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Global Best Practices for
ICT (Information Communications Technologies) Capacity-building Activities for Rural Communities

The following is a summary of this seminar, with suggestions. The event was hosted by the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications Working Group, Tokyo, Japan, March 23-24, 2008.  Seminar Web Site: www.apectel37.jp    

By Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting, Email: frank@lone-eagles.com

The APECTEL conference goals are described at http://lone-eagles.com/apec-conference.htm
Twenty-three economies (Nations) gathered to share
Global Best Practices for ICT Capacity-building Activities for Rural Communities.

A short proposal to present was submitted by Lone Eagle Consulting to the U.S. National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) which was accepted. The requirements were to prepare a 15 page paper and commit to deliver a 40 minute presentation as a U.S. Delegate.
(The short proposal is at the end of this summary document.)

 Links to the formal final paper by Lone Eagle Consulting:

    Global Best Practices for ICT Capacity-building Activities for Rural Communities
    Online at http://lone-eagles.com/social-engineering.htm and
    as a WORD 2003 doc at http://lone-eagles.com/social-engineering.doc

Trip Summary: The flight departed Seattle mid-afternoon and headed over the Aleutian Islands in SW Alaska. For hours we were over frozen seas and it never got dark.  We arrived mid-afternoon the following day after a ten-hour flight. A three hour bus ride amid a typical traffic jam succeeded in my arrival at a 45 story hotel in the heart of Tokyo – one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Seminar Summary: The organization of the event and the presentations were outstanding. A final report, compilation of resources, web site, and a roster of consultants will be completed in the coming months. There will be an online discussion and a web site created at www.connectedruralcommunities.net

The U.S. is 17th regarding broadband access and most of the countries who presented are far advanced in broadband deployment and are busy creating rural telecenters and training programs. Regrettably, the U.S. is not funding similar programs.

The seminar was very effective sharing high quality presentations on similar ICT projects.
The effectiveness of the overall project will be determined by the final report, resources shared, and level of activity for ongoing sharing of best practices by all the rural ICT projects. The degree of success will be determined by the practical utility of the final report and how broadly it is disseminated.

Suggestions and Comments:
The questions nearly all presentations raised are not easy to answer, but if quality answers can be identified - huge numbers of rural learners could benefit directly.

Key Questions: What is Information Technology (I.T.) literacy? What is the best possible I.T. training? What are the most effective distance learning methods for rural learners? How can telecentre operators most effectively motivate rural citizens to engage ICTs? What are the best economic sustainability models for rural telecentres? What are the best successive strategies for rural ecommerce and telework?

Was there any room for improving the project? If so, how?
More funding and a longer timeframe would allow for robust gathering, assessment and sharing of training resources and success stories. Ideally, this project could be expanded to include the creation of multimedia rural success stories, particularly videos of rural citizens telling what ICT applications they have found most valuable, as a specific strategy to motivate rural citizens to engage with ICT training and use. If APEC doesn’t have the funding it is very likely industry and/or foundation sponsorship is attainable.

There is great potential for Web 2.0 distance learning and I am quite focused this Spring on creating six semester credits of graduate courses for educators on Web 2.0 and 21st Century I.T. literacy for New Mexico State University. Based on all I’ve been learning, and from the experience of participating in this excellent Rural ICT seminar, I have considered the opportunity to create a significantly different set of online Web 2.0 lessons on Global Citizenship related to socio-economic capacity-building and invite discussion on this opportunity.

Brian Mefford's example below is well worth sharing. 

Brian Writes:
You mentioned your web 2.0 work and I want to make sure you know about or have read a good book I finished recently. It's “The Big Switch” by Nicholas Carr (the guy who caused a stink with “Does IT Matter?” a few years back).
The book makes the case for why the era we're in (web 2.0 era) is so significant in historical context. Of note is an anecdote that starts on p. 118 that demonstrates the power of web 2.0 for the average motivated person. He goes through the story of "Geoff" who is an aficionado of used Mustangs and decides to ratchet up his online tinkering from email, etc. When all is said and done he has built a web site that houses a blog, youtube streams, instantly shares pictures from car shows through a flickr app (edited later through Phixr), shares music that relates to the cars through Lastfm, and blasts his writings to subscribers through a Feedburner RSS tool. As his traffic built he added a revenue generating ad space through Google AdSPace.

The most amazing part is that he loaded no software on his pc to do these things since they're all web-based tools and even more important is that he paid NOTHING to use them. Other words - with appropriate TRAINING, someone who lives in a remote area, has a decent broadband connection and a $400 pc can build a very sophisticated web presence to conduct commerce and connect to others of like interest.

*End Quote from Brian Mefford, Email bmefford@connectednation.org

Frank’s Final Comments:

Did you know, narrated Powerpoints can be posted free at www.slideshare.net ?
Did you know videos of all the presentations could be posted free at www.youtube.com?

