Consortium for Digital Learning

Preparing Alaska’s Students for Success in the Global Economy

STEM-based Learning


CDL has partnered with the America Bridge Project to build a statewide infrastructure for learning, technology, 21st Century Skills, and advanced pedagogy in Alaska, and develop models as an international leader in the joint and integrated development of economy and education. This project will provide the design and implementation of real-time, real-world projects into curriculum, and simultaneously develop courseware for distance learning, built from ongoing, dynamic project content for synchronous and asynchronous delivery.

Trillium Learning’s highly interactive multidisciplinary courseware draws upon real-time America Bridge project content that is designed for distance learning and teaching environments that are critically important to 21st Century Skills acquisition for Alaskan students preparing for near and long-term careers.

Learn how your school district can participate in America Bridge STEM projects HERE.


The key to acquisition of career technical skills is to integrate real-time, real world project environments, with equivalent teacher capacity to manage the projects and interact with students. Project Based Learning (PBL) training is underway in numerous Alaska school districts, Continuous, on-demand training is provided for districts via video conferencing and multimedia communications synchronous and asynchronous. This process provides for the rapid-prototyping of skills required for teachers to build capacity for teaching 21st Century Skills.

Fairbanks North Star Borough District

Project: NASA Aviation & Safety
Description: Working directly with NASA engineers, students are co-developing a software quality assurance program to assist the NASA Ames Research Center in its development of new Aviation Safety applications intended to aid Alaskan aviators. The project incorporates multiple computer technologies and mobile communications systems.
Status: Actively Underway

  • 5 teachers and 75 students are anticipated to participate in first round of America Bridge Projects in Fairbanks.
  • Two high schools in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District have completed hardware and software implementations to participate in the NASA Aviation & Safety project.
  • Students are developing a software quality assurance program to assist NASA Ames Research Center in its development of new Aviation Safety tools intended to aid Alaskan aviators, and based on the World Wind 4D Geospatial application programming interface (API). The NASA Aviation & Safety Project is fully operational at the North Pole High School (NPMS) with a teacher and approximately a dozen students.
  • Eielson AFB Middle/High School has one teacher integrating the NASA World Wind research tool into Earth Science and Chemistry classes, acquiring data for seasonal fluctuations of air and water quality. The long-term study will show multi-modal variations and analysis visible through the 3D platform.
  • Hutchison Institute of Technology, a partnership between the district and UAF Community and Technical College focusing on career technical skills development, is designing preliminary projects for multiple disciplinary areas including project documentation and collaboration systems.
  • The video-television media program is designing communications, project documentation and collaboration systems.

Northwest Arctic Borough District


Projects: NASA Aviation & Safety mobile device application beta test, Sea Water Level Rise and Climate Change, and Satellite Mission Operations Control.
Description: Integration of America Bridge projects into ongoing curriculum for all 11 district high schools to start, followed by scale-up to lower grades next year.
Status: Actively Underway

  • The district is designing high school-to-college articulation for small satellite hardware structures and career technology skills development. Second semester is anticipated to include at least one class per school, or approximately 400 students.
  • Video conference-based, project based learning professional development sessions for project teachers and students are scheduled for January and February, 2014.
  • Professional development sessions were delivered for district administrators, principals and teachers at multiple sites, in addition to two voice conferences with administrators covering project development and professional development planning.

Haines Borough District

Projects: Robotics Construction
Description: Students are designing, constructing and programming robotic systems that will be utilized by researchers in the Mojave Desert in their efforts to rescue endangered tortoises.
Status: Actively Underway

  • The district is in full project mode, designing and building harsh-terrain robots which will play a key role in the Desert Tortoise Conservation Project.
  • A 20 student team is programming the CPU which manages the robot’s navigation and camera systems.
  • The Haines High School science teacher is also launching the NASA Aviation & Safety project in his physics class of 20 students during second semester.

