Realizing Cultural and community sustainability Through
Alaskan native villages
The potential power of thoughtful use of Internet to support the sovereignty and sustainability of indigenous communities is too great to take the effectiveness of defining measurable community engagement and Internet empowerment lightly.
This paper addresses the challenges of designing and delivering a culturally appropriate community curriculum to deliver the highest levels of motivation and measurable benefit - requiring the least amount of time and effort….and requiring the lowest level of pre-requisite literacy. Emphasis is on those processes most likely to effectively involve community members to generate measurable outcomes such as local web-based content, collaborative sharing of skills, Ecommerce applications, and visions for yet greater applications in support of their cultural community.
The opportunity exists to use the Internet to gather and share locally those strategies proven to be successful elsewhere. Providing access to the tools alone has not proven to guarantee that the goal of creating sustainable cultural communities will be achieved.
The Big Picture
"The world's diverse cultures jointly represent the full cultural genome of humankind's search for individual and group identity and meaning."
The immediate need exists to record for posterity this invaluable shared story of humankind with immediate emphasis on the cultural knowledge of our elders while the opportunity still exists. There is limited time to accomplish this important task. Half the 6,000 languages worldwide will be extinct in one lifetime. The vast cultural knowledge of our elders must be recorded via multimedia storytelling for preservation while they are still with us.
Over 15,000 cultures worldwide share have the opportunity to build on proven successes as opposed to replicating past mistakes made by others. Those first to explore the potential of the Internet will have the advantage of the powerful sharing and community-building capabilities of the Internet to first empower themselves - and then to inform and teach global cultures on the most culturally appropriate and empowering Internet applications - which they have themselves validated.
Due to new satellite and wireless technologies - it is becoming increasingly feasible economically to bring solar-powered high speed Internet connectivity via satellite and wireless technologies to remote indigenous communities worldwide. While the vision is that indigenous communities will be dramatically empowered by this access - the effective training and changes in behavior to achieve the potential empowerment have proven to present significant challenges.
It will ultimately prove to be the level of vision, will, motivation, training, and the ability to take collaborative action - that will determine the level of benefits realized from Internet access.
Half the global population has never made a first phone call, but most may receive high speed Internet in our lifetime through new satellite and wireless technologies. Will they receive culturally appropriate instruction on both the risks and the benefits? If so, from whom, and how soon? It took 25 years for the telephone to become a part of modern society. Indigenous peoples risk losing a great deal if it takes this long to realize the potential of the Internet.
Those indigenous peoples currently online are among the first 1% of the world's indigenous peoples and have the opportunity, the honor, and the responsibility to be first to assess both the risks and the benefits of Internet access for traditional cultures. The opportunity exists to use the Internet to gather and share locally those strategies proven to be successful elsewhere. Providing access to the tools alone has not proven to guarantee that the job of creating sustainable cultural communities will be accomplished.
One of the key challenges regarding empowerment training - based on the experience of Lone Eagle Consulting - is that one can't lend their wings to others until they are ready. Creating readiness requires demonstrating the full range of the best culturally appropriate Internet applications. Motivation will result from understanding what is genuinely possible, though hands-on learning may well be required to achieve real understanding.
Lone Eagle Consulting's
Lone Eagle Consulting strives to maintain the very best Internet learning pathways, requiring the least time and effort, to deliver the highest levels of benefit and motivation for people of all cultures and literacy levels. http://lone-eagles.com/
Addressing the Need
There is extensive and rapidly growing evidence that Internet infrastructure alone will not transform communities. To justify the investment in Internet infrastructure, metrics for defining and evaluating success are fundamentally necessary. There is an urgent need for defining the social engineering methodologies required to create measurably effective community networks.
This process begins with imparting a realistic vision for collaborative participation to citizens and organizations regarding their specific roles, ongoing activities, and highest value applications. Specific short-term action agendas are required to validate the potential of Internet infrastructure for building collaborative capacity in support of the social and economic sustainability of the community.
Most Alaskan rural communities are in economic decline, are losing population, and are questioning their sustainability. Due in part to their location, these communities risk falling further behind due to a rapidly changing world economy. The urgent need exists for full application of Internet communications capabilities to share known solutions to meet the specific needs of Alaskan communities.
Alaskan youth suffer the highest youth suicide levels in the country, yet at the same time they are the technology leaders of their communities. The opportunity exists to provide the youth with meaningful community leadership opportunities in the application of technology to combat directly the many social and economic challenges. The future sustainability of the villages rests on students’ ability to identify Internet-related employment options that will allow them to remain employed in their home villages.
Within the greater community, the need exists to bring together the specific sub-communities around a common culturally-oriented purpose: the educational community, the economic development community, the healthcare community, the faith-based and community-based organizations - as examples. As the community vision becomes initially tangible and the first measurable outcomes win positive approval, the process of growing a more and more robust community vision accelerates.
This process requires social mechanisms for encouraging and sustaining citizen participation. Social recognition is important and justified for those who contribute their time and content. Strategies such as friendly competitions can focus the community on identifying the highest quality resources and Internet applications that produce local benefit. Ongoing community goal-setting and self-assessment are fundamentally necessary if forward progress is to be achieved.
Reality for Communities Hoping to be Competitive
As Internet becomes increasingly commonplace, communities are beginning to compete on the demonstrated talents of an inspired and motivated citizenry. Visible demonstrations are a selling point for a community's ability to learn, innovate, and grow their cooperative vision.
