Ball State to bring best-selling authors to 30,000 schools

Topic: Teachers College

January 15, 2008

Ball State University and Simon & Schuster (S&S) Children's Publishing have announced an unprecedented partnership to bring S&S authors and illustrators into more than 30,000 schools nationwide through live, interactive Web broadcasts.

The new initiative will use Ball State's groundbreaking Electronic Field Trips program to allow students and teachers to interact directly with a variety of literary and artistic creators through live video, discussion forums and downloadable learning activities.

"At Simon & Schuster, we strongly believe that every student should have an opportunity to interact with our award-winning authors and illustrators — regardless of the school's location or budget," said Rick Richter, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. "We are extremely proud to partner with Ball State University on the MyVisit virtual classroom in order to bring this state-of-the-art programming to millions of children."

S&S has forged an exclusive three-year agreement with Ball State and plans to host three Electronic Author Visits (EAV) each year. Andrew Clements, the best-selling author of classroom favorites "Frindle"and "No Talking," will kick off the program as the first EAV author on March 18. D. J. MacHale, the New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of the Pendragon series, and Margaret Peterson Haddix, national bestselling author of the Shadow Children series, have signed on to participate as well.

"We at Ball State take great pride in our role as pioneers in the use of technology to enhance the education of young people," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "For the last decade, our Teachers College has partnered with the nation's best museums, historic sites and parks to produce Electronic Field Trips for millions of students.

"We are excited to join with Simon & Schuster on the Electronic Author Visit project, which should prove to be just as popular and educational. This is a wonderful way for students and teachers to interact with some of the finest children's authors in the country without leaving the classroom."

Interactive, far-reaching

An Electronic Author Visit is a unique experience that makes the rich content of S&S's best-selling and award-winning authors accessible to children and teachers. Each visit is a combination of several components. First, a Web site is created specifically for each EAV that serves two purposes: to provide teachers with background information that can be used to help students prepare for the author's visit and to offer interactive material that relates to the subject discussed in the author's or artist's book.

In preparation for the EAV, the program also offers a series of classroom activities and curriculum binders. S&S and Ball State provide the author's books to a select group of teachers, who then develop grade-appropriate activities for other teachers to use before the live broadcast.

Booksource, a national book wholesaler, has signed on to be the sponsoring book supplier. To facilitate preparation for each EAV, Booksource will assist participating teachers with book orders through a convenient link to its site and ordering information.

The live Web broadcast is the culmination of the EAV experience. As a live broadcast, it has the potential to be much more interactive than a static television program and much more far-reaching than a typical Webinar. Every 45-minute segment includes a presentation from the author, a reading or excerpt from the book, and a question-and-answer session during which the author fields questions from the students. Teachers may sign up for the first EAV with Andrew Clements through the MyVisit Web site: www.bsu.edu/myvisit/.

About S&S Children's Publishing

S&S Children's Publishing is one of the leading children's book publishers in the world and includes the imprints Aladdin Paperbacks, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Libros Para Niños, Little Simon, Little Simon Inspirations, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, Simon Scribbles and Simon Spotlight.

In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Henry & Mudge, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts, Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants, and Mirage studios' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. More information about S&S Children's Publishing is available at the company's Web site at www.SimonSaysKids.com.

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