Frequently Asked Questions
What is PORTS?
PORTS is an award winning distance learning program which has served K12 teachers, students, and education partners with live, interactive video-conference presentations from our California State Parks for over 15 years. Visit our about page to learn more of contact us for more information!
Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?
Visit our contact us page to contact regional PORTS coordinators or connect directly with your PORTS presenter through out California State Parks On-Demand Program Directory!
What's the difference between On-Demand Programs and Home Learning Programs?
Our On-Demand Programs are designed for teachers and students in their virtual and in-person classrooms. These are typically facilitated over Zoom as meetings, are not recorded, and allow students and teachers to engage directly with an CA State Park interpreter in the field! There is a minimum requirement of 10 students to book a PORTS On-Demand Program. For students and families learning at home and hoping to stay connected to our parks please register for a Home Learning program!
How do I know my On-Demand Program is confirmed?
As soon as you submit your request on our website, your program is confirmed! You should receive an automated email from firstname.lastname@example.org that confirms your appointment and provides the zoom link you will need for your program. You no longer need to email the presenter of the program in order to confirm your appointment thanks to our "fancy & new" scheduling system with Acuity. For more information on connecting read below.
If I'm a teacher, can I sign up for home learning programs?
Absolutely! We'd love to have you and your students join us. Please note, each student will have to register independently.
If I'm a parent, can I sign up for On-Demand Programs?
Unfortunately, due to demand, we require a 10 student minimum in order to book On-Demand Programs. For home-school families, you are welcome to book a program with other families if you meet the minimum required number of students.
How much does this cost?
All PORTS programs offered by California State Parks for K-12 students are FREE. Click here to learn more about Parks California, one of our top supporters!
How do I share a PORTS On-Demand Program with my students?
When you schedule your PORTS On-Demand Program you will receive an automated email from email@example.com. This provides you with an auto-created Zoom link with a randomized meeting ID. Follow the link from your confirmation email to find your zoom information. You can share this info with your students via email, google classroom, or whatever learning management system you choose.
PLEASE NOTE: Zoom does not have the ability to allow an individual to participate in two zoom meetings at once. Therefore, it isn't possible to share your screen with your students while in one zoom meeting and simultaneously join the auto-created link
If needed, we can connect directly with you in your own zoom room or preferred video-conferencing interface. PLEASE NOTE: When registering for your program, please include your preferred video-conferencing information in the "additional notes" section or contact your PORTS presenter and coordinator directly with our California State Parks On-Demand Program Directory!
My students are using Chromebooks, how do I help them access programs on Zoom?
Please see the following Zoom Blog article for How to Use Zoom on a Chromebook.
We can't use Zoom, can you use something else?
If needed, we can connect directly with you in your preferred video-conferencing interface. PLEASE NOTE: When registering for your program, please include your preferred video-conferencing information in the "additional notes" section or contact your PORTS presenter and coordinator directly with our California State Parks On-Demand Program Directory!
Can I just share out the link to the PORTS Home Learning Program? Do all of my students need to register?
It is a best practice for all students to register for the PORTS Home Learning Program independently. This reserves their space in the Zoom webinar. To share the registration link please copy and paste from the calendar above.
If you would prefer a more personal experience, please schedule an On-Demand Program (see above for details).
When I follow the link, it doesn't show the date I want to register for.
Click on the date listed after following the registration link in our calendar. Scroll down to the program you want to attend. Complete the registration. Please note: If your chosen date is not available, it has reached it's program capacity.
Are programs recorded?
ONLY PORTS Home Learning Programs are recorded. In this format, students do not appear on the screen. PORTS does not record On-Demand programs without the explicit consent of all involved parties and the completion of corresponding CSP media release forms. To view past recorded Home Learning Programs, please visit our Previous Broadcasts page or check out our YouTube channel for prior PORTS Home Learning Programs.
I'm still confused!
We're here to support our teachers! If you're still struggling to connect or you still have questions, consult our California State Parks PORTS On-Demand Program Directory to contact the appropriate PORTS Coordinator or PORTS presenter.
Can I share PORTS On-Demand or Home Learning Program in Google Classroom?
Visit our website to share with your students and click on the Google Classroom icon in your browser to "Share to Classroom".
If you can't see the Google Classroom icon in your browser , visit Google for more options.
Before sharing our website, make sure you are signed-in with your G Suite for Education account.
If your account doesn't appear, click on your account icon and scroll down to click "Add account".
Click "Choose class" and select the class to share to. If you don't have any classes, you'll need to create one first.
Click "Choose action" and select one of the following options:
Create assignment: This allows you to check whether students attended the webinar and include additional assessment or activities.
Ask question: This allows your students to respond to your question in addition to accessing our site.
Make an announcement: This is a great tool for sharing resources with your students but doesn't allow you to track participation.
Click Go to post.
Include the zoom information provided to you in your confirmation from firstname.lastname@example.org and write a message to your students on how to join the meeting. On-Demand Programs do not require students to register or sign-in to zoom.
If sharing a Home Learning Program, include a link to our website www.ports-ca.us and instructions on how to register
(Optional) To view the announcement or assignment in Classroom, click View.