The vigor of Alaskan communities, the state of Alaska, and in fact all nations, will depend on creating motivated lifelong learners, proactive citizens who are value-driven, innovative entrepreneurs (using Internet), skilled collaborators, and citizens who are both consumers and producers - both learners and teachers, all the time.
In addition, strategies will be proven which provide the highest citizen motivation to generate the highest levels of community benefit, requiring the least investment of time, money, and prerequisite literacy. Public metrics of success can be identified as competitive measures validating those communities who most effectively combine caring and connectivity with common sense.
Avoiding Replication of Past Mistakes
The following five components are recommended for consideration as lessons learned from past Indigenous Internet projects.
1. Leaders need to
integrally understand themselves what they advocate
Those in leadership positions are often not computer or Internet users and risk basing their technology and training decisions on dangerous assumptions. Leaders need to gain direct hands-on experience with the technology with emphasis on seeing first-hand the specific applications they are advocating for community members.
Good intentions cannot replace factual knowledge and direct experience with the broad range of potential Internet applications. Leaders should not expect others to adopt new technology applications if they are not prepared to do so themselves. One of the most effective strategies is for leaders to require use of Internet communications for important routine communications.
2. Empowerment comes
from the specific Internet applications
community members will actually engage, not the just installation of
While Internet physical infrastructure is certainly a logical first step, the benefits of infrastructure are not automatic or assured. For each dollar invested in infrastructure, a dollar should be invested for training or serious under-utilization is likely to devalue the infrastructure investment. It cannot be assumed that the most empowering Internet applications will be obvious and will be realized.
Internet Infrastructure is not the same as installing good plumbing where community members' participation or changes in behavior are not required. The levels of empowerment will be defined by the application of new skills and by the number of community members who gain and exercise these specific new skills.
3. Defining measurable outcomes will prove to
Emphasis should be on the desired final measurable outcomes, not just on installation of infrastructure. Many projects have proved unable to measure the promised benefits to justify the expense of Internet infrastructure and monthly Internet fees. Identifying the specific Internet applications desired has a great deal to do with specific decisions regarding the most appropriate infrastructure required. Don't buy what you're not prepared to use.
It should be expected that it will take years to grow the visions and skills for the highest levels of Internet empowerment. Paying high fees for infrastructure which will be primarily unused at the cost of sacrificing funding for skills training has proven repeatedly to not produce the desired outcomes. Planning on figuring out how to use the infrastructure after a community has invested heavily has proven to waste huge sums of money. As costs for infrastructure are steadily dropping, it is important to realize that many skills can be taught using lower-speed Internet systems to prepare community members to make best use of higher speed systems when they become affordable.
skills and community networking bring the highest
If individuals use the Internet primarily to 'leave the village' to explore the Internet instead of collaborating and sharing knowledge locally, then the local community is not likely to benefit at the highest levels possible.
Collaborative action to gather the best-of-the-best resources through local web pages - as well as sharing skills with those who need friendly mentoring - will bring the highest levels of benefit to an indigenous community. Today, we're hunters and gatherers of ideas and information that can sustain the community - not so different than it has been for former generations. The opportunity exists to use the Internet to gather and share locally those strategies proven to be successful elsewhere.
Understanding the true potential the Internet offers will require community-wide hands-on experience, regular community events to showcase new applications, and social recognition for those who bring new skills to the village and teach them to others.
It should be decided which specific skills every community member needs to gain, such as email, browsing, and searching skills. It should also be decided which skills may not be needed by everyone, but which do need to be present in every village - made available to everyone by those who have attained high skill levels and are willing to share their skills. Examples include skills for creating web pages, manipulating digital images, creating digital artwork, multimedia storytelling, and sending photos of local products and crafts for sale to Ebay and other Ecommerce sites on the Internet.
5. Know how to deal
with the risks of Internet to traditional culture
before cultural damage can occur.
There is much current emphasis on the risks cultures face from not having Internet access. But, there needs to be far more emphasis on the risks cultures will face FROM Internet access! For example - Internet use for access to pornography. If the Internet is brought to all community homes without a strategy for dealing with this issue, negative impacts on local culture are possible.
When presented with the question "What would you like most like to find on the Internet" one community member stated honestly "How to make drugs from floor cleaner." This information is available via Internet as is bomb-making and hate literature. Additional issues to be carefully considered are child safety, privacy, and copyright/authenticity protection for tribal intellectual property and products.
Despite these risks, Internet technology may be the most powerful option available for cultures to protect and preserve traditional culture and values. Information technology is just a tool, but a very powerful tool - which can be used for both positive and negative purposes. Whoever brings such power to tribal members bears the great responsibility to assure that it is not destructive and/or misused.
Lessons Learned from Community Networking Projects in Rural
Rural communities in the
The presumption has been that Internet infrastructure would bring automatic economic and social benefits much like the railroad did in the past century, but this has not proved to be the case.
In the mid-eighties when the Internet was text-only and hard to use, early adapters fought for local dial-up access based on their vision for high levels of online collaboration and electronic democracy - not simply solo-browsing as is the dominant application today.
Access to technology cannot presume that citizens will train themselves to high levels of proficiency. For example - only five percent of those (one in twenty) with VCR's have learned to program them to record programs automatically. Learning to benefit from the Internet will require more new skills than learning to program a VCR.
In most rural communities heads will nod at the following statement. "We've yet to see a rural community benefit significantly from the Internet." Because installation of the Internet didn't automatically produce visible economic benefits, many feel this disproved the potential of the Internet. At the same time, early adapters in most rural communities are already demonstrating Ecommerce successes, but their innovations are often ignored by those who shun technology, instead of celebrated.