Did you know instructional videos are at www.teachertube.com with a uniquely simple model for teaching Web 2.0 basics via video at www.commoncraft.com and a Canadian community video sharing model is at www.communitytube.org (from www.pcna.ca, the Pacific Community Networking Association in British Columbia. )

Quite seriously, take five minutes to view the following short video and consider how much more efficient it would be to have this format for rural ICT training.

YouTube - Did You Know 2.0  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U

Did you know, extensive resources from ten years of community telecenters and community networking projects from Canada, U.S. and other countries are already online? Many of these resources were included in my paper but in question is whether they will be carefully reviewed by all seminar participants without formal attention being given to the extent of these resources?

A future mechanism for identifying the best of the best of existing resources is strongly recommended. NOTE: It has been my experience that telecenter operators, and national ICT initiatives, often prefer to reinvent the wheel instead of using existing resources, and they often do not make the effort, or have the time, to share what they have created.  An efficient community of communities model for ongoing sharing of the best training resources could avoid expensive duplication of effort and could maintain a robust library of curriculum best practices.  Multimedia resources in particular can be time consuming to duplicate.

APECTEL might consider requesting funding from corporations and/or foundations to create greater awareness for application of the newer Web 2.0 tools and training methods and to gather and disseminate the best ICT training curriculum and success stories as broadly as possible.  The recent acceleration of the evolution of these Web 2.0 tools and training resources is a direct result of MySpace becoming a multi-billion dollar success with 100 million users in less than two years. If MySpace were an economy, it would be the 8th largest on Earth. A team of consultants could be tasked with creating a fast-track curriculum for telecentre trainers showcasing the best existing ICT curriculum for teaching the best of these self-empowerment tools.  My paper expands on these themes with links to many robust existing resources.

Resources and Models
The Community Technology Review www.comtechreview.org has grey sidebars with many links to resources. In particular, I thought the Americorps CTC project would be of interest, volunteers are paid $3500/year to provide technology training at low-income community technology centers. I was the community networking resources coordinator for one year and have an article or two in the last issue, above.

Here is a model for sharing videos on community networking themes; www.communitytube.org  from the Pacific Community Networking Association in Canada.  www.pcna.ca   FYI, I was on the founding board  (1995) of the Association for Community Networking www.afcn.org , and on the founding board of the Consortium for School Networking www.cosn.org

The "Montana Choice" project was a three-year regional Rural Ecommerce Demonstration project providing awareness-raising presentations, online lessons, and rural community action plans and grant templates. This USDOL demonstration project included extensive rural ecommerce and telework training resources created through previous USDA grants.
Details at http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm

Lastly, Patricia M. Abejo and her team, are to be commended for an insightful proposal and the initiative to host this important event. The importance to all APEC economies to continue and expand identification and dissemination of related best practices is beyond measure. Tens of thousands of telecenter operators working in the APEC economies do not have the time or resources themselves to conduct the research necessary to identify the best training resources or tools on an ongoing basis.

APEC Telecommunications Working Group

Philippines Community education centers initiative www.philcecnet.ph

Philippines agricultural cooperative www.b2bpricenow.com

New site to host outcome of the APEC Rural ICT conference

Korea Informatization Village based Homepage www.dbang.or.kr

 Philippines Agriculture Forestry Fisheries Information Service   www.affis.net


The Lone Eagle Presentation Proposal Submission for APEC/TEL37

Global Best Practices on ICT Capacity-Building Activities for Rural Communities
Lone Eagle Consulting specializes in rural, remote, and indigenous Internet learning with emphasis on fast-track training for rural ecommerce and telework strategies. Lone Eagle online curriculum and community action strategies were developed for a national rural ecommerce demonstration project, 2003-2006. The "Montana Choice" project gave rural citizens opportunities to understand and engage global market access opportunities. (http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm 

Most recently, a regional rural community development project has begun in Wyoming http://lone-eagles.com/wyomingrcdproject.htm  This project is inspired by a rural Wyoming project where rural citizens are using fiber optics to teach English to Asians, a $100 billion a year market, using Skype.com for free 2-way video conferencing. The company, based in a town of population 350, Eleutian www.eleutian.com , projects training  20,000 rural teleworkers over the next four years. http://lone-eagles.com/ruralteleworkers.htm The opportunity exists to teach International CEO's English as well as Americanism and how to do business with American small businesses - which represent over 86% of all new jobs, using a similar model. Matching remote home agents with companies seeking 40% savings is a service modeled at www.contractxchange.com   Cell phones are anticipated to be THE distance learning tool to be used by billions to enter the ONE Global economy as detailed at

In short, global peace and security may depend on including everyone as part of the global supply chain to remove the economic disparities as the basis for violent conflict. Creating a global culture of tolerance and recognition that we are all one human family has become one of the key transnational collaboration challenges for us all.

Lone Eagle Consulting co-facilitated the first meeting of the
The Indigenous Commission for Communications Technologies in the Americas, March 2007.


Resume and Biographies for Frank Odasz http://lone-eagles.com/articles/frank.htm