Dr. Kelly R. Clenchy, Superintendent
33 Shattuck Street,
Littleton, MA 01460
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 31, 2019
Media Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Email: [email protected]
Littleton Middle School Offers Students Portal to the Rest of the World
LITTLETON — Students and teachers at Littleton Middle School had a rare opportunity this week to step into faraway places without having to leave the building.
The inflatable Portal to the World enables students to step inside and connect via video with people from around the globe, and they used it yesterday to meet and talk to students and others from Herat, Afghanistan and Levos, Greece. Wednesday, teachers were the first to step in the portal and visit with educators from Nairobi and Stockholm inside portals of their own as part of a professional development day.
Teacher Lilly Ogden spearheaded the effort to bring the portal to Littleton as a way to provide her sixth grade students with a powerful learning experience that builds upon their yearlong study of world geography. Unlike a simple Skype or FaceTime experience, the Portal provides an immersive environment with advanced audio visual technology that allows participants to feel as if they’re sitting in the same room as someone thousands of miles away.
“The portal is a one-of-a-kind way for our students and community as a whole to expand their understanding of the world around them,” Ogden said. “By stepping into the portal, students will be able to close the gaps of distance and step outside of their comfort zones to forge meaningful connections.”
While visiting with people from Afghanistan, the students discussed their locations, daily lives and foods they like to eat. They also learned about fasting during Ramadan, which is ongoing. While talking with people from Greece, students learned about the community center where the Greek’s portal is housed, including the digital media education programs it offers to refugees who live on the island.
The Portal is provided by Shared_Studios, which developed it with an eye toward making the world a smaller, more connected place. The Portal’s arrival in Littleton was made possible through a grant from the Littleton Education Foundation and the Kimball Foundation, as well as through the support Steve Chinosi and CJ Morse of the Andover Public Schools and Shared_Studios.