International rural and indigenous communities need to thoroughly understand the lessons learned by other communities so they don't literally waste years replicating what has already proven not to work. One of the best features of Internet connectivity is that you can easily gather state-of-the-art knowledge on what does work, but having Internet access does not automatically mean this knowledge will be sought out and well utilized. In fact, our past habits of independence often lead us to ignore our unprecedented access to these new sources of information. We need new attitudes and visions for what is now unlimited potential at our fingertips.
Gaining Clarity on
the Specific Challenges
In question - is which community curriculum can prove to deliver the highest levels of motivation and measurable benefit - requiring the least amount of time and effort….and perhaps requiring the lowest level of pre-requisite literacy? How can we most effectively get citizens involved to generate measurable outcomes, local web-based content, and widespread motivation?
The process we need to define and implement is:
1. Growing accurate awareness as to what's possible
2. Establishing a shared vision around measurable goals
3. Establishing a widespread skills development and citizen
4. Establishing a sustainable process for encouraging
ongoing learning, skills sharing, and innovation
An Alaskan Villages Case Study
Assessing the Readiness to Learn About Internet
There are roughly 240+ Alaskan Native villages in very remote locations which share a suicide rate four times higher than any other group in the
The cultural spirit of self-sufficiency has been damaged by three generations of welfare dependency and outside influence. The current economics are dire and many traditional sources of income have disappeared (fishing, timber, trapping and mining.) Morale is at an all time low, yet the Internet does offer many potential solutions. U.S.
During 1998-2000, the first Internet satellite systems were installed in the 11 bush villages of the
(YKSD). Three one-day Internet workshops were held in these 11 bush villages over a two-year period. Yukon-Koyukuk School District
The general reaction by the educators intended to be the first to benefit from the Internet was "here comes yet another opportunity for us to learn about technologies for which we'll have no local technical support or ongoing training and for which we'll be expected to educate ourselves on our own time." "Once this trainer leaves we'll go back to doing what we've been doing." One major limitation was the educators had yet to be taught enough computer basics to be comfortable using computers. Administrators typically did not attend the workshops and hence did not know what applications, skills, and content were presented. This effectively sent a message to the educators that Internet use was of low priority.
Free email via hotmail.com was the biggest hit of the original workshops. Villagers often visit other villages and the ability to check email from any computer on the Internet was far preferred to the original system which limited everyone to local computers only. The Internet has steadily become more and more culturally accepted.
As gradual exposure to the Internet grew, often from seeing what their students were able to find and to teach themselves - interest in the Internet and the potential for other applications grew. Today, four years later since the first introduction to Internet - there is a new readiness to revisit how rural villages might benefit from the Internet as more and more examples of the innovations of others have become evident. While innovators in a few villages had the tenacity as self-directed learners to continue to learn about the Internet, after four years most educators had developed very few new Internet skills. Access alone was insufficient to make a lasting difference.
There was originally very little effort to involve the community in learning about the Internet on the school's system. Due to educators receiving only one day of Internet training per year, most of the expensive infrastructure (up to $12,000 (
)/month) went unutilized. The vision to realize the power wasn't present. Most had little idea of what the Internet offered. Community leaders and members had not attended the workshops intended to train the educators. US
Doors Opening for Village Ecommerce
Federal Communications Commission has recently ruled that E-rate-funded school-based systems can be used for local Ecommerce, but few in the villages have the skills for Ecommerce applications. School-based Internet systems can potentially use new wireless systems to bring high-speed Internet direct to village homes and the offices of community organizations. In question is who will demonstrate the potential, provide leadership to help make this happen, and deliver the necessary appropriate training? U.S.
Educators Educating the Community
What is the role of local educators concerning helping create community Internet awareness and use of the Internet for ongoing community learning, particularly regarding the new Rural Ecommerce opportunities which are badly needed? Should educators be expected to volunteer their limited free time to champion local community training programs? Fair incentives of home-based Internet access and a personal computer should be provided to all educators willing to engage in community training.
Here begins the social engineering challenges for effective rural innovation diffusion. Toward this end the following proposal was written in an effort to win funding for additional equipment to help make these villages successful models to inspire other villages as to what can truly be done.
Several large scale Alaskan Internet infrastructure projects being considered may face major failure unless there's a successful training model to follow. The history of similar projects is typically major under-utilization of Internet infrastructure and minimal local buy-in due to the lack of a proven replicable training program.
Model COMMUNITY LEARNING Projects
The following unique model community learning projects will produce measurable outcomes and clear demonstration of the benefits of local use of Internet for K-12 educators, K-12 education, community learning and Ecommerce. Funding is needed to extend this training to the community in a cultural context to help citizens become aware of their opportunities for Ecommerce. The need exists to create replicable low-cost models for wireless connectivity to the homes and community centers along with fast-track training appropriate for the cultures of these communities.
The need exists to create model village projects to inspire the 240+ Alaskan Native Villages regarding best uses of Internet. Past under-utilized Internet has clearly shown the need for more targeted training focused on measurable outcomes.
Alaskan villages have a suicide rate four times higher than the national average. The immediate need exists to engage youth and citizens in programs which will instill hope and faith that economic and social solutions do indeed exist. Online mentoring will prove to be an effective means of providing both ongoing encouragement as well as serious skills training.
Appropriate software needs to be modeled which brings the highest levels of benefit requiring the least amount of training and prerequisite expertise. New online mentoring software can provide a failsafe system for providing both technical maintenance assistance as well as effective skills training. The mentor can literally take control of the mentee's computer to demonstrate tasks, and can then monitor directly the mentee's computer via Internet as they replicate the tasks.