Nenana District


Projects: Aviation Flight Simulators, Whale Tracks, Kodiak Launch Complex, Earthquake Forecasting, Sea Water Level Rise and Land Loss, and Endangered Species Studies.
Description: Implementation of America Bridge projects throughout the district’s K-12 system. Projects will utilize NASA World Wind to visualize environmental data and perform trends analyses.
Status: Actively Underway

  • Elementary grade project presentations and introduction to the Nenana school community environment.
  • Middle-high school implementations focused on developing a local environmental impact assessment, in order to determine the possible impacts of a mining exploration, consisting of environmental, social and economic studies.
  • Projects will utilize NASA World Wind to visualize environmental data and perform trends analyses. In addition to three audio conferences with district administrators, a full-day professional development workshop was delivered to the 9-teacher elementary school team, and 8-teacher secondary team. Project planning will continue through first semester, with project launch in classrooms during second semester. Over 300 students are expected to participate in the projects.

Kodiak Island Borough District


Project: Kodiak Launch Complex
Description: Development of STEM content/activities, educational outreach and marketing support for the Alaska Aerospace and Aviation Industry.
Status: Actively Underway

  • This project will utilize Kodiak Island Borough and other district students to become the window to the world for sharing launch information.
  • Project components include Kodiak Launch Complex virtual tours, launch events, student-based Mission Operations Control, develop internship programs, student projects and curriculum.

Lower Kuskokwim District

Project: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Aviation Training
Description: Student teams will receive instruction in UAV electronics, navigation, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), mechanical engineering, image data acquisition, and aviation science. Several Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) quad copters equipped with cameras have been prepared for initial aviation training in conjunction with the district’s Aviation Career Education (ACE) academy.
Status: Developmental Planning Stage

  • Aviation projects are scheduled to begin with science classes (TBD) second semester.
  • Student Project Documentation and Communications systems will conduct bandwidth tests for a variety of multimedia-based, collaborative interactions.
  • Student teams working on rover robotics for additional data acquisition. Robotics classes video streamed throughout the district from the class hub in Bethel.

North Slope Borough District

Description: Interest areas for participation include Sea water level climate change, earthquake forecasting, whale tracking, flight simulation
Status: Developmental Planning Stage



America Bridge projects currently underway in Alaska school districts with partner organization support and mentors include:

Aviation Flight Simulators
Partner Organization: NASA Aviation & Safety
Using NASA World Wind, student teams perform Quality Assurance testing, Functional Specification and User Interface feedback of aircraft software currently under beta-development by NASA, engage in real-time task performance and completion activities, and report to NASA’s programming team via monthly Status Reviews.

Whale Tracks Project  
Partner Organization: Great Whale Conservancy
Students study new, advanced tagging methods, study and build migration patterns through bathymetrically accurate oceans.

Kodiak Launch Complex
Partner Organization: Alaska Aerospace Corporation
Students engage in foundational career skills development, study and practice simulations for launching rockets, placing/tracking satellites in orbit, docking with the International Space Station, and more.

Earthquake Forecasting
Partner Organization: NASA Ames Research Center
Students study and participate in the most recent, current research in earthquake forecasting. School districts operate real-time data acquisition sensors and probes which provide information for tectonic plate movement along Alaska fault lines.

Sea Water Level Rise and Land Loss
Partner Organizations: NASA Ames Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Students utilize the Geographic Information System (GIS) system to capture, store, manipulate, analyze and manage spatial information for critical areas of Alaska in danger of losing populated land, utilize professional GIS software in concert with NASA World Wind to analyze and predict trends in sea water level rise and land loss due to climate change. Students monitor land loss with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

Endangered Species Studies
Partner Organization: Mojave Desert Endangered Species Project
Students work with, program and utilize UAV’s and rovers to study migration patterns and predation on the endangered desert tortoise in California’s Mojave Desert. Onsite researchers communicate directly with Alaska student teams to design new methods for preserving this near-extinct species.