Chapter Five: Community Networking Applications for
Education, Healthcare, and Community
Chapters one through four of this guide have presented an overview of the possibilities and issues related to realizing the potential of community networking. This chapter will review concrete applications across the three major areas of education, and healthcare. A Web Tour for each section will to allow you to see first hand the best models, by category, in operation.
Its a reasonable bet that well have to learn some new skills if were to participate in creating successful community networks. Lifelong learning is now accepted to be a necessary survival strategy in our rapidly changing world. Online learning presents new opportunities for learning, supported by many collaborative tools. Since online learning and collaborative tools are new, there is much debate about how best to use these tools. Common sense, coupled with hands-on direct experience, will lead us forward.
The Internet makes it possible for everyone today to be both learner, and teacher, all the time. Surviving in a world of increasing information overload will demand we learn how to seriously depend on each other, as no one can keep up with everything, all by themselves. Were challenged with learning how best to broker the talents, and needs, of everyone in our local community, as well as the global community.
Looking around at the world today, it doesnt take much effort to realize we need to redefine our role as citizens in a globalized world, and as well as citizens within our local communities. "Think globally, act locally" sums it up. So much has changed since the fifties when white picket fences and a close knit traditional family was the norm.
Ideally, well all learn to use the inherent efficiencies of computers and Internet to win back enough time in the day to enjoy our lives. The Internet does offer us unique opportunities in this regard, but at the cost of learning new skills, and new ways of viewing ourselves, and the world.
Today, making any sort of commitment to others tends to be vigorously avoided, but at the same time we decry the loss of sense of community. In an online mentoring relationship, if both the mentor and mentee agree not to give up, theres next to nothing that could not be taught or learned. "Community" is the sum of what we give to each other. Perhaps "community" can be defined as those to which we give our time.
The highest levels of benefit the Internet could potentially offer us involves:
1. how to use the Internet to learn-to-learn,
2. how to learn-to-earn,
3. how to build learning communities and
4. how each of us can learn to make a meaningful impact on the world
and thus derive the satisfaction that makes life worth living.
Learning-to-learn using the Internet Style of Learning relates to the four historical firsts the Internet brings to you as presented below. (A short essay on the Internet Style of Learning is also offered at: http://lone-eagles.com/islessay.htm )
Briefly, there are the four levels to the Internet Style of Learning.
Level One involves becoming a Self-Directed Independent Learner using Internet browsers and search engines allows inquiry-based just-in-time learning. As ones skills improve through practice, increasingly specific information can be commanded to appear at your fingertips, seconds after the need arises.
Level Two involves Self-Publishing Globally and allows a person to market products, and ideas, globally, on equal par with the worlds largest governments, corporations, and universities, using increasingly powerful multimedia, sound, and video, at minimal, or no cost.
Level Three involves using Internet Collaborative Tools to Engage with Others, locally or globally, in problem-solving and/or project-based learning, or community service activities.
Level Four involves making a Positive Impact on the Lives of Others through encouragement, mentoring and teaching. Building community networks, participatory decision-making, teaching about what electronic democracy can really mean; and gaining a voice, are demonstrations of Level Four awareness. This is the level of greatest benefit, and of greatest abstraction. Our challenge is training citizens to achieve this highest level of awareness and direct participation.
Becoming Self-Directed Learners
Learning to become a self-directed learner using the Internet is a very important lifelong learning skill which we may hope to develop in all citizens as part of imparting the love of learning. Educators, as is the case also for citizens of all ages, differ in preferred learning styles. While some of us take quickly to self-directed online learning, others of us find it less than intuitive and need ready access to a friendly, supportive mentor up until we are comfortable going it alone. This encouraging mentorship role is fundamentally important!
Self-Directed Learning is an acquired survival skill, increasingly necessary for success in the information age.
Due to continuing advances in technology, the majority of the worlds population, representing 15,000 cultures, will have the opportunity to learn, and teach, via Internet within the next 10-20 years. With the current teacher shortage, Self-Directed Learning courses may be the only way to meet the vast need for instruction worldwide. Teachers and students will find it increasingly feasible to be able to teach worldwide from any location.
As we all learn how to create Self-Directed Learning instructional experiences for others, as well as mentorship opportunities, the brokerage of such instructional experiences, with micropayments based on measurable learning outcomes, will allow instructional entrepreneurs the freedom to "Teach from any Beach," or location in the world. The term "Lone Eagles" has been used to describe those who have won their freedom by learning-to-earn via the Internet. (http://lone-eagles.com
A Web Tour of Educational Resources
Cross-Cultural Self-Directed Learner's Internet Guide
An instructional brokerage resource with emphasis on pointing to the
best online tutorials, and educational resources, on the Internet for
self-directed learning. Originally developed for the Native Alaskan
villages of the Yukon-Koyukuk Regional Consortium, this guide will
soon be updated on contract with the ERIC/CRESS Clearinghouse for
widespread distribution. Extensive resource listings of the best of the best.
This guide is supported by free access to two college credit online classes:
1. Making the Best
Use of Internet Resources for
2. Designing Online
American/Alaskan/Hawaiian K-12 Web Innovations
A report for the U.S. Agency for International Development
Migrant Education 'Spanish Language' K-12 Web Resources
Lone Eagle's Listing of Mentoring Projects
Health Care Links
Community Networks can champion a wide range of health care services and innovations. Important trends are online medical diagnosis assistance
services, discount drug purchasing, remote medical testing, and support for new levels of home-care. Telemedicine high-bandwidth applications involve two-way video conferencing and sharing high-volume radiology files.
Medically-related collaborative services include support groups, listed by illness, and other services such has hospice, survivors of suicide, and much more. Its hard to find more compelling uses for community networking!!
Online medical consultation and over 40 support groups where you can
share your problems, and encouragement with others suffering similar
problems. An important model for a whole new array of medical
This type of megasite we can expect to see more of;
pointers to hundreds of quality resources!
Clinic Health Oasis
From the famous Mayo Clinic.
Current topical health information and links to other resources
Online discounted drug purchasing and drug information and
From the National Library of Medicine comes a superb health resource!
and Search Techniques
Thirty thousand people commit suicide every year in the US.
It is the third greatest cause of death among young people.
Learn what you can do to give people the social and emotional
support they obviously need.
For those who lost a loved one to suicide.
Foundation for Prevention of Suicide
Supportive Stories www.afsp.org/support/stories.html
End of Life Care; Hospice; Lots of resources for other purposes; explore!
Community Development, Electronic Democracy Models and Resources:
The following resources are taken from:
Citizenship is the American Ideal. There may be an army of actualities
opposed to that ideal, but there is no ideal opposed to that ideal.
Neighborhoods Online: National
WebActive.com: Activist Group Directory
Votelink-the voice of the 'Net
Civicnet: Civic Dialog and Citizen Participation Resources
An Electronic Civil Liberties Library
Minnesota E-Democracy Initiative
Federal Government Resources
National Department of Commerce http://www.ntia.doc.gov
Their TIIAP program gives $16 million/year in community network
U.S. Dept of Education Community Technology Program http://ed.gov
Plans to give unspecified number of millions for CTCs in 2000
Thomas Jefferson Government Resources
The White House
Guide to online mentoring and federal computer recycling program