The following sections are draft project proposals presented as different approaches for creating inclusive training programs aimed at rapid scalability with emphasis on short-term results. These draft short-term pilot project components will provide important proof-of-concept data for large-scale expansion by multiple major community health and library projects now being planned.
A Recommended “Teachers as Trainers” Program
Three educators in each of three villages will receive for one year a laptop and wireless connection to their homes linking to the school-based satellite system. Each educator will have the option to keep the laptop in return for 100 hours of community mentoring sharing skills and showcasing the convenience and benefits of these connections. These educators will host a web site gathering Athabascan links as well as original local cultural web pages.
With online instructional support, each educator will direct student teams to engage elders in creating culturally appropriate web pages to celebrate and to share knowledge via Internet on the local culture and history using multiple forms of digital storytelling. Youth will post local crafts on Ebay and demonstrate other Ecommerce web-marketing options.
Each village will establish teams to learn and teach others regarding:
1. Use of a Sony Mavica CD digital camera for digital storytelling
and online Ecommerce marketing of local crafts and products.
2. Use of a digital art tablet to create original artwork, including
digital photo manipulation.
3. Use of digital video cameras and movie-making software to
provide for creating local digital movies which can be shared
on the web.
4. Use of a microphone and computer for recording and
self-publishing oral histories on CDROM and the Internet.
5. Use of a
MIDImusical keyboard and appropriate software
for recording both traditional and contemporary music on the
Internet and on CDROM.
Additional community participation events and activities will be
generated based on local needs, interest, and resources, such
as those listed at http://lone-eagles.com/academy.htm
See also http://lone-eagles.com/northstar.htm as a model grant.
Those villages demonstrating the greatest levels of interest and community participation will qualify for additional equipment and training. Monthly progress and innovation reports will be shared among all participants. Records will be kept for those actively imparting new skills to others. Additional equipment awards are planned for those who impart the most skills to the most learners during the project. Web-publishing software will be installed at the villages to allow creation of quality web sites without extensive technical training.
Demonstration Ecommerce businesses will be created. Free posting of all crafts and local products on the Internet will be demonstrated by a youth-entrepreneurship component where commissions for sales will go toward additional equipment to be used for local Ecommerce initiatives.
Minimum Equipment Budget
3 Wacom Digital Art tablets and Painter 6 software 3x$500= $1500
3 Sony MVC 500 digital cameras and software 3x$900= $2700
3 MIDI keyboards, software, microphones, headphones
3 Digital video cameras and Imovie software
3 units Web-publishing and CDROM authoring software
3 sets of three laptops @ $2000 each 9X$2000 $18,000
3 sets of Wireless distribution hubs and 3 receivers
3x$5000 = $15,000
3 sets of multimedia projectors with audio speakers
3x$3300 = $9,900
CDROM -Write Drives 3x$200 $600
PLANNING A COMMUNITY INTERNET TRAINING PROGRAM
<big>A Key Pre-Planning Issue: Expectations Increase with Experience</big>
As people learn more about the possibilities of Internet applications, "enlightened expectations" occur, where new possibilities emerge in the minds of citizens. This is a very real learning process, which needs to be recognized, implemented, and evaluated. Participants of all ages will initially draft short vision statements for how they think a community could use the Internet for self-empowerment, with emphasis on short-term implementation. Flexibility is essential in order to take advantage of insights as the project progresses. These initial visions will most definitely change and grow.
When a participating community has completed this project, success will be measured by the quality of all the web content and service products that have been created. The participating communities will demonstrate the obvious replicability of its implementation strategy through thorough documentation of the entire project, process, and products.
A key community challenge is the efficiency of the process by which citizens learn the most important Internet skills through short-term, non-threatening self-empowerment learning opportunities - ideally in association with existing community technology centers.
*This defined process produces
local online content, multimedia communications skills that are routinely used,
and a collaborative dynamic that produces visible benefit through improved
communications. Only through direct hands-on involvement will the skills and
potential of online learning and online collaboration be understood and
embraced by the citizens of the community.
A Community "Train-the-Trainers" Skills and Content Development Program
Building a Self-Sustaining Learning Community
- "Learn to Share"
A unique "Train-the-Trainers" online learning and citizen mentoring resource will be created to facilitate the rapid growth of new skills and motivation for citizens of all ages, K-Grey. A series of very easy, but highly relevant and motivating lessons will be posted on the web to help citizens quickly identify a vision of the potential.
As a "Train-the-Trainers" program, each lesson will point to successive levels for self-directed learning, with the incentive of a Community Builder (or Village Volunteer) certification and embroidered patch for those who complete all three levels for each of the seven skill categories.
The seven skill categories will match the seven stars of the Big Dipper
on the Alaskan Flag, and will be presented as clickable buttons on a graphic
web page. The Big Dipper will also be the dominant image of the certification
diploma (or embroidered patch, or metal button or pin) along with the text
"Community Builder - Building a Future for Alaskan Villages".
This unique "Train-the-Trainers" program will provide easy lessons for the seven most important community-building Internet skills, each with three successive levels for self-directed learning. The seven skills categories will be the emphasis for skill development, public metrics, and trainer certification. This empowerment matrix of skills will be posted as a self-directed learning web site, with anticipation that those first "certified" will become online mentors for those to follow.
