Online Sessions with Space Dave
My name is Dave Owen, AKA Space Dave, space educator and owner of Te Awamutu Space Centre. As part of my work I run online sessions using meeting platforms such as Zoom. I do sessions with groups all over the world at any time of day or night.
The format is usually a video conference meeting in which I begin with a short introductory presentation, followed by questions and discussion from participants. However, this is completely flexible and you can do whatever you want with the meeting time. Let me know if you have specific topics or questions you'd like to cover. For more detailed information, see topics we cover.
These sessions are listed as free but we rely on donations to fund this service, so please consider making a donation after the session. You can donate by credit card, paypal or bank transfer—we'll give you details after you've booked.
How to book a session
Sorry, we can't take any new bookings at the moment. When we resume, instructions will appear on our booking page.
Prepare for the session
I prefer to use Zoom but let me know if you'd rather use something else. In most cases, you schedule the meeting and invite me as a guest (tell me if you'd rather have me schedule and host it). Send me the meeting login details as soon as you have them. I don't need to be a host but you can make me one if you like.
To prepare participants for the meeting:
- If you want to explain who I am, you can describe me as an astronomer (someone who studies space) and/or the owner of a space museum. Please do not call me an astronaut! This is important because some groups have thought they'd be talking to someone who has worked in space. I have not been to space, I just study and teach it.
- You might like to ask participants to think of questions in advance. You can send me a list of questions before the session if you like. It's best to have no more than about a dozen pre-prepared questions, so we leave enough time during the session for spontaneous questions.
If all participants will be in the same room (e.g. school classroom), the teacher/leader usually chooses students to ask questions. It's nice if I can hear them but often the teacher needs to relay the questions to me. If you can, please set up your camera so I can see as many of the participants as possible.
If participants are joining separately (e.g. from their homes), then...
- It's helpful to have each participant set their screen name to the name of the person who will be talking or asking questions.
- Make sure everyone knows how to mute/unmute themselves. Practice if necessary. Especially when working with children, I'm finding that a lot of meeting time is taken up waiting for participants to mute/unmute.
- If anyone has a name that is non-obvious or difficult to pronounce, it's helpful if you could give me a quick guide (we can usually do this at the start of the meeting before participants join—see below).
If possible, I like to join the meeting with you and any other leaders about 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. This gives us a chance to check that everything is working, to go over the plan, and for you to tell me anything I might need to know about the participants. However, it's not critical that we do this. In some cases I join the meeting half way through; for example, you may want to do some other activities before I join.
Once we're all in the meeting and ready to start, we normally "spotlight" my video (in Zoom), or otherwise ensure that participants are always seeing my screen enlarged. I don't need to share my screen—my normal camera output contains everything we need.
I'll take questions as we go but I may not be able to answer all of them. It's helpful if you can keep an eye out for participants with their hands up, and prompt me to take questions from those who've been waiting longest. I aim to give all participants the chance to ask at least one question, ideally more.
A standard session goes for about 50–60 minutes. I may be able to push it longer if you want to, but if I have back-to-back bookings we'll need to finish on time. If you want more time than this, let me know when you book.
If you have questions, please contact me.