Virtual Classroom Connections: Close Up Conversation Series

Linking classrooms across distances and divides through real-time video conversations.

Meaningful Civil Discourse

The Close Up Conversation Series is an online program that pairs students from your classroom with students from other parts of the country, helping them to engage in civil discourse. The program, developed by the Close Up Foundation and AllSides for Schools, hosts live exchanges between students in classrooms with different geographic, demographic, and ideological profiles, encouraging them to build understanding and empathy for different viewpoints. All curricular materials—including lesson plans, in-class activities, and teacher guides—are provided, allowing you to easily and thoroughly prepare your students for meaningful dialogue.

Is your class ready to join the conversation?

What Does Each Close Up Conversation Look Like?

 

  • Each conversation takes place on Mismatch, an innovative educational platform that uses an algorithm to match classrooms on the basis of geographic, demographic, and political differences.
  • Mismatch pairs two students in one classroom with two students in another classroom for a structured online conversation that lasts for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Conversations are led by students, with built-in, timed question prompts. For a sample conversation guide, click here.
  • Classrooms are paired for a series of three conversations and teachers are provided with suggested classroom prep activities between each conversation.
  • All curriculum materials, including background readings, brainstorming activities, and conversation guides, are provided.

Which Classrooms Can Participate in the Close Up Conversation Series?

 

What Technology Does My Classroom Need to Participate in the Close Up Conversation Series?

 

  • Classrooms must have access to school computers and WiFi.
  • Each student must have a video-capable device and a personal audio headset. Click here to view all technology requirements.
  • Please note that Mismatch is browser-based and does not collect individual student information.

Curricular Materials and Training to Support Educators

 

To help you create a more meaningful experience for your students, it is important to practice civil discourse in your classroom prior to the live conversations. Close Up provides you with all of the resources and training you need to facilitate productive conversations, including:

  • Professional development to help you engage students in meaningful discourse about current controversial issues
  • Lesson plans to help students explore their own values and beliefs
  • Classroom resources for guiding dialogue and deliberation about current issues
  • Strategies for navigating difficult conversations and sensitive topics
  • Training and support for using the Mismatch platform in the classroom
  • Want to learn more about Close Up's resources and programs?