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Montana's Strategy for 21st Century Workforce Readiness for All

The reality is that most rural citizens don't know how to turn broadband into economic prosperity. 

Whose responsibility it is to educate all Montanans on "leading practices?"

Funded Montanan Projects now deliberating on innovative outreach strategies are:
The DOC state broadband awareness and adoption monies
(mapping grant and supplemental)
The Montana State Library's 42 public computing centers,
The College NOW virtual community college grant
The Montana Digital Academy
OPI’s Lodgegrass grant for low-performing schools

In addition are new funding opportunities; DOE discretionary grants, $12 billion for community colleges, workforce innovations monies, a NSF Cyberlearning RFP, and many more:

One Example: Obama's community college innovation initiative:

$12 billion: Create a new online skills laboratory: The US Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor would collaborate with community colleges to offer free online courses, in part to expand opportunities for working adults and rural students.

Montana’s grand social challenge, at its core, is how best to get everyone engaged to see their individual opportunities, simply, and soon, regarding digital literacy and 21st Century Workforce Readiness. The new reality for the 21st century is the imperative that "Everyone become both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time."

The challenge is to present a free first online course as an exciting, positive, successful first online learning experience to generate interest in continuing with online learning.  Social media provides the venue for maintaining interest with regular new media updates, insights, and continued invitations for purposeful engagement in volunteerism, and gaining important new skills that are also fun to learn and share.

In question is how such a first online course can be most effective for learners who are rural, low-income, low-literacy, unemployed, Native American, youth not in school, retirees, etc.  With new media this IS possible!


Montana’s 21st Century Workforce Basics Online Course provides:

A solution for meaningful digital inclusion, collaborative engagement, and peer mentoring on 21st Century workforce basics

New metrics and incentives for locally driven digital inclusion and literacy volunteerism

Establishing a digital identity you can be proud of; online resume, social media presence

Assistance developing an individualized learning plan using the best free online resources available.

During this short online course you will:
Learn the 21st Century workforce essentials
Learn how others are succeeding making a living, online
Establish your own online resume, and a social media digital presence that you can be proud of.
Learn basic new media skills, create your own web pages, and more.
Learn to use the Internet for self-directed lifelong learning
Learn to collaborate effectively using Web 2.0 and social media
Learn to mentor others and create online instructional videos of anything you can do on your computer screen
Learn to use the Internet to be a more effective consumer, keeping costs to a minimum
Learn to produce value for a Knowledge economy
Learn the value of trustworthiness and relationship building in a Global interconnected economy

Learn More:

21st Century Workforce Basics Outline

Montana Mentors Innovation Incubators Pilot Project

Lone  Eagle Consulting 2010 Update (6 pages)


A Summary of Lone Eagle Consulting’s Online Course Innovations: 1988-2010

Since 1988 I've been creating innovative online courses specifically for rural, remote and indigenous learners. In 2005, my history to that point, as an early pioneer of online learning was published along with histories of other early adapters http://lone-eagles.com/history.htm


In 1988, the Big Sky Telegraph created a first free course on Microcomputer telecommunications as a model alternative certification program (diploma and embroidered patch) touting the completion of ten self-directed lessons by both educators and citizens as “forging the online trail that others may follow.”


This was one of the first rural-specific self-directed free online courses modeling scalable Train-the-Trainer methodologies.  The Big Sky Telegraph was recognized as one of the first rural online educational networks; cited for excellence by the Whitehouse, and four Congressional reports and by many others.


900 educators in 19 states, and Finland, took the course, compiling 700 lesson plans which were among the first online resources posted by the US DOE when they launched their website in 1995.


In 1989, in partnership with the MIT plasma fusion lab, we (the Montana University System) taught an online course on Chaos Theory mathematics to 7-8th graders in one-room schools in Wy and MT. As a result, one of the kids ended up at MIT. That's low cost high imagination - in action, and is now a bit of the history of online innovation in Montana.


In 1994, US West and Annenberg funded the “Reach for the Sky” Math and Science teacher mentoring program as one of the first, if not THE first, STEM teacher mentoring program on the web. The web literally  appeared during the launch of the three online Train-the Trainer courses at www.lone-eagles.com/courses/rfts  The literature review on characteristics of adult learners was provided by Dr. John Rogan.


In 1998, I left my asst. professor position at UMW to become Lone Eagle Consulting and that winter spent 80 days providing the first Internet workshops to K12 educators, students and community members in 11 Alaskan Native villages on the Yukon River. The villages had just installed Internet satellite systems. An online course was created to support their ongoing learning after the workshops.


From 2000 to 2010, I've taught two online graduate courses for educators via Alaska Pacific University and the Alaska Staff Development Network, one titled “Making the Best Use of Internet for K12 Instruction,” and the second “Designing K12 Online Instruction.”  As over 300 educators completed these courses, I've witnessed transformational learning by educators across very different generations. I've learned the importance of personal mentoring and encouragement, and the benefits of mastery learning self-directed lessons, outcomes-based assessments, and directing individualized learning, made possible through this High Tech- High Touch - proven model. Their web curriculum final projects and the online lessons are at http://lone-eagles.com/teachercreated.htm


Recognizing the greatest need in rural communities as being an income, I began a five year adventure working with Idaho State University's College of Technology Workforce Training office. Together we engaged in multiple USDA projects delivering workshops and online courses on Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies....designed as a first online mastery learning success for rural adults who had never experienced online learning. More at http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm


From 2003-2006, I worked with the Montana Choice project, delivering over 60 presentations and workshops across Montana for this USDOL Ecommerce Demonstration project focused on Internet self-employment for individuals with disabilities. More at http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm


In 2008, I created a graduate course for New Mexico State University on Social Media for the K12 Classroom, using Moodle. More at http://lone-eagles.com/expertise.htm


In 2009, funded by the Alaska Department of Labor, in partnership with KACN TV, I used social media to create a 21st Century Workforce Readiness course for Alaskan Native youth no longer in school. More at http://lone-eagles.com/expertise.htm


In 2010, VSArts.org funded a unique project “Digital Storytelling and 21st Century Workforce Readiness.”  To include youth with disabilities, gifted students, and average students. The curriculum is now under development. The course begins January 2011.


Extensive international and indigenous activity and national presentations are summarized at http://lone-eagles.com/expertise.htm and the roster of events is at http://lone-eagles.com/new.htm


In closing, I have extensive experience with the history of E-learning, rural community networking, and community technology centers, and have produced printed and online guides with support from USAID, ERIC, AT&T Learning Network, USDA, US West, Annenberg Foundation, and others.



Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting, 2200 Rebich Lane, Dillon, MT 59725
Email: Frank@lone-eagles.com PH/Fax: 406 683 6270, Cell: 406 925 2519