PORTS is a free distance learning program that helps schools teach common core state standards in the context of California State Parks. It uses the power of California’s K-12 High-Speed Network (HSN) and the educational potential of live videoconferencing.
The PORTS program provides teachers and students with lesson plans, digital video, digital images and media materials from the program’s website. These materials prepare students and teachers to use PORTS to deliver real-time, two-way audio and video communication between the classroom and a State park This live videoconferencing allows park staff to look directly at students sitting miles away in a classroom and engage them in conversation.
In this way, PORTS gives students access to park experts regardless of the students’ geographic location or economic status. In 2015/2016 PORTS reached over 46,000 K-12 students in California, the majority of which were in schools federally classified at low-income.
These live, interactive presentations include science, history, language arts and other academics. They are part of fully developed units of study that include support and follow up.
“Treasuring the Kelp Forest” presented from Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a relatively recent addition to the study units now available through PORTS.
The PORTS website at www.ports.parks.ca.gov provides more information about the program. This includes a description of some of the units of study available, as well as key State Parks contacts for the program.