Learning Digital Social Impact from Vilnius Tech

As part of our field research for our European study on Creating Social Impact with Digital Teaching, we have uncovered a number of really interesting case studies from VILNIUS GEDIMINAS TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY (VILNIUS TECH) www.vilniustech.

Vilnius Tech is a leading higher education institution situated in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Established in 1956, VILNIUS TECH is one of the biggest research universities in the country, with a strong emphasis on technologies, engineering and university-business cooperation.

We have been really inspired by their work to engage students and staff in multidisciplinary projects such as the Portal project.

About the project: Lithuania’s capital Vilnius is pushing for people to rediscover a sense of connection, thanks to a high tech installation, the “Portal”. The experience is unique in Europe, as it connects inhabitants of Vilnius and Lublin in Poland.

Resembling the wheel of time, the Portal is a large circle which is connected to another Portal somewhere else in Europe. The first city to be connected to Vilnius is Lublin in Poland. Both cities share a common history. The next cities on the list to be connected to Vilnius are Reykjavik in Iceland and London, UK.

In terms of social impact, the Portal aims to serve as a visual bridge and a global community accelerator that brings people of different cultures together and encourages them to rethink the meaning of unity.

Image source: https://vilniustech.lt/about-university/news/portal-an-interactive-bridge-to-unity-connects-two-countries/73472?nid=328416

Digital teaching element –  Engineers from the Vilnius Tech creativity and innovation centre LinkMenų Fabrikas built the Portal. They chose a circle, a well-known and recognised sci-fi symbol, for the visual “bridge”. It allows a person to travel and experience reality on the other side of the huge circle by getting in touch with another individual. The high tech sculpture connects people in real-time. Passers-by wave at each other, sing or even dance together through the screen. It looks as if a science-fi comic has suddenly come to life.

You will be able to read about this and other best practices in our DSI European study on Creating Social Impact with Digital Teaching which will be published later in January 2022.

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