The New Gold Rush – Are You Ready?
                 Tales from the Frontier of Community Development

       by Frank Odasz


When the first gold nugget was found at Sutter’s Mill, word traveled like wildfire and the great California gold rush exploded.

Starband announced Dec. 2000, affordable 2-way Internet satellite systems are now available for single PC’s for $70/month. The more advanced Tachyon systems coupled with wireless technologies, can now network entire communities without copper wire or geographical limitations.

Suddenly, all communities worldwide, rural and urban, have the opportunity to explore the promise of the economic and social benefits of high speed Internet.

The first gold nugget is still waiting to be found, however. It is literally, once Internet access is achieved, the most effective way to help both regular citizens and digital divide folks become inspired, motivated self-directed learners using Internet!

Mining Raw Human Potential

Due to the sudden availability of new 2-way satellite and wireless solutions, high-speed Internet will quickly become commonplace. Communities, and nations, will soon begin to understand they are in competition for who can most quickly establish the visions and processes by which communities, and nations, will engage citizens in using Internet to realize the untapped human potential of all individuals. We’re literally witnessing the beginning of a new gold rush; how to mine the full learning potential of all citizens within any community, or nation, for both their economic and social value.

The New Gold Rush:
Mining Raw Human Potential with Free Web Tools Part II.

If we take a lesson from our educated elite, many educators received high-speed Internet access years ago, but received minimal training opportunities, resulting in non-use of the majority of the capabilities at their fingertips. Many educators are still intimidated by computers and Internet, and/or are not aware of the higher uses available. How to best provide motivating training for less educated folks is one big question!

The Digital Divide issue is fast becoming not simply access, but access to the best "fast-track" training solutions proven to deliver the highest levels of Internet benefits, and human motivation.

Internet Brings Three Historical Firsts

The Internet brings individuals and communities three indisputably important major historical firsts that relate to both social and business applications:

1. Fingertip access to the world’s knowledge base; the ability to find specific information within seconds from worldwide sources. This allows self-empowerment through self-directed, just-in-time, inquiry-based learning.

2. Inexpensive global self-publishing for both individuals and communities; sharing creative works and resources with an authentic peer audience through the ability to self-publish locally, or globally, on equal par with the world’s largest universities, corporations, and governments. This allows for every story to be told and dramatically facilitates the sharing of information.

3. The ability to collaborate with individuals without restraint due to distance or time, either privately one-to-one, or publicly involving whole communities, bringing people together around purposeful causes to take organized action. The Internet increases the quantity and quality of human relationships.

Finding the Best for the Most with the Least

The Internet makes it possible to access the best online training, suitable for the most citizens, requiring the least investment of time and effort. Extensive free online resources are already available. The need exists for a resource brokerage cooperative assisting citizens on an ongoing basis in identifying the best for the most with the least investment of time and effort.

Common Ground – A Cross-cultural Self-directed Learner’s Internet Guide


Teaching ‘digital divide folks’ use of the best searching tools and techniques, including the best free web tools for collaboration, e-commerce training and sites, web authoring, and web-hosting, allows them to leapfrog ahead of mainstream users, saving major time and frustration while delivering self-confidence and the motivation to learn more.

Free Web Tools Web Tour

Everyone can be both learner and teacher, all the time

As youth frequently demonstrate for their overwhelmed parents and teachers, specific information can be easily retrieved within seconds of having the need. In a world of accelerating change, self-directed learning using Internet is now an important skill. Search engines can return in seconds listings of tutorials by topic, including whole online courses and much more.

Adult Literacy Web Tour

Building Individual and Community Collaborative Capacity

Collaboration is needed to combat information overload as email, listservs and other Internet collaborative tools provide efficient means for sharing information. If we learn to share, we’ll all have access to all our joint knowledge. Peer-mentoring roles are made viable by the convenience of email. But, realizing our joint collaborative potential will require changes in our behavior. Where does one go for "fast-track" training on building individual and community collaborative capacity that engages citizens in a fun, social, way?

