Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Best Practices for a Streaming Author Visit

This article will focus on using Google Hangouts on Air.

We’d all love to have our favorite author fly out and visit us in person, but the cost and logistics can be daunting. Streaming visits allow authors to connect with more readers and are easier on your budget- sometimes your author will even speak for free! Here are a few tips that will help ensure your event is a success.

Why Google Hangouts on Air?
Setting up a YouTube channel to associate your Hangout with will automatically archive your event to YouTube.  No problem that you weren’t able to get all the kids in one room at a time, they can watch later. See the King County Library System’s Hangout page for examples of past events.  Creating a new YouTube channel will automatically create your Google+ page for you. Alternatively, if you have a channel you can associate it with a Google+ page. You will need to verify your channel through SMS.

Technical Run Through
Set up a practice session with you author at least a week prior. Send them the link to Google Hangouts so they have the most current version installed. This also gives you a chance to chat with the author and figure out the flow of your event.

Equipment Set Up
You’ll need a webcam so the author can see who they are talking to, possibly a tripod to set it up on, a microphone for questions, and speakers so everyone can hear. For streaming events this is where you may incur some costs, but you only need to purchase these items once!

Hangout Settings
Hover at the top of the page to access your settings. Check that your microphone and speakers are selected and test your sound. You may need to change your main preferences through your Control Panel.

Inviting Participants
We’ve found the least stressful method is to click the person + icon at the top of the page.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.51.50 PM

Copy the permanent link and email the link to your author. Please note that if you send the invite through email your author will need to login to Gmail or Hangouts to see the invitation.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.51.58 PM

Starting the Hangout
After you invite your participants you aren’t broadcasting yet. To get your archived video you need to click the Start Broadcast button. When you are finished (yay!) click End Broadcast. YouTube will need to finish processing your event, but it should be finished in a few hours.

Final Tips
Don’t panic if people look reversed during the Hangout. During the processing everything will be flipped and anyone watching remotely will see everything correctly.

Concerned about recording student faces? Make your videos Unlisted and only share the URL with staff and parents.

Help Resources
How to Dominate Google+ Hangouts on Air
Hangouts On Air common questions

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