 11am (US Eastern time) - use this time zone converter to check more time zones.

  • Week of Monday 30 March both morning and afternoon
  • Week of Monday 6 April (not Friday) lighter cover during the holidays
  • Week of Monday 14 April (not Monday or Friday) lighter cover during the holidays
  • Week of Monday 20 April afternoons only
  • Week of Monday 27 April afternoons only
  • Week of Monday 18 May both morning and afternoon
  • Week of Monday 25 May both morning and afternoon

We do not have the resource to pay any speakers, and barely enough to cover this response to school closures. We are happy to share links to charities that you support or links to books or films that you think would be great for families in isolation at the moment.

Preparing for the call

We will need a few things from you in advance of the call, and we’ll include this list in the follow-up email.

Talk information

  • Title for the talk
  • Photo(s) to act as the promotional image for the talk
  • Short description for your talk (about 150 words)
  • Portrait photo
  • Your name, title and any organisational affiliation that you would like used publicly
  • Any curriculum or education themes that you are planning to bring up (we can discuss this further)
  • Appropriate age groups from ages 5-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-16 and 16+
  • If you are representing an organisation, we can also add a logo and great if this were supplied full colour and as a png to be reversed out of a dark background

Talk and Slideshow tips

  • You may already have a slideshow that you use for school talks.
  • It may need to be shortened to fit a 20-30 minute slot.
  • If you do not have a talk and slides ready, we can help with a rough format and ideas for different styles (we are working up guidance here and will be in the Live Lessons support section).
  • For the broadest reach, think about an imaginary audience of upper primary (ages 9-11) or lower secondary students (ages 12-14).
  • We can also accommodate talks that would suit younger and older audiences if there is a specific topic that you want to cover.
  • Because we will be broadcasting the slides during the talk, it’s best if these are mainly single images and have little text.
  • If you want to show diagrams that may not be clear over low bandwidth, we can always host these separately with appropriate clearances.

Tech and practical set-up

The tech set-up is pretty simple and you can use the same device that you use for normal video-conferencing.

  • We use Zoom as the video conferencing tool. It will be easier if you have this installed and have a free account, but we can go through all the details during the test call.
  • When you are setting up your device for the calls, try to ensure that the webcam / camera is at head level, so you are looking at the camera straight ahead.
  • Position yourself so that you are have a decent head and shoulder view on the video.
  • Consider using headphones with a microphone for greater clarity of audio.
  • Think about the background. It can be plain or feature something pertinent to your call, e.g. expedition kit.
  • If you do have props that you can hold up to camera, that’s great.