Whether it’s yesterday, today or tomorrow, education has always been a frontier for Alaskans and will probably always be one – because our state is isolated from mainstream America and has a small population, scattered over vast distances.

In this episode of Frontiers, you will see how these challenges have played out in our state’s history and continue to do so today and into the future.

Here are some highlights from this week’s show.

  • Pioneer School House: Every year second graders in Anchorage travel back in time to 1915 when they visit the Pioneer School House.
  • Superstar Student: Jayne Hanna of Mekoryuk put her tiny Bering Sea community on the map when the American College Testing program bestowed their highest honor upon her -- the ACT college student readiness award.
  • Featured guest: Dr. Richard Webb heads up the Innovative Design Studio at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He talks about the exciting new technology that has the potential to transform Alaska schools.

This show covers a lot of territory, but there’s one thread that runs through it all – Alaskans determined to find ways to overcome the challenges of the day.

I hope you’ll find inspiration in the story of the Pioneer School House, built by the Anchorage Woman’s Club – an organization that exists today and continues to serve the community.

And then there’s our story about Jayne Hanna, who now attends Biola University near Los Angeles. Jayne’s parents talk about how their daughter drew strength from her Cup’ig culture – and through hard work was able to use technology and enrichment programs outside her village to succeed.

Our guest, Dr. Richard Webb, says other high tech solutions are in the pipeline to help students like Jayne connect to the world. He talks about how technologies like 3D printing and virtual reality could transform rural schools if properly applied.

Second graders, who toured the old Pioneer School House, found it hard to imagine a school without electricity – and the need to use chalkboards instead of paper. When students 100 years from now look back to the old schoolhouses of yesterday, what will surprise them about our world today? We can only imagine.

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