Sustainability is a big problem in Hawai’i that all of us want to solve, and many of us have already started developing solutions and projects to solve it. There are hundreds of projects and curriculums that the academic community has created, however, they are developed separately and uncoordinated. With the problem as massive as sustainability, our team believes that the missing step to sustainability in Hawai’i lies in connecting and centralizing these efforts in one place.
What it does
Introducing the Scholar System. Designed and implemented by the Galaxy Brains team, our application allows teachers, community members, and students to connect using our project database. Our app features easy-to-use and user-friendly project search and listing. Projects are organized based on verified curriculums that have been cross walked to the BREATH standards. Users can also submit their own projects where they will be vetted, cross walked to standards, and eventually added to our database.
Projects available in our database will be displayed on the project list page where a user can click on an individual project to learn more about it. On the project page, users will find the project’s name, grade level appropriateness, sweat equity, time frame, project description, and how the BREATH standards apply to each project. Each project in our database will show when any of the six BREATH standards apply to them. We’ve also included a visualization of schools in Hawaii using Esri’s mapping capabilities, color coding them based on grade level serviced. In the future, we plan to combine our database with Esri to display projects that would be viable for each school on the map itself.
How we built it
The Scholar System was built using Django, ESRI, ARC GIS, Bootstrap, and HTML5 for our application's front end. As for our backend, we used Python, Firebase, and Pyrebase. The web pages for the users are written in HTML5 using the Bootstrap framework, and Django would act as an intermediary between the user interface and the database. Lastly, each project is stored and accessed from our Firebase database, which we access through Python functions using Pyrebase.
Challenges we ran into
We faced many challenges while working on this project. One of them is balancing design choices for the back end as well as frontend functionality, and making sure that both aspects service the application. Our team members wanted to use and learn new tools like Django and Firebase. This desire comes with many hurdles to overcome. If we focus too much effort on these tools, we wouldn’t complete the project on time. Many of the members also faced the problem of balancing the time between their academic pursuits and this project as well. To overcome these challenges, we had to communicate with each other and work together as a team.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to be involved with the effort to bring sustainability to Hawai’i. With the ability to connect, share, and collaborate on sustainable curriculums, we empower the community to create a more sustainable world for our children and community. Our application would connect the project’s needed resources, crosswalk standards, and students’ involvement with every sustainable project in the state.
In addition to the sustainability projects that we've help connected, we have also formed our own connections within our group. Each of us put in the work to design, code, and help each other to complete this project. We are proud of our ability to create a functioning website through all our combined efforts.
What we learned
Through working with sustainable curriculums, we’ve learned that Hawai’i is already sustainable. just that they are in the forms that we don't normally recognize. Often, the teachers and students making these curriculums are thinking outside of the box. They are incorporating new concepts and ideas to the public's conscious of sustainability.
Following their path, we have also looked for new ways to solve this challenge. In the effort to innovate how state-level government applications are made, we chose more prominent technology like Python and Firebase. We've learned new skillsets and new tools like Pyrebase and Django in order to build this application.
In addition to the new skillsets, we learned how to collaborate effectively to build an application. With many important problems like sustainability, we can't solve it all by ourselves alone. In order to build this application, we've learned how to work together and cover each other’s weakness
What's next for Galaxy Brains
When we don't have the pressure of a deadline, we aim to improve this application with minor graphical changes and adding more functionality.
- Listing projects that correlate to selected schools
- School listing with projects
- User-friendly project sponsorship process
- Project tags
- Search function for projects