This skills matrix will initially emphasize Alaskan independent self-directed Internet learning skills in a classic 'western individualist' context and will end with emphasizing how to apply an individual's skills toward the purposeful building and sustaining of rural Alaskan villages.
Exploring the role of student entrepreneurship training combined with community service, and service learning, villagers would be asked to help gather content for the school and create cultural curriculum to match Alaskan technology standards along with replicable ecommerce models to sustain the village.
Seven Essential Survival Skills
1. Email Skills as Essential for Electronic
2. Search Engine Skills as Essential for Self-directed Internet
3. Web Self-publishing Skills as Essential for Local and Global
Ecommerce and Expression
4. Mentoring and Teaching Skills as Essential for Sharing
Knowledge in Your Community
5. Entrepreneurship Skills as Essential for Individual, Family,
and Community Sustainability
6. Cultural Preservation and Expression
Skills as Essential for
using technology to preserve the knowledge of our elders and
culture for future generations.
7. Leadership and Innovation Skills as
Essential for Becoming
a Role Model for Your Community for Adapting to Change.
The Strategy Behind
This Seven Skills Model
Briefly, as Email skills are developed, citizens become more connected to the community. As searching skills are developed citizens gain the ability to gather resources of benefit to themselves and the community. As basic web-authoring skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to share these resources with the community in a convenient public manner. As mentoring skills are developed, citizens gain the understanding of how to combine email, searching, and web-authoring skills to share knowledge effectively to make a real difference in the lives of others. As value is demonstrated, the entrepreneurial potential of instructional entrepreneurship, as well as opportunities for traditional Ecommerce, will become dramatically clear.
Learning to record cultural wisdom via multimedia will serve to preserve it for future generations and to allow it to be shared as appropriate. Finally, leadership and innovation skills will create role models for productive social behavior and creativity to assure future survival in a changing world.
There are three distinct learning levels for each of the seven skills. The "Three Level" model described below presents an easy-to-understand learning pathway for self-empowerment.
The Three Instructional Levels for Each Skill are:
1. The Vision for Use of the Skill
A 5-minute introduction to the benefits of each skill
followed by a few sample resources allows for an overview of all skills to be
effectively presented in 35 minutes.
2. The Basic Instruction to Acquire the Skill
A one-hour hands-on lesson to acquire the essentials of this skill.
Robust resources for additional learning will be provided.
3. The Methods for Using This Skill to Benefit
Yourself and Others
A one-hour hands-on lesson to learn how to apply this skill effectively
to benefit both oneself and one's community. Many examples of how
others are using this skill to benefit their own communities will be presented.
Whenever citizens achieve their demonstrated "Community Builder" skill certifications web-based recognition of their certification will be publicly displayed on the Village Mentorship Database which will be celebrated as a key metric of citizen commitment and talent sharing. Local trainers will become the primary online mentors for local online skills development. Those still working on their certification will be supported by the community trainers as a priority for this community-driven 'Train-the-Trainers' program. An example Mentorship Roster is at http://www.vrd.org/locator/alphalist.shtml and Mentoring Models are listed at http://lone-eagles.com/mentor.htm. .
An Ecommerce “Train-the-Trainers” Program
Learning-to-Earn Using Internet Ecommerce
While the above seven skills focuses on general empowerment, including Ecommerce, the following training model has an emphasis on Ecommerce skills and practices.
Through individualized study and cooperative learning experiences both online and in person, participants will become empowered to become first self-directed learners and then to learn to mentor others. A recommended first step that is available is the course, Rural Ecommerce Strategies and Telework Strategies at http://lone-eagles.com/ecommerce-registration.htm
Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies is an online Internet course designed specifically for non-technical learners as a first online learning experience. This non-credit mastery learning online course offers ten two-hour lessons covering the basic concepts, skills, and trends for rural Ecommerce, Internet entrepreneurship, and telework employability.
Hands-on activities provide for exploring many of the best Ecommerce and telework training materials resources, and replicable models available – from which it will be easy to determine the best resources for continued self-directed learning.
A certificate of completion will be awarded to those who complete the
required assignments for each of the ten lessons. This certification will
validate the acquisition of the essential Ecommerce and Telework skills. In
addition, this certification will allow for employment as a paid mentor
authorized to mentor others through this course at the rate of $20 per mentee.
Certified mentors will be encouraged to create additional online courses for
delivery via the
This unique program will provide easy mini-lessons for the four most important Ecommerce and community-building Internet skills. The following four skills categories represent the specific skills component for the online Ecommerce course and will be the emphasis for the Ecommerce and Telework Readiness Certification. This empowerment matrix of skills will be available as online lessons such that those first "certified" will become online mentors for those to follow.
This skills matrix will initially emphasize independent self-directed
Internet learning skills in a classic "western individualist" context
and will end with emphasizing how to apply an individual’s skills toward the
purposeful building and sustaining of rural
<big>Four Essential Skills for Ecommerce Readiness</big>
Ecommerce Skills Level One – Searching Skills
Successive hands-on experiences are presented to build the basic self-directed Internet learning skills for web browsing, cut-and-paste, and using search engines to learn anything from anywhere at any time.
Ecommerce Skills Level Two – Creating Ecommerce Web Pages
Learn the basics of web self-publishing skills, creating and posting web pages with text, images, and hyperlinks.
Ecommerce Skills Level Three – Email and Listserv Basics
Learn about efficient uses of online collaboration skills. Includes many related resources for advanced learning.
Ecommerce Skills Level Four – Building Online communities
Learn about using Internet collaborative tools for teaching, mentoring, group work, relationship-building, and customer support.