Building Individual and Community Collaborative Capacity

Basic Knowledge Worker Skill Set:
- Self-directed Learning Using Search Engines
- Collaborative Sharing
- Web-publishing (multimedia)
- Relationship-building, mentoring, collaboration and teaching,
   both locally and globally

Everyone can be both consumer and producer

While many of us have the impression we have been left in the dust by silicon valley billionaire whiz kids, the reality is we too have unlimited opportunities to explore. Ecommerce starts with being able to take a digital image of your product with the push of one button on a digital camera, and uploading it to where over one billion dollars will be exchanged by others doing the same simple auctioning tasks. Successful businesses have been created around selling tumbleweeds, home crafts, and other products which would never sell locally in enough volume to be profitable. Global niche markets are now accessible to all of us.

Ecommerce start-up training and free Ecommerce sites

Are you ready?

Cisco Systems has demonstrated a successful mastery learning training program through their Cisco Academies. A similar program is needed for training rural citizens, not to be network technicians, but to create the Ecommerce and social applications which will engage the 99% of citizens who will not be Cisco network technicians.

During the last 15 years, Cisco has become the third largest corporation in the world. This year, Cisco will train over 150,000 students in 74 countries. Cisco relies on peer mentoring to deliver a significant percentage of their technical support.

Since rural communities share many needs, at issue is how best to avoid the expense of unnecessary duplication and how best to benefit from potential economies of scale, in the ongoing creation and dissemination of best practices and resources for Internet awareness, training, collaboration, and Ecommerce. Who will lead?

The Future of Community Development - Make the Living You Want Living Wherever You Want

Global Equalizer

Starband announced Dec. 2000, the availability of high-speed two-way Internet dishes that can bring many of the benefits of broadband to all communities. Costs are $199 for installation and $69.99/month (one year commitment) for 500kb downlink and 150kb uplink speeds, or over 10 times the speed of a regular phoneline.) Starband systems are limited to single PC’s, but Tachyon systems, using wireless modems, can serve multiple users across a community.

Starband Single PC Satellite Solutions
Tachyon Single or Multiple PC Solutions
Dave Hughes’ Wireless Testbed
Other satellite and wireless solutions and articles 

Just what would a citizen, or community, do with such a system to turn it into a sustainable business or multiple businesses? Are there proven models out there to learn from? Community networks have continually redefined themselves. Many community networks today are becoming social engagement programs focused on creating ongoing collaborative-innovation training programs. Where does one go for guidance?

Good Neighbor’s Guide to Community Networking

As communities worldwide gain such access, they will eventually share equal opportunities with your community. You might consider the next few years as your window of opportunity for being ‘first to market,’ or you might sit back and just wait and see what happens.

Will-nots are an Issue

Separate from the categories of the "haves and have-nots," are the "will-nots," those who want nothing to do with computers, Internet, and technology in general.

Technology is intimidating, and threatens directly the often low techno-self-confidence of many of us, whether citizens, school administrators, or congresspersons. Understanding the most motivating means of introducing the Internet’s greatest benefits within this highly personal context is fundamental to creating inspired, motivated self-directed learners – at all levels of society!

Innovation Diffusion – Looking at the Process of change

Leadership Issues

Youth often know more about computers and Internet than adults, making them valuable community mentoring and technical support resources. Youth typically outpace adults in their acquisition of new skills when they have the opportunity for Internet access at school, and particularly at home. Youth today are key change agents and technology leaders. Important new roles for youth are emerging. At the same time, established leaders are often among the least techo-literate among us, making important decisions for their communities without the benefit of personal hands-on experience.

Culture Club: A youth-based community and cultural survival strategy

About the Author:

Since 1988, Frank Odasz has been teaching online courses for educators and presenting keynotes and workshops for educators and communities, including Alaskan Natives, Migrant educators, and Native Americans. Lone Eagle Consulting specializes in rural, remote and indigenous learners and shares the mission of creating targeted training opportunities to create other Lone Eagles, with emphasis on ‘citizens teaching citizens’ and cultural appropriateness.

            Lone Eagle Consulting

While writing this article, the author was also preparing for two days of presentations in Clyde, Kansas, pop. 800., by creating specific listings of doable, short-term action initiatives, including three online mini-courses on Internet self-empowerment for citizens.
You can read about this and other rural adventures at