The Connected Storm Sanctuary is a creative space for students in Chicago, Ill., Milwaukee, Wisc. and Tulsa, Okla., to design technology-based solutions to natural disasters.
The experiential program, created by JASON Learning, in partnership with UScellular, challenges middle and high school students to prototype mobile-based solutions used by families to connect before, during and after natural disasters.
Program administrators say they chose natural disasters because weather problems are something to which nearly every student can relate.
Drawing on a combination of logic, imagination, and intuition, students collaborate to solve real-world problems through design thinking. Participating students acquire a deep understanding of mobile technologies and networks, gain insights into the needs of local communities in the wake of disaster, and nurture and apply job-level STEM knowledge and skills.
A special Day of Design gave students an opportunity to share their solutions with associates at UScellular and JASON Learning before having their prototypes evaluated by a panel of judges.
The organizations planned to extend this challenge to students in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
Through JASON Learning’s experience with virtual and digital platforms, the Connected Storm Sanctuary challenge is also available online. This ensures classrooms throughout the country, both at school and at home, can continue to gain from educational and interactive STEM content.
Says Holiday, “The work we are doing with JASON Learning, with support from UScellular, really aligns with what we need to do with our boys and girls to ensure that they are college, career and community ready.”