Description of the Strategy Behind This Four-Skills Model
Briefly, as Email skills are developed, citizens become more connected to the community. As searching skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to gather resources of benefit to themselves and the community. As basic web-authoring skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to share these resources with the community in a convenient public manner. As mentoring skills are developed, citizens gain the understanding of how to combine email, searching, and web-authoring skills to share knowledge effectively to make a real difference in the lives of others.
Finally, as value is demonstrated, the entrepreneurial potential of instructional entrepreneurship, as well as opportunities for traditional Ecommerce, will become dramatically clear. Whenever citizens achieve their demonstrated Ecommerce skill certifications, web-based recognition of their certification will be publicly displayed on the community Mentorship Database, which will be celebrated as a key measurement of citizen commitment and talent sharing.
Local trainers/mentors will become the primary online mentors for local online skills development. Those still working on their certification will be supported by the community trainers as a priority for this community-driven mentoring program. An example mentorship roster is at http://www.vrd.org/locator/alphalist.shtml and mentoring models are listed at http://lone-eagles.com/mentor.htm
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND
Two Types of Participants Will Quickly
One type of participant will be the advanced scout, most likely to be the most motivated youth, who will be supported to learn at his or her own speed. This allows for rapid generation of local expertise. The second type of participant will be a citizen who works at his/her own pace to raise the percentage of the entire community developing skills via the easy-to-understand, self-empowerment matrix.
Alert individuals can ideally learn as fast as they want, to scout the frontier, and to become local mentors. Meanwhile, groups can pace themselves to explore the collaborative potential and community-wide adoption of new knowledge-sharing skills.
Skill Sharing - So We’ll All Have Access
to All Our Knowledge
Many skills don't need to be learned by everyone, such as creating composite images or advanced web page features, so a barter economy focused on local niche expertise becomes immediately viable. Also, skills such as knowing how to create a digital music sound file and posting it on a web page make better sense to be at least initially represented by someone who has achieved high levels of skill.
This creates a role for multiple skills sets among multiple persons,
easing the learning overhead of the entire community, while creating motivated
local specialists for the higher tiers of skills in digital photography, art,
video, and music. The social recognition for their showcased expertise is
intended to motivate generous sharing of skills in the short term. The
end goal is to create interesting local jobs for local citizens as they
demonstrate that their new skills are indeed worth paying for!
A Community Engagement Program with Explicit Outcomes
As the march of time is constant, nothing stays the same; a community is always changing, either growing or decaying. It is fundamental to every community's future sustainability to decide whether citizens will be motivated on the one hand to contribute to the growth of their communities, or on the other hand must acknowledge and suffer the cost to the community for their lack of contribution.
A project might begin with a core community group of more than 20 persons. Participation in a measurable program would be required in return for participants receiving the free specific "Community Builder" training. The program will register those citizens willing to contribute their time to help others and will ask their help to record specific progress in return for free skills training, mentoring, and participation in project events.
While this commitment is non-binding, this project will document the degree to which all individuals have contributed to the good of the community. Baseline information would be assessed in a simple pre-test and post-test survey format.
Consider: Community is the sum of what we give to each other.
Community consists of those to which we give of our time and
Community Internet Awareness-Raising Events
Community events will be hosted in partnership with multiple community organizations and businesses specifically to provide multimedia showcase opportunities of skill and strategies for leveraging the potential of the Internet to create, in new ways, both local social and economic value. Youth participation will be a special emphasis because youth today are the technology leaders in most homes and communities. Irrevocably, they are the leaders of tomorrow.
The ideal community
self-empowerment vision is that once Internet access becomes available,
inspired citizens will immediately realize their opportunities by becoming
self-directed lifelong learners, proactive entrepreneurs, and innovative
skilled collaborators creating new social and economic value for their
Community Internet awareness activities/events can include a multitude of activities. Below is a list intended to stimulate the creativity of the local citizens:
1. Hold a press release competition announcing the final measurable outcomes.
2. Begin holding regular community technology nights in different locations.
3. Create a community web content competition to generate local web content quickly.
4. Hold a community web-raising to generate online mentors and mentoring resources.
5. Hold an ecommerce "Ebay" web-raising to quick start Ecommerce awareness..
6. Quantify effective successive ecommerce strategies from other rural communities and entrepreneurs.
7. Develop programs to generate local web content-teaching rural Ecommerce strategies.
8. Teach global brokerage for local display of the best-of-the-best Internet resources and Ecommerce innovations.
9. Create and share multimedia "Digital Stories" (family histories, albums, etc.).
10. Broker locally
customized print and online community training
11. Create a
community talent database—online peer mentoring by
12. Hold a teleliteracy drive to measurably increase local skills.
electronic portfolios/resumes to generate telework
14. Create peer
mentoring programs with employment incentives
(the mentoring certification program).
15. Promote local rural teleworkers as a community initiative.
Note: These sample event
descriptions and others are listed in The
One Competition Example
Local economic development organizations could sponsor a simple competition for the best web-based listing of Internet entrepreneurial successes that could be replicated locally. Web-based instructional opportunities related to Ecommerce would be emphasized. Winning entries would be judged as those best designed for appropriate use by local citizens. This strategy will quickly produce widespread participation creating local web-based content to benefit the entire community and sets the stage for yet greater local initiatives. See the "Ecommerce Start-up Training Resources" at http://lone-eagles.com/entrelinks.htm.
