Who We Are
In geographically remote locations such as the Hawaiian Islands, underrepresented populations in the fields of science and technology (native Hawaiian and low income) face an even stronger disadvantage in the accessibility of meaningful and engaging learning opportunities that will promote the pursuit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers among its youth. As an answer to this challenge, The Office of Naval Research (ONR), Akimeka LLC, Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) and Maui Community College partnered in 2004 to establish the Hawaii Source Education Outreach program (also known as the Digital Bus) on the island of Maui.
The “Just Think Mobile,” the state's first wireless bus project, began operation on the Big Island of Hawai`i in 2000. Alan Nakagawa and Bill Wiecking, through Friends of the Future, designed and outfitted the “Just Think Mobile” bus to support education using wireless technology. This concept of a mobile science technology lab & curriculum has proven to be a successful method of extending learning into a field-based setting. This team has outfitted the Maui Digital Bus with wireless technology and is now a partner in collaborative education projects.
Alaka`ina actively supports the development of educational opportunities for the youth of Hawai'i. Through the Hawai'i Source Outreach (HSEO) program, The Digital Bus Program is aligned with HSEO's technology goal to develop skills among the local youth that will result in a more highly qualified workforce in the Islands.
All curriculum utilized in Hawai`i Department of Education Schools is aligned to the Hawai`i State Content and Performance Standards for Science and Technology Education. In the 2005-2006 school year, the Hawai`i Source Education Outreach Program expanded its reach by providing staffing and curriculum to the “Techno Studio Bus” on the Big Island of Hawai`i. In 2007 and 2008 The Digital Bus program visited the island of Moloka`i, and in 2010 The Moloka`i Digital Bus was established.