Students at The Haverford School recently connected with people from around the world – all without leaving campus.
With the help of a Shared Studios Portal, students in all three divisions spent time discussing important topics ranging from climate change to prison reform. The Portal is a large, immersive space that provides high-quality audio and full-length video of the users. The device was set up in Haverford’s Wilson Hall for a week, during which students considered the theme of building a better future for the world.
Kori Brown, Middle School history teacher, and Andrea Drinkwine, Director of Information and Instructional Technology, worked together to bring the Portal to campus after seeing it at another area school.
“Kori and I found the Portal as an opportunity to live out the School’s aim to develop men of character, intellect, and compassion because the Portal provides an authentic opportunity for meaningful, human engagement with people from different backgrounds and places,” said Drinkwine. “As the boys used the Portal, a big takeaway was that despite how we look, where we live, or what we celebrate, we have far more in common as people, which is truly a valuable and memorable lesson.”
Throughout the week, boys took part in a wide range of conversational topics. Lower School boys discussed climate change with peers in Ede, The Netherlands and Dallas, Texas, while Middle School boys conversed with refugees living in Erbil, Iraq and Nakivale, Uganda.
The Portal helps students establish similarities and learn about differences. We need to give them experiences that draw out their empathy to engage with the world. Kori Brown
Middle and Upper School boys had the opportunity to work on their Spanish while connecting with students studying English in La Paz, Bolivia and El Progreso, Honduras.
Upper School students dissected important topics, such as the effects of war on young people in Herat, Afghanistan. Others discussed mass incarceration and examined prison reform with experts and students in Milwaukee, Wis.
“The Portal helps students establish similarities and learn about differences,” said Brown. “We need to give them experiences that draw out their empathy to engage with the world.”