Background: Alaskan Solutions for America’s Broadband Usage Challenge:
Julius Genochowski, former Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
chairman, is quoted as saying, “Broadband democratizes opportunity for
all Americans to participate in the $8 trillion dollar global Internet
economy.” And, related to the need for all Americans to adopt
broadband; “We’ll make it or break it at the local level.” But,
Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) funded only 3.5 per
cent of $4.2 billion for adoption innovations, and currently there is
no scalable social innovation to motivate and inform those who could
benefit most. There are many federal initiatives seeking to provide
connectivity to low-income citizens who need a motivational engagement
strategy; ConnectEd, Lifeline, Linkup, Erate, and others. The funding
for all the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(NTIA) State Broadband Initiatives did not fund many activities at the
local level, with the exception of Alaska’s Digitizing Alaska Pilot
The biggest potential impacts of broadband are the opportunities for
generating mass income-producing innovations for the 1:2 Americans who
are low income and/or in poverty. The first step is getting them
excited by showing them what's already working for others like them.
Then, engaging them directly in creating and sharing something amazing,
that they've been able to create themselves in less than an hour. There
is huge latent human potential, even without the faster broadband
speeds, that could be implemented in the short term to raise awareness
and expectations for what regular people can now truly learn to do, for
themselves and others.
It is a fact that mobile devices outsell personal computers 4:1, and
that everything digital is getting more powerful, easier-to-use, more
interconnected, integrated, personal, and essential to common tasks
like smart shopping, mobile commerce, family health, and socioeconomic
sustainability. Social innovation via social media can help us all
overcome the technofear in our world of accelerating change through
participation in a friendly trusted mutual support network capable of
keeping us all current on our best solutions for meeting our essential
The huge opportunity is that mining raw human potential is now possible
via new digital delivery methods of appropriate education, and peer
support, which can now be delivered en masse at minimal cost; Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Khan Academy, and other distance and
mobile learning models, have opened the door for even greater,
scalable, social innovations.
Frank Odasz, president of Lone Eagle Consulting, offers 29 years
experience teaching educators and citizens online, and extensive
resources, available online without restriction. Since providing the
first Internet workshops for educators, students, and communities for
11 villages on the Yukon in 1998, Alaska Native specific online
courses, grant templates, and more, have been generated and shared by
Lone Eagle Consulting.
The goal of this proposal is to show what individuals and communities
can learn to do sustainably, for themselves, creating social
enterprises to create sustainable families, communities, and cultures.
As a unique model for all 250+ remote Alaska Native villages, this
proposal will create a sustainable local innovations incubator, and a
statewide online entrepreneurship training center, for remote Alaska
Native entrepreneurs of all ages. As a first model for a local support
network, citizens will learn-to-earn by participating in short “Create
and Share” hands-on workshops, creating online resources of value to
the community as mentoring those who need personal help. By celebrating
regularly updated Alaska Native entrepreneurship success stories, and a
training innovations “best practices” clearinghouse, citizens will
identify their actionable entrepreneurial opportunities in service to
the local village, and potentially to serve all Alaska Native villages.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ORGANIZATION AND MISSION:
The Annette Island School District (AISD) is a unique organization with
a long record of stimulating innovation in education. To appreciate the
unique character of AISD, one must understand just how unique Annette
Island is, as the home of the Metlakatla Indian Community; Tsimshian
Alaskan Natives, and as a one-of-a-kind sovereign Native Island Nation.
AISD (501c3 status) is fiscally responsible with an annual budget of
over $7 million dollars; fiscal audit documentation is available on
The Target Demographics Our Project Will Serve Directly:
will directly impact the Metlakatla Indian Community, population 1,452,
which is primarily Tsimshian; Alaska Native, but will be visible online
to all 250+ Alaska Native villages; consisting of 11 tribes and
languages; with a combined population of 250,000, half remote, half
urban, and to all Native American and Hawaiian Native communities, est.
