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A World Bridge® (AWB) is an international award-winning program that uses advanced teaching methods and incorporates real-world projects involving NASA, industry and government partners.

Awards and Recognition

The 4th and 5th Place Award in World Challenge Finland 2018

Out of 35 international university and business entries, the two projects done by Northern Academy students in the A World Bridge® (AWB) program were awarded:

  • USGS-NASA Data Visualization: 4th Place, trophy winner and monetary prize
  • United Nations FAO Invasive Species: 5th Place, trophy winner and monetary prize

The World Challenge is an opportunity for students, academia and industry to deliver brilliant innovative solutions that support the mission of the United Nations – especially in the areas of world peace, health, ecology, education and sustainability. The finalist teams get a one-week, all-expense paid trip to Finland for the climax of the Challenge.

World Challenge Finland is organized by Digital Forum Finland and Ultrahack. Partners include Business Finland, ESA Business Incubation Center Finland, Turku Business Region, EIT Digital, Finnish Meteorological Institute, National Land Survey of Finland, Nokia, CGI, Espoo Marketing, Reaktor Space Lab, GISdevio, City of Helsinki, City of Vantaa, Aalto University, Aalto Startup Center, Microsoft, Vaisala, IBM Finland, University of Helsinki, Clarion Helsinki, SSF, Space Nation, FLIC, Halti and Finnair.

Science Students Awarded by NASA and UN

In April 2018, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) presented a pure crystal trophy for “World Class Performance” to the AWB program at Northern Academy. This is a rare honor only given to programs which are working on real-time NASA projects and providing new data and information which lead directly to solving international-level problems.

Northern Academy students in AWB program also received a certificate of thanks and appreciation from representatives in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for utilizing satellite and land-based data of invasive species, including Locusts and Fall Army Worm (FAW), to design and develop a new data acquisition and warning system with the NASA World Wind geospatial 3D platform.

A World Bridge®: Project Descriptions

International Real-time, Real-world Collaborative Projects

A World Bridge® (AWB) is an international infrastructure for learning, technology, 21st Century Skills, and advanced pedagogy.

The projects began in Alaska as the “America Bridge,” where the process of developing initial models for the integration of international leadership, economic development, and education occurred. This project will provide the design and implementation of real-time, real-world project-based learning into curriculum, and simultaneously develop courseware for distance learning, built from ongoing, dynamic project content for synchronous and asynchronous delivery.

“A World Bridge” is a planned project utilizing cooperation between state government offices, state education agencies, school boards associations including the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning (CDL), the University of Alaska system, NASA Ames Research Center, the International Centre for Earth Simulation (ICES), Intelesense Technologies, NOAA and business partners including Trilogis SRI to develop a unique series of international models which integrate real-time economic, and educational systems, designed to accelerate both systems via international cooperation, collaboration and mutually beneficial projects.

  • Capacity building – ongoing planning and implementation of effective training programs with multiple levels of technology, as equitable as possible, layered based on need. Rapid-prototyping of training process is designed to accelerate adoption and acquisition of career-level skills.
  • Development of rapid-prototyping system for determining effectiveness of new or combinations of educational technology; provides an R&D program for technology applications, new STEM content and collaborative projects, and professional development/pedagogy.
  • Development of statewide and international Project Based Learning (PBL) curriculum repository and learning management system for teaching and learning, based on student/teacher developed content from real-world projects. Academic standards and objectives will be gradually converted into real-time/real-world project systems.

Projects in Progress

Global Earthquake Forecast System

Partners include: NASA Ames Research Center, Politecnico di Milano, Centre for Earth Simulation, Intelesense Technologies, GeoCosmo, Alaska Statewide School Districts

The Global Earthquake Forecast System is a revolutionary initiative that will add to the field of earthquake science by building a coherent system of signals for potential earthquake forecasts. It will also be a cornerstone for the development of time-dependent preparatory measures of sensitive infrastructures and for the population, potentially providing warning in advance of an event. The current work acquires pre-earthquake sensor data and tries to identify correlations between the pre-earthquake signals and actual seismic events.

