Hitting the Road January 2018
Imagine a gold school bus arriving at your school and connecting your kids to the world. The Portal_Bus provides live connections to individuals around the world. We live in an interconnected world, when information travels quickly, economies are intertwined, and events occurring on another continent sometimes feel close to home. What’s missing from our Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and newspapers is the sense of truly knowing someone, the feeling of human connection. To put it briefly, today’s youth communicate constantly but rarely engage.
The Portal_Bus encourages full-body, face-to-face discussion with people around the world that one has never met and may not meet again. When you enter the Portal, you leave behind your own context as does your partner, and external sounds are filtered out. Both parties feel as if they are in the same room. Many report that time stands still. The intensity of the human interaction is the real power of Portals. Children, it turns out, have the same hopes and dreams all over the world.
Public and private schools have recognized the importance of fostering global competence in their students. Schools can serve their communities and foster a deeper understanding of global politics, economics, and social trends by engaging students through dialogue with educational institutions around the globe. Portals address 21st century skills such as collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination.
Portals can support learning across all grade levels and in various academic disciplines, including but not limited to: Social studies and world history, geography, foreign language, fine arts, design and technology workshops, and civics and government. Here are some examples:
Literature & Poetry: Through Portals, American and Iranian students study the poetry of their respective nations. They are given a prompt and write their own poetry, then share and compare their responses in the Portal. Similarly, elementary aged students read their favorite storybooks or sing songs to children in another country.
Foreign Language: Foreign language classes engage in dialogue on a chosen topic in the target language.
Current Events: Study diversity group holds a meeting in the Portal to explore issues with children in another American city. Similarly, students can learn Cuban history from a Cuban professor.
Art & Performance: Americans and Afghanis create (and videotape) a joint improvisational dance. A joint talent show is hosted in the Portal, with students trading acts. An art class creates paintings and brings them to the Portal to be critiqued by an artist in another country.
Science & Design: Children engage in a robotics or engineering project through the Portal, using different materials but following similar instructions or tackling a similar problem.
January: WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM, TX, OK
February: AR, LA, MS, TN, AL, GA, SC, FL
March: CA, NV, ID, OR, WA, MT
April: ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL
May: MI, IN, OH, KY, WV, VA, NC
June: ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, NY, PA, DC, MD