The goal is to inspire through example all indigenous communities
worldwide; 150+ million. The recent examples of viral social media
rapid growth, not the least of which is one billion people joining
Facebook within 5 years, presents very real opportunities for very
large numbers of people to benefit directly, in the short term, from
Building on a Successful “Digitizing Alaska” Pilot Project
September 2011, the first traditional potlatch in
decades was held, with over 500 attendees, and was broadcast statewide
by KACN TV. As a direct result, a Virtual Potlatch concept paper
resulted in the funding and implementation of the NTIA/State Broadband
Initiative demonstration project "Digitizing Alaska." Multiple
successful “proof of concept” models have laid the groundwork for
broader next steps.
In the spring of 2013, The Association of Alaska School Boards, with
the help of Connect Alaska and Frank Odasz, president of Lone Eagle
Consulting, launched the “Digitizing Alaska: Broadband Strategies”
pilot project to research the current level of digital innovation, and
identify related future opportunities for innovation, in remote
Published article summarizing the Digitizing Alaska project;
Most recent published articles, Dec. 2014
The Challenge for Mass Innovation:
This effort showcased online - for all to see - what’s possible when
good people take action to raise the GPA (Good People Acting) of the
entire community; Numerous short videos, an iBook multimedia manual,
Native language e-books, community ecommerce websites, and more, have
already been created;
A Digital Entrepreneurship “Train-the-Trainers” program will be created
and delivered both online as a model for all Alaska Native villages.
The online training will be presented in an open format accessible to
all interested learners (MOOC).
AISD educators will have the opportunity for digital online activities,
as well as online recertification courses. Ongoing updates via social
media will create a forum for keeping everyone conveniently up-to-date
as new Alaskan innovations emerge. While the training will provide the
tools and awareness for what’s possible, the real challenge will be
what the villages, and the citizens, choose to do with the
opportunities for innovation. Public measures of progress and
participation will provide social recognition for those who contribute
their time to the discovery process for new options for their village.
The outcome of this one-year project will be the village’s own
technology story, as told by locals from multiple perspectives.
Reframe the opportunities for local replication of the Metlakatla
Digitizing Alaska workshops in other Alaska Native villages, in a
step-by-step online format, with examples of both the training
innovations, and the citizen-created online content outcomes. This is a
specifically bottom-up engagement approach that will address all
generation’s opportunities, from primary grades to Elders.
Gather and share new online resources related to broadband empowerment
for digital entrepreneurship, education, public safety, and
sustainability for families, communities, and cultures of Alaska.
Rather than presenting an overwhelming number of general resources,
AISD will focus on presenting the best, relevant hands-on experiences
and fast-track solutions for getting started.
Create new short online lessons on digital entrepreneurship, digital
storytelling, and how everyone can be both learner and teacher, both
consumer and producer.
Video mini-lessons will be created, to be accessible via mobile devices
as well as traditional Internet, showcasing how Alaskans are learning
to benefit from the Internet, mobile devices, and creating and sharing
rich media of all types.
Teaching online mentorship for those eager to learn, and teach, digital
entrepreneurship best practices.
Visual examples of the local Egov portal concept, and teaching
resources for how anyone can conduct a local webraising, and other
motivating "Create and Share" community events will be the primary
project outcomes. All Alaska Native villages will be invited to utilize
the self-directed free online training videos, tutorials and lessons.
Project outcomes will address in detail the ideal local dynamics for
sustainable innovation incubators with an eye toward future funding and
implementation. A key goal is to report on citizen-generated
innovations and sustainable local initiatives made possible by the
simplicity and direct creative participation, encouraged by AISD’s
staff and educators. This project represents a format for local
participatory action-research with direct input by learners of all ages.
Timeline for Implementation: June 1, 2014 – May 1, 2015
END Funded Proposal
Note: Funding was reduced to allow one day a week, online only
innovations, for 11 months, with no travel or local stipends.
