Portals are gold spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology. When you enter a Portal, you come face-to-face with someone in a distant Portal and converse live and full-body, as if in the same room. We’ve built a network of Portals around the world, from Erbil, Iraq to Chicago, Illinois, that allow people to connect and learn from one another. In February 2018, we’re taking Portals on the road to visit schools across the United States! Introducing the Portal_Bus.
The Experience: A Portal connection is physically immersive; each Portal experience encourages eye contact and full-body communication. The enclosed space gives participants the sense of being in the same room.
The Participants: While existing communication tools connect you with friends, family, and those you already know, Portals connect you with those you would not otherwise encounter. These interactions are designed to build understanding among people of different backgrounds and worldviews, and to demonstrate the value of connecting with new communities across all forms of distance.
The Network: All Portals are staffed by a Curator who facilitates conversations and connects each site to its local community. We then tap into this global network of sites and communities to program unique “classes” on a range of topics, including language immersion, history, and current events. Portals allow students to be taught by those who live the content they teach.
Our world, and by extension our education systems, require global literacy. The Portal_Bus can bring the world to students by directly exposing them to new communities, cultures, beliefs, and values. Each connection is a learning experience; students will have the opportunity to speak with and learn from educators, peers, and groups from around the world. These interactions lead to deeper understanding and help bring a textbook or headline to life. The Portal_Bus provides a natural complement to an existing curriculum and an innovative way to meet academic standards. All programming can be tailored to work around teachers’ lesson plans and your school’s specific needs.
Foreign Language Lessons: Students practice conversing with native speakers in multiple languages including Spanish, French, German, Hindi, Farsi, Arabic, Burmese, Pashto, Dari, and many more!
News/Book Clubs: Students read and reflect on shared materials (articles, books, etc.) and then engage with a diverse set of participants to see how our experiences and backgrounds can shape our opinions.
History: Students learn world history from those who have lived it. For example, a former mujahideen fighter in Afghanistan and professor in Cuba teach Cold War history from their unique perspectives.
Criminal Justice Reform: Students studying criminal justice meet with formerly incarcerated individuals to discuss criminal justice in policy and practice and the role of police in our communities.
Refugee Crisis: Students around the world directly engage refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to learn about the challenges they face and discuss the meaning of “home”.
Diplomacy: Students in Havana, Cuba and Miami, USA discuss what American-Cuban relations could look like moving forward.
Book the Portal_Bus for a single day or an entire week! We’ll set up the Portal_Bus in your parking lot and provide a unique and exciting learning experience, all for less than the cost of a field trip. Once you’ve signed up, we will work with your school to discuss your planned activities and connections and tailor them for your students. We can also provide materials (e.g. videos, background on speakers, discussion topics, etc.) as needed.
Size/Capacity: The Portal_Bus can fit 10-15 students at a time. We recommend booking 1 day for every 200 students.
Cost: Ranges between $10-$20 per student depending on connecting time and locations.
Fill out this form to pre-register your school for a Portal_Bus visit in 2018! Once you’ve signed up, we’ll reach out to begin planning your visit!