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Central Ohio middle schoolers to imagine the future of transportation

Who is going to build the future of transportation? In central Ohio, they might be in middle school.

We love design challenges at the OSLN – that’s why we’re running our own to solve food insecurity. This month, Columbus City Schools and SMART Columbus joined in on the fun. They launched a new design challenge focused on public transportation in Ohio’s capitol.

The challenge asks a central question: how can technology be used to create a transportation system that provides access to opportunities for all people?

“We’re really talked a lot in our classes about empathy,” said science teacher Erika Reeves, “putting yourself in other people’s shoes in order to help create a solution, an authentic solution, for the problems that people have with transportation.”

All design challenges follow the design cycle, but this one follows a specific one: the Stanford Design Thinking Process. Students start by empathizing with people struggling with the problem – in this case mobility. Then, they define the problem, ideate and brainstorm, prototype a solution, and test it. From there, the sky is the limit.

75 teams from Metro just started working, but all middle schools in central Ohio are invited to participate. In January, teams will present their solutions to transportation professionals from Battelle, The Ohio State University, and Smart Columbus.

Will you be part of the solution? Are you a middle school student or teacher interested in the future of transportation?

Sign up for the challenge at this link, or learn more at the SMART Columbus website.

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