Here are additional opportunities for innovation from the longer
original Innovations Incubator grant proposal might be of interest:
Create a Model Alaskan Native Local Action Plan
The most effective way to implement
rural innovation diffusion is to create the first Alaskan Native
Digital Village Success Story; showing by example what’s possible.
strategy is to work closely with the Metlakatla Indian community, as an
intentionally innovative village - using digital tools to adapt to a
changing economy and environment with emphasis on long-term
“New Mirror Metrics” will showcase the expression of Alaskan Native
Values by providing public online social recognition for those
contributing to the community. We’ll post public progress regularly
celebrating the number of active participants, the number of mentors
and new skills shared, the number of new websites, the locally
generated innovations, and more.
We’ll model a
self-assessment initiative for individuals and communities, whereby
individuals and the community, lead by parents and youth, document
their local skills and talents, both digital and cultural, their
current websites, both cultural and entrepreneurial, and will identify
who is interested in sharing what they know with others, and/or in
learning specific new skills.
1. Launching a MOOC as an Open Education
Resource. The project launch will be a Massively Open Online (short)
Course to announce the project goals, and provide free access to the
methods and training resources, inviting other villages (without
funding) to participate. Multiple social media feeds will allow
monitoring daily progress by anyone, anywhere, and will be a key
incentive for participation and creativity locally, and regionally.
2. Provide Short 1 Hour “Create and Share”
Awareness Events, including hands-on workshops, focusing on creating
online celebrations of local culture. A key social innovation will be
to include publicly visible social recognition for those who gave their
time to help others gain digital skills. Emphasis would be on an
initial community self-assessment, with ongoing celebration of online
public measures of progress.
3. Create Online Self-directed Educational
Activities for Parents to Engage Online with Their Children on a daily
basis to provide an educationally supportive environment in the home.
An emphasis would be on "Growing an entrepreneurial culture across all
4. Create Intergenerational Activities Where
Elders and Youth Can Learn Together About culturally appropriate
broadband applications with emphasis on digital storytelling activities
that result in preserving elders wisdom and stories via rich media for
all future generations. We’ll reunite the generations by having youth
identify how elders can benefit from health apps, online telecare,
online shopping, and how to overcome elders isolation, loneliness, and
depression by reconnecting with distant family members via Skype and
5. Create an Online Clearinghouse of "Show-Me"
Video Examples of outstanding broadband innovations and applications
from individuals, other villages, and global sources, to raise
awareness in all Native communities as to how they might consider
leveraging their available digital communications opportunities. Free
online short lessons will quickly show how anyone can learn to teach
others online, easily; Everyone both learner and teacher, consumer and
producer, all the time.
6. We’ll Seed Local Digital Entrepreneurial
Businesses to deliver digital skills training and expertise locally,
offering advanced entrepreneurship training to volunteers who agree to
create free websites and online videos to serve local needs, to be used
as product examples for their future online services offered to native
villages both within, and beyond, Alaska. The media creation community
contributions that volunteers post online will be dedicated, in
potlatch fashion, to honor individuals who have lived by Alaskan Native
values. These innovations will build robust Eportfolio online resumes
to support for-profit “instructional entrepreneurship” social
7. Create the Means for Ongoing Sharing of
Local Innovations Between Villages as a functional “community of
communities” sharing innovations, resources, and mentors - in
recognition of the benefits of a mutual support network; the power of
all of us, as has been the Native Tradition for millennia.
The Original "Digitizing Alaska" pilot
project: Feb-April 2013
Spring 2013, the first three workshops
were held in Metlakatla, resulting in half a dozen short videos, a
published article, three national broadband conference presentations,
and several blog postings for top level Federal agencies.
All this simply sets the stage for this next year's activities.....as
Metlakatla's own technology story evolves to help all Alaska Native
villages understand their opportunities to use "broadband" to create
sustainable villages and cultures.
To: Alaskan Rural Broadband Advocates
From: Frank Odasz, Rural Telecommunications Congress
RE: Presenting the Digitizing Alaska NTIA/SBI Pilot Project:
Details on the uniquely scalable Digitizing Alaska project follows:
This article describes the Digitizing Alaska project:
and it is now online at http://bbcmag.epubxp.com/i/281446
in Broadband Communities Magazine (www.bbcmag.com ) - This article is
likely to create interest in what innovations are possible, or at least
are worth testing via additional pilot projects.