Fun, Social, Learning and Youth-Driven Multimedia Storytelling
will leverage the opportunities to diffuse techno-anxiety barriers and bring people together around a common cause. The highest initial motivation will be achieved by sharing the social fun of learning exciting new technologies such as digital cameras, digital art, and digital music. See also http://lone-eagles.com/capacity.htm
Measurements Are the Key to Success
Like the United Way fund-raising thermometer, as citizens develop their skills and participate by mentoring and creating web-based content, visible progress will be displayed on both an online and offline. An initial goal of a specific number of contributing citizens would be set for this project. Record keeping will be volunteered via email, or via web-based interactive forms, as the specific means by which participants can demonstrate their support of the community and the success of this project. The project also serves as a public showcase for demonstration of high levels of community commitment, cooperation, and collaboration.
A Community’s Ongoing Self-Assessment
for Public Display
1. The number of participating citizens with Email capabilities
2. The number of participating citizens with searching skills
3. The number of participating citizens hosting simple resource web pages
4. The number of participating citizens volunteering as online mentors
5. The number of local Ecommerce web pages
6. The names and number of contributing businesses and community organizations
7. The number of community events and the names of the sponsoring organizations
<big>Additional Measures for Community Evaluations
1. Infrastructure, Computer Ownership, Computer Sharing
Original Assessment: Initial and ongoing measurements are necessary for tracking availability of personal computers and Internet access, and how often citizens utilize specific public access equipment and community technology centers. Records are kept before, during, and at the end of the training period by citizens as a means of measuring project progress. Loaner laptops with leasing plans and recycling used computers are recommended as economical options.
Ideal Outcomes: Assessing the change in methods of use and access can showcase how many citizens purchased home computers as a result of being motivated by the training, or became motivated enough to seek out regular access to public access points. Shared use of home systems is also something to monitor with social recognition given to those who help provide access and mentoring to others.
2. Self-Confidence, Vision, and Motivation
Original Assessment: Simple surveys will be used to monitor the initial and ongoing levels of self-confidence, motivation, and vision. Note that this overall project will indeed depend on the effectiveness of motivating citizens for sustained participation during the training period and beyond.
Ideal Outcomes: To finish the project with accurate measurements of increased motivation, self-confidence, and vision of the potential benefits could be important for future fund-raising. Demonstrating the effectiveness of the project's strategies for engaging citizens in producing tangible outcomes will inspire the reliability potential for future similar programs in other communities.
3. Community Engagement Events
Original Assessment: The project will begin with a defined number of initial "Kick-off" presentations followed by single monthly community events, which will be publicly recorded with the sponsors, number of attendees, measurable content outcomes, and the local assessment of the effectiveness of each event. Included will be a brief note on any new short-term or ongoing resulting collaborations and the creative events which proved to be the successful incentives for these new collaborations.
Ideal Outcomes: The value of the public relations benefits are expected to far exceed minor financial investments for sponsoring additional community events and web-content competitions; thus sustainability for sponsoring future events is viable. Furthermore, the ability to publicize many additional "community-generated" events will be important for future community fund-raising.
4. Archiving Storytelling, Anecdotes, and Testimonials
Original Assessment: Exciting activities begin with the very first event of the project. Stories and anecdotes will be publicly shared on the project web site, testimonials documented, and new innovations and initiatives recorded and published appropriately.
Ideal Outcomes: The narrative of the progressively greater interest and innovation demonstrated by the community in expanding upon the original project plan can make a compelling story about how citizens can learn to participate directly in leveraging the public good - electronically. This story will ultimately be each community’s most powerful promotional vehicle for the "for-profit" online mentoring services offered to other communities.
5. Skills Development, Local Online Mentoring Effectiveness, and Collaboration
Original Assessment: Simple surveys will be used to measure the initial skills of all project participants, and subsequently, the new skills that were developed. Records will be kept on public "electronic portfolios" on who mentored whom (both offline and online), what skills were shared, and documentation of the effectiveness of their mentorship.
Ideal Outcomes: Elegant documentaries of the successes developing new skills across the community - and particularly the success of local mentors in developing new skills in others - will be a key motivator for mentors by providing them with social recognition for their generosity as well as for their effectiveness. Future employability opportunities for offering "for-profit" mentoring services will require proof of one's mentoring effectiveness as documented by their "electronic portfolios."
6. Distinguishing the Best Dial-Up Applications from the Best Broadband Applications
Original Assessment: The need exists to demonstrate those community applications which best justify the considerable financial investments required to provide community-wide broadband, and to distinguish these from the best applications of low-bandwidth Internet access, such as local dial-up services. An accurate initial assessment of the best dial-up applications will be necessary to make a clear case for the needs and roles for broadband services.
A common mistake is to presume that the value of the community Internet applications is directly related to the level of bandwidth. On the contrary, other factors, such as human bandwidth, play a vital role in determining the level of realized end benefit, regardless of electronic bandwidth. Years of experience with Internet training of teachers in schools have shown that if each dollar invested in infrastructure is not matched with a dollar spent for Internet training, the resulting seriously under-utilized infrastructure will devalue the infrastructure investment.
Ideal Outcomes: A specific emphasis on showcasing community applications of Internet broadband (high bandwidth) such as community self-publishing of art, music, video, graphical information systems (GIS) and more, may be necessary economically to justify the value of broadband connectivity.
The goal of this paper has been to prepare the reader for creating a clear plan to motivate widespread citizen participation in support of tangible community goals. An evaluative measurements plan must demonstrate success of your project.
Extensive articles, guides, and resources are readily available in support of community Internet project planners and trainers. The unique interests, assets, and personalities of each participating community should serve as guides for the final project implementation plan.