Working in concert with NASA, and taking advantage of recent leading edge research in earthquake science, students supported by NASA and NOAA personnel have designed and built the infrastructure to measure and display *earthquake precursor* data. This Global Earthquake Forecast System (GEFS) identifies the increasing risk of an impending earthquake, several hours to a few days before the event. GEFS is based entirely on Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial data, FOSS4G. Ron Fortunato, President of Trillium Learning, is leading the development of this enterprise, and presented this work at FOSS4G in Como, Italy together with the Alaskan students from the Kodiak-World Bridge GEFS development team.

NASA Europa Challenge

For 2015, the Kodiak World Bridge team submitted a proposal for programming real-time pre-earthquake data on NASA Web World Wind.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Scientific Applications

Unmanned Aircraft Systems, NASA Ames Research Center – World Wind, NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard, Tsunami Marine Debris Monitoring, Alaska Aerospace Corp. – Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska, UMass at Amherst, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Invasive Species Program, Sea Water Level Rise and Environmental Biology Studies are available.

The UAS Courses include training in all aspects of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle/drone) operations, including How to Fly, Safety, How UAV’s Work, Navigation and Mission Planning, High-definition Camera Image Acquisition, Orthomosaic Map Generation and Mapping/Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Courses (3) begin with small training UAVs (Levels 1-4) and move up to more powerful and capable professional-level vehicles (Levels 5-7). Scientific applications where UAS will support real-time projects include the Global Earthquake Forecast System, Tsunami Marine Debris Monitoring Project and the NanoAgriculture Project and more. The UAS Scientific Applications Project provides students with a full-spectrum approach for development of Career Technical Skills in the fast-rising field of UAS flight, navigation and mission planning. Trillium focuses on free and open source Geospatial software, and is one of the OSGeo International Labs.

Students and teachers engage in real-world project research by utilizing NASA Geospatial 4D software (World Wind) and unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Student teams collaborate to develop comparison studies, and acquire environmental and image data. Then they process the data for storage and retrieval and trends analysis. Future research will focus on environmental issues including (but not limited to):

  • Resource Mapping and water encroachment/loss of seaside village land due to flooding and rising water levels
  • Mapping and trends analysis of glaciers and snow/ice melting – continuous updating of effects of melting related to land loss
  • Monitoring regrowth in areas devastated by events such as forest fires
  • Forest fire mapping to follow and aid in fighting forest fires; regrowth of ground cover and vegetation over time
  • Urban Planning/Demographics studies – show planning and building growth over time, effects on environmental resources, transportation
  • Animal migration patterns, determining various species’ population densities, relationship to food sources and understanding ecological impact
  • Plant diversity and density studies – development of image databases over time, to determine ecological balance, effects of pollution, etc.
  • Utilization of research tools for data acquisition and analysis including:
    • NASA World Wind geospatial software for developing time-based water and snow/ice data image layers
    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technologies (drones equipped with sensors and cameras) for GPS directed mapping tools and image acquisition.
    • Computer/laptop/tablet real-time data acquisition (Vernier, Intelesense) for environmental data acquisition (water/air temperature, flow, pH, salinity).

Nanotechnology in Agriculture

Partners include: Global Merit Group, NASA Ames Research Center, Alaska Peony Farms Association

When we use the natural building blocks of biology, we return to the fundamentals of the soil, which allows a natural balance to occur. When we apply Nano Ag treatment to the soil, we return the soil’s ability to restore and replenish minerals and nutrients. Humic and fulvic acids and clay minerals play a very important role in the balanced development of plant life because this combination provides bonding, weathering, etching, dissolving and desorbing. These processes transform rock-forming minerals into functional plant food.

