As Northeast Ohio grows its national role in emerging technologies such as blockchain, Industrial Internet of Things and cybersecurity, Great Lakes Science Center has worked to ensure Cleveland youth are empowered to work in and create the jobs of the region’s future.
Creating Connections: Securing Cleveland’s Digital Future is a multi-year initiative that includes programs and exhibits to integrate design, coding, Industrial Internet of Things, and innovations through blockchain-based technologies. The Science Center was awarded a $190,673 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to help bring this cutting edge STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education program to life.
“The Science Center is a STEM education leader whose programs bridge the gap between workforce leaders, public interest and the needs of our local school districts,” said Kirsten Ellenbogen, president and CEO. “Creating Connections leverages the Science Center’s unique position in the community to bring together Cleveland’s youth and emerging technologies that will play a critical role in the future of Northeast Ohio.”
The core of Creating Connections is a 10-hour program that introduces eighth grade Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students to the worlds of blockchain-based technology, Industrial Internet of Things and cybersecurity. The program’s pilot run will launch in 35 CMSD schools this fall, serving as many as 60 eighth graders per school. After the pilot, the plan is to expand to reach all eighth graders in the district, with additional after-school programming that will build upon the Science Center’s existing programs in neighborhood recreation centers and regional libraries.
Creating Connections brings together Cleveland’s IoT Collaborative, Team NEO, members of BlockLand, and CMSD’s science education team, with additional support from other emerging technology partners. This work follows the success of the Science Center’s Cleveland Creates program for sixth and seventh grade students in CMSD.
“We have a successful history of programming that teaches and empowers Cleveland youth to engineer and iterate their own designs with difficult STEM concepts,” explained Vice President of STEM Learning Scott Vollmer, “So we are excited to tackle this new challenge with our partners in the community.”
The Science Center’s partnership with CMSD has deepened over the last five years, growing to include additional programming for the families of students and teachers, and hitting a milestone of 100% participation from all CMSD seventh grade classrooms for the past three years.