Recently, I’ve been asked by more and more schools about “virtual” school visits, so I’ve put together a program which offers you nearly all the benefits of an in-person author visit at a fraction of the cost. To join the fun, all you need is an internet connection, computer, webcam and some free software. Your students will be able to ask me questions, participate in projects, play games and maybe even learn some Chinese – all in real time.

What do I need to set up for a virtual visit?

First, make sure that you have an internet connection and a computer in the room that you will use for the visit. The faster the internet connection, the better the video will stream. Most of the newer computers have built-in cameras and microphones that we can use, but if you need to add a camera, use one with a built-in microphone like the Logitech HD C615. The only real limitation is how many children can see the screen. A Virtual Visit being shown on a single computer screen may be great for groups up to 20 or 30 students. If your school has the ability to digitally project the conference onto a large screen, we can probably accommodate groups up to 150 students.

Second, we need to install video conferencing software. Skype has worked really well for me and all Skype-to-Skype internet calls are all free. There are no charges even if I’m teleconferencing you from the Great Wall of China! The software can be downloaded at All you need to do is click the DOWNLOAD button, select Mac or PC, and follow the prompts. For those of you with Apple computers, we can use iChat or Facetime software instead of Skype. To make sure everything is running smoothly, we will schedule and conduct a test run between your computer and mine a couple of days before the virtual visit.

Now that you are all set up and ready for action, you’ll need to purchase a virtual visit. Prices are $250 for a single presentation and $350 for two presentations on the same day. Each session is approximately 45 minutes long and can be paid for through PayPal in the Yin Bookstore. If your school does not allow PayPal transactions, please send a check to: YIN AUTHOR VISITS, P.O. BOX 205, FLUSHING, NEW YORK 11358.

Finally, to set a date and time for the Virtual Visit, please send me an e-mail to or give me a call toll-free at 866.800.8893.

“Chris and Yin, it doesn’t get better than this. What a team! It was fabulous to work with you both. You’ve been a great inspiration to us all.” – Media Specialist, Crofton House in Vancouver, Canada