Education: May 2020 Archives

Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine recently made some public comments about his interest in having NASA organize its efforts and interactions along the lines of DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic) a buzz word that describes a strategic use of various forms of national power and influence. Often times you see the term "soft power" weaved into this discussion i.e. how can a nation use its capabilities in a peaceful, educational/humanitarian nature to project power while actually helping others.

I saw this interesting Tweet by @usembassydhaka - the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka (Bangladesh) about a partnership that NASA has with the EMK Center in Bangladesh. It has become obvious to me and a lot of people that NASA has an immense global brand awareness - and it is apparently almost perfectly good. I made mention of this in "Understanding NASA's Global Reach" where the NASA-assisted rescue of Chilean miners seems to have left a lingering positive glow and also in "NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated" which features a tweet about a group of students participating in NASA International Space Apps challenge in Kosovo. Now that NASA is sponsoring a special COVID-19 Space Apps Challenge NASA's visibility is certain to grow further.

This joint effort in Bangladesh is interesting. I have a strong interest in the region after the time I spent at Everest in Nepal in 2009 and I have supported multiple education projects in Nepal since my visit. So I sent NASA PAO and others at NASA HQ this inquiry. Let's see how they respond.

Keith's update: The folks at NASA PAO did a lot of sleuthing - globally - to answer my questions - thanks! As you can see this is not necessarily a NASA activity per se but it does show that the NNASA brand has substantial global impact such that it is seen as a de facto gold standard that many people and organizations w=seek to be allied with.

1. Can you tell me who the point of contact for this activity is at NASA?
This activity was initiated by the EMK Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh (see below), and NASA is not directly involved.

2. Who initiated this effort - NASA? The State Department? The Embassy in Bangladesh? Organizations in Bangladesh? Are there other NGOs or agencies involved?
This activity was initiated by staff at the Edward M. Kennedy (EMK) Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The EMK Center is run by the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka through its American Center in the city, in partnership with the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. The State Department informs us that EMK Center staff received information about the NASA at Home program from the State Department's regional public engagement specialists in India, as part of programming ideas during COVID-19 lockdown. EMK Center staff came up with the idea to use the NASA STEM@Home resources as a hook to engage virtually with Bangladeshi students (primarily classes 6-13) and EMK MakerLab program participants, as well as the broader public stuck at home due to the Government of Bangladesh's COVID-19 lockdown and to encourage them to participate in STEM activities. To incentivize participation in the program, EMK is offering prizes to participating students and a certification of participation for all participants. The top 5-10 projects will be displayed at EMK once it reopens to the public again and shared via EMK social media platforms at the end of the contest period. After the program started, "কিশোর বাতায়ন (Konnect), a Government of Bangladesh digital educational platform that works with adolescent and youth, joined EMK as a partner.

3. Is this a formal or ad hoc agreement? Is there a signed Space Act Agreement or MOU or cooperative agreement?
No agreements are required for this type of use of NASA-produced educational materials.

4. Is this part of a larger program to engage people around the world? NASA's online educational materials are freely available to all users.
NASA coordinates with the State Department to inform U.S. missions overseas about its digital content, and to respond to requests from individual posts on a case-by-case basis.

5. Is there any linkage between this effort and the NASA Space Apps Challenge?
This activity is not related to any of the Space Apps programming in Bangladesh.

6. Does NASA consider this effort part of its interest in reaching the "Artemis Generation"?
The Artemis Generation are today's students - regardless of location - who will take us farther into space than ever before. The NASA STEM content and activities found on the NASA@Home site is intended to inspire these students in science, technology, engineering and math and to be a part of the future STEM workforce.

7. The original tweet had a 30 April 2020 deadline and the Embassy tweet says that it is 31 May 2020. Is this effort still underway? Where will the results of this activity be posted publicly?
Initially, the EMK Center proposed April 30, 2020, as the deadline for submission of projects, but as the shutdown of the schools was extended gradually, it decided to extend the deadline to May 31, 2020, to reach the maximum number of students. As noted above, in addition to offering prizes to the top 5-10 projects, the best projects will be posted on EMK Center social media platforms and displayed at the EMK Center once it reopens to the public.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from May 2020.

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