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.


It’s a reasonable bet that we’ll have to learn some new skills if we’re 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.

Learning-to-Learn, Learning-to-Earn

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. We’re 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 doesn’t 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, we’ll 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, there’s 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: )

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 one’s 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 world’s 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 world’s 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. (

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
            K-12 Instruction
                 A hands-on course on how to broker the best resources for your

           2. Designing Online Curriculum

                 A hands-on course on how to easily create Internet hotlists,
                 web-tours, lessonplans, project-based learning activities
                 (Webquest, Cyberfair, Thinkquest) and complete online courses
                 using online web tools.
        Native Alaskan K-12 Innovations Web Tour

          Links to village web sites, web tutorials on building dog sleds,
          web-marketing of village crafts and collaborative projects.

         Native 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

       Dr. Koop MegaMedical Resources
       This type of megasite we can expect to see more of;
       pointers to hundreds of quality resources!

       Mayo Clinic Health Oasis
       From the famous Mayo Clinic.

       CNN's Health Site
       Current topical health information and links to other resources

       Planet RX
       Online discounted drug purchasing and drug information and

       Cancer Manager

       From the National Library of Medicine comes a superb health resource!

       Medline Access and Search Techniques

       Net Wellness

Suicide Counseling:

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.

       Survivors of Suicide
       For those who lost a loved one to suicide.

      American Foundation for Prevention of Suicide
      Supportive Stories


      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.     
                                                                        G.K. Chesterson

Liberty Net
Institute for the Study of Civic Values--Help strengthen America's commitment
to our historic civic ideals. Many resources for citizens to build a true, informed,
proactive democracy!

Neighborhoods Online: National
A key component of LibertyNet; helping neighborhood activists and
organizations gain information and resources of use in solving community
problems; online resource center.
A clearinghouse for cause-related web collaborative activities.
Select the Virtual Activist training course! Activist Group Directory
Here's a great searchable directory of "communities of interest;" citizens with a mission!

Votelink-the voice of the 'Net
Free on-line voting and discussions; See Teen Voting and discussions!
Canadian site supporting electronic citizenship and community activists. See the electronic citizenship section!

Civicnet: Civic Dialog and Citizen Participation Resources
Resources from The Center for Civic Networking and The Innovation Groups.

An Electronic Civil Liberties Library
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Select Netculture and Online community, and Cyberanthropology.

Minnesota E-Democracy Initiative 
An exceptionally vigorous state initiative. Good source of links to similarly minded folks.

Federal Government Resources

National Department of Commerce
Their TIIAP program gives $16 million/year in community network

U.S. Dept of Education Community Technology Program
Plans to give unspecified number of millions for CTC’s in 2000

Thomas Jefferson Government Resources
Direct from the Library of Congress, here are extensive
resources on current congressional activity; Bills, congressional
records, advisory board reports, congressional Internet sites, and
even email addresses and mailing label files for serious community activists.

Providing a comprehensive central access point for locating and acquiring government information.

The White House
Take the White House Tour!!

Guide to online mentoring and federal computer recycling program