Summary Video: 8 minutes - Strongly Recommended
The Alaskan Native Tradition of Creative Adaptation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agdh9-SK8Ck&feature=youtu.be
From the NTIA/SBI Digitizing Alaska Pilot Project, Spring 2013
Digitizing Alaska; NTIA State Broadband Initiative Research Pilot
Feb-April 2013, Lone Eagle Consulting provided unique digital literacy
workshops for two NTIA State Broadband Initiatives, one in Alaskan
Native Villages, and the other in rural and urban North Carolina.
I.E. 40 flights from the Bering Sea to the Atlantic, and back again,
twice, plus presenting at the National Broadband Communities conference
in Dallas. A few short videos from the Digitizing Alaska research
project might be compelling to watch; http://lone-eagles.com/digitizing-metlakatla.htm
Three Recent DC Blog Posts
on Digitizing Alaska’s Innovations:
Anne Neville, National SBI Mapping Director, presented in Alaska last
week, and here are three blogs in DC where she tells the story;
National Telecommunications Information Agency Blog; Digitizing Alaska
Federal Department of Commerce Digitizing Alaska Post
Whitehouse Blog: Digitizing Alaska posting
Published in November: Seniors Caring for Seniors via Telecare:
The Silver Tsunami article http://lone-eagles.com/silver-tsunami.pdf
was inspired by Montana Gov. Bullock’s
and the Graying of Montana Webinar hosted by
MSU and OneMontana.org
Montana is the fourth fastest aging state in the union, the U.S. is the
6th fastest aging country in the world.
Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting; 29 Years Innovating Online from
Frank Odasz is on the board of the Rural Telecommunications Congress,
and is president of Lone Eagle Consulting, which has specialized in
rural, remote and indigenous Internet learning since 1997. Frank has
offered workshops on rural ecommerce and telework strategies funded by
USDA, USDOL, Alaska Department of Labor, NTIA/SBI and Connect Alaska.
Lone Eagle’s grassroots adventures range from delivering Internet
workshops to 11 Alaska Native villages in 1998 to presenting rural
broadband training best practices for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC International Conferences). Recent online courses include
teaching digital entrepreneurship as 21st-century workforce readiness.
A longer Bio, and photo is at http://www.bbcmag.com/2014s/14bio/Odasz-frank13.php
Past Native village and rural grant templates; http://lone-eagles.com/rural-grant-templates.htm
Federal and International Whitepapers from Lone Eagle Consulting
Initial formal advice to BTOP Leadership:
America’s Historic Challenge to Fund Mass Innovation
*without the risks of political backlash due to lack of documented results
For the FCC Chairman:
Strategies for Measurable Mass American Innovation
Advice to the 21 Economies of APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation)
Implementing Meaningful Rural ICT Capacity Building Metrics
APEC/TEL 2008 Report:
As a U.S Delegate at the request of NTIA, Lone Eagle Consulting presented twice
for APEC conferences in Calgary, Canada, 2006, and Toyko, Japan, 2008,
on Global Indigenous and Rural Broadband Training best practices.
Advice to Indigenous communities worldwide:
Seminar on Using ICT for Rural Community Capacity Building
Final Report on Rural Broadband adoption recommendations from APEC countries.
This includes recommendations from Lone Eagle Consulting.
Realizing Cultural and Community Sustainability through
Internet Innovations in Alaska Native Villages
Presented at an Australian Indigenous Conference.
First meeting of the ICT indigenous commission of the Americas:
I cofacilitated this International Telecommunications Union event in
Antigua Guatemala, 2007 http://lone-eagles.com/guatemala.htm
A dozen broadband toolkits, collected for the Rural Telecom Congress
Dozens of Native resource web pages searchable internally at
See also http://lone-eagles.com/smart.htm
for archived articles.