GIS Site License Provides Alaskan Youth with Critical Skills

June 1, 2011

Redlands, California—Though GIS has been taught at a number of schools in Alaska for the past several years, the signing of a statewide education site license with Esri brings the technology to all K–12 students in the state. Students, educators, and administrators in all of Alaska's primary and secondary schools will have access to Esri's full range of ArcGIS software, plus unlimited seats in self-paced training through Esri's Virtual Campus.

"Many instructors are currently teaching GIS in the classroom, and others are using it to augment their science and geography curriculums," says Katie Kennedy, education and outreach coordinator for the University of Alaska Geography Program. "However, we believe that the technology has the potential to change the way students and their teachers fundamentally approach a topic, and we intend to introduce it throughout the state as a hands-on tool that supports inquiry-based learning."

In preparation for this broad distribution of the technology, the Alaska Geographic Alliance is developing a statewide teacher training program to introduce GIS into the classroom with an emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.

"Alaska has a long tradition in GIS," says Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri's schools program manager. "The state's rich natural heritage, cultural traditions, and unique environment require attention when blending conservation and growth. A world of opportunity beckons every student in Alaska."

For more information about Esri's K–12 education programs, visit

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Jim Baumann, Esri
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