The NanoAg treatment is a high energy, all organic nutrient source that furnishes immediate energy to microbial life so they can go about their jobs of cleaning up waste, creating compost and producing topsoil. This treatment provides a quick energy source as well as a sustainable energy source for indigenous, beneficial soil microbial life. It is a biologically active, water soluble, low pH, and low-molecular-weight component of the humic material in the organic matter of soil, peat, leonardite & coal containing colloidal trace minerals. It is a natural electrolyte as well as a plant growth regulator.

Project Goals and measurable outcomes:

  • Enhances availability of soil nutrients for plants.
  • Chelates or binds soil chemicals that cause plant toxicity.
  • Reduces soil erosion.
  • Increases soil water holding capacity.
  • Maximizes plant growth & yields.
  • Assists with seed germination and root development.
  • Decreases the amount of water required per unit of production due to a special chemical affinity for balance.
  • Aids in plant & root disease resistance.

Tsunami Marine Debris Monitoring

Partners include: NOAA Kodiak Research Laboratory, NASA Ames Research Center, Ocean Conservancy, Shorezone

NOAA and the Sitka Sound Science Center have been involved with Japan Tsunami marine debris research, cleanup and outreach for years now. NOAA and the SSSC recently completed a 6-month survey of the outer coasts looking for Japanese Tsunami debris. They are currently planning activities for the removal of Tsunami debris and working with community partners on marine debris projects.

World Bridge school districts have begun acquiring past collection data, and will add new information layers to custom maps created from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photography. Additionally, this project has expanded to include an environmental impact study, which will map affected areas that encompass plant and animal diversity studies as well as invasive species. This program has been developed as a K-12 articulation project, beginning with East Elementary and Kodiak Middle Schools, along with Kodiak High School. Marine debris can injure people, entangle marine mammals, enter the food web and threaten the overall ecosystem. Removing debris from beaches reduces these threats and promotes ecosystem resilience.

High-Altitude CubeSat and Low Earth Orbit

Partners include: NASA Ames Research Center – World Wind Program, Small Satellite Division, NASA ARC; NASA Johnson Spaceflight Center, European Space Agency, Alaska Aerospace Corp. – Kodiak Launch Complex

This project Utilizes NASA CubeSat Technology for High-Altitude to Low Earth Orbit Studies, for a Space Education Curriculum

Students are developing designs and payload chassis utilizing small satellite technology for high-altitude data acquisition in support of the Global Earthquake Forecast system. Students are working with industry-standard hardware and software and the engineering design process to develop new sensor platforms that can take to the air – and space. Students will design, build and test new CubeSat sensor platforms that will be tested via tethered weather balloons, small rocket launches and potentially, as part of a larger payload that is used to resupply the International Space Station.

This project also utilizes a sophisticated Satellite Tracking program based on NASA World Wind, which trains student in mission control-type operations including Satellite and Ground Station tracking/analysis, satellite orbital mechanics, flight and downrange safety, satellite pass prediction, and much more. The High-Altitude CubeSat & Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Project utilizes design, development and manufacturing programs to develop miniature launch-capable spacecraft, along with sophisticated software based on NASA World Wind.

Upcoming Project: Artist and the Scientist

Partners include: NASA Ames Research Center; Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Alaska State Council on the Arts (more in process)

This unique project explores the relationship between the Artist and the Scientist, where the art within science is revealed to science students by their artist peers, and the science within the art is demonstrated to the arts students by the young scientists. In order to achieve the design, development and implementation of this program, the initial prototype is conducted through collaboration between the Kodiak Island Borough School District (KIBSD) in Kodiak, Alaska, and the Northern Academy of the Arts in New York.

The Main Project is based upon a Cultural Theme, and operates through collaboration in multidisciplinary projects. Cultural sharing, Music, Dance, Visual arts become integrated with the science of tectonic plate signals coming from the earth – the “sounds” coming from beneath the Earth will be fashioned by students into music (through sonification), dance performance and visual arts representations.

  • KIBSD – Traditional Western and Alaska native instruments, music, dance, art, culture.
  • Northern Academy of the Arts – Traditional Chinese instruments, music, dance, art, culture.