ALASKAN COMMUNITY GRANT TEMPLATES
Community Network Funding Sources and Grantwriting Tips
http://lone-eagles.com/granthelp.htm An easy tutorial on grantwriting is at http://lone-eagles.com/mira2.htm
A short lesson on grantwriting is at http://lone-eagles.com/asdnl8.htm
http://lone-eagles.com/northstar.htm Written for YKSD and TAMSCO
A grant for a six-month
intensive community Internet awareness raising program.
Written 2004 this model grant includes a Village Area Network component and detailed community engagement and training methodologies.
Includes a proposal for an online class for educators regarding Community Internet Learning and Empowerment.
http://lone-eagles.com/yukonkoyukuk.htm Written for YKSD and TAMSCO
A short term community learning initiative showcasing satellite Internet and wireless for education and Ecommerce.
Alaskan Native Youth Cultural Community-building Written for YKSD and TAMSCO
http://lone-eagles.com/bartsgrant.htm A grant template for a comprehensive
three-year community Internet empowerment program.
Written 2004 this model grant includes a Village Area Network component and detailed community engagement and training methodologies.
Generation Community Initiative
A concept paper for a
A youth-driven instructional entrepreneurship program where youth learn-to-earn by demonstrating effective online mentoring and multimedia skills instruction to youth in other cultures. (Native Alaskan, Maori, Hawaiian, and select Native Americans.)
Culturally-appropriate Internet Training
for Alaskan Native Educators
Includes a proposal for an online class for educators regarding Community Internet Learning and Empowerment.
Clarifying Opportunities for
Alaskan Sustainable Community Technology Centers
OTHER RURAL COMMUNITY ECOMMERCE GRANTS
Ecommerce Education Strategies (SEEDS)
Written in 2005 for the NTIA/DOC Telecommunications Opportunities Program (TOP)
grant model involves youth in raising ecommerce awareness among adult leaders.
Rural Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Centers
Written in 2005 for the NTIA/DOC Telecommunications Opportunities Program (TOP)
Wireless Ecommerce and
Written in 2004 for the NTIA/DOC Telecommunications Opportunities Program (TOP)
The Ten First Steps for
Community Ecommerce and Telework Preparedness
Written in 2004 for the NTIA/DOC Telecommunications Opportunities Program (TOP)
(an expanded version)
Mentoring Integrating Group Outcomes (AMIGO)
An Ecommerce mentorship program model.
Bootstrap Project -
Learning to Do for Ourselves; Together!
Boilerplate text for YOUR community networking grant.
A six-month project written for Alpine,
"Doing for Ourselves, Together"
An Education and Economic Development Partnership
Communities of Caring
A demonstration project to make a positive difference in the world
A short model for youth building social and collaborative capacity through community networking skills development.
Our Community, Our Responsibility, Our Future
A Youth Ecommerce Entrepreneurship Model Project
A small scale community model.
Additional Alaskan Native
|http://lone-eagles.com/alaskan-resources.htm Extensive writings on telecenters and culturally appropriate community Internet learning methodologies.
Community INTERNET Learning Resources
Echoes in the Electronic Wind:
A Native American Cross-cultural Internet Guide
http://lone-eagles.com/nativeguide.htm Same resources as Common Ground,
(above) but with the addition of over 20 pages of carefully reviewed Native
American web resources listed by topic.
A Cross-Cultural Self-Directed Learner's Internet Guide
Created for USAID, AT&T and the ERIC
clearinghouse. An instructional brokerage resource with emphasis on pointing
to the best online tutorials, and educational resources, on the Internet for self-
directed learning. This is the text for the online course below "Making the Best
Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction."
The Good Neighbor's Guide to Community Networking
http://lone-eagles.com/cnguide.htm Contains 11 Chapters on Ecommerce,
youth-based community development, model sites and URLs, plus a
bibliography listing the best community networking guides and resources.
ONLINE COURSES FOR EDUCATORS:
These guides support the following two graduate credit online classes:
1. ED 597 4L - Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12
http://lone-eagles.com/asdn1.htm A hands-on course on
how to broker the best resources for your classroom.
2. ED A597 6L - Designing K-12 Internet Instruction
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.
AN ONLINE ECOMMERCE COURSE FOR EVERYONE
Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies –
An Online Course and Book http://lone-eagles.com/eguide.htm
A 200 page book including ten online two-hour self-directed lessons.
Includes instruction on the four essential Internet skills.
Online lessons and online course details http://lone-eagles.com/ecommerce.htm
“A Beginner’s Guide to
Profiting from the Internet”
Shortened and updated version for a first rural Ecommerce online course specifically for rural learners
who have never taken an online course, written 2003. Ten two-hour lessons on what’s working for others
like you with ecommerce and telework. Only point and click skills are required.
“Essential Internet Ecommerce Skills”
Companion Skills Lessons to “A Beginner’s Guide to Profiting from the Internet”
Native Empowerment Resources
Community Internet Empowerment Resources for Alaskan Natives and Native
Alaskan Native and Native American
Internet Telecenters Empowerment Guide
A tribal leadership guide.
Examples of Native American Web Innovations
Twenty pages of exceptional cultural models
Major U.S. Native American Internet Projects
Native American/Alaskan/Hawaiian K12 Innovations Report and
Community Internet Empowerment Resources for Rural Communities
Building Learning Communities
World Class K-12 Web-based Instruction
International Community Networking Clearinghouse
Satellite and Wireless Solutions
Updated Lone Eagle Master Resource Listings