Labas is Skotijos!
Atsiprasau, kad rasau sveplai, ne savo kompiuteriu.
Michael, aciu uz laiska.
Pridedu laiska anglu kalba is musu "Minciu sodo" mokslininko. Kas
noretu versti tokius laiskus i lietuviu kalba?
Why do we need Regional Information Coaching and what is it exactly?
Dear ERDE Partners and friends!
Today I have received interest from Jutta Croll of Foundation
Chancen to participate in Malechowo. SDC is based in Bremen, northern
Germany and started as a project to collect information
about "Places for
Access and Learning" all over Germany.
"The goal of the Stiftung Digitale Chancen (Digital Opportunities
Foundation) is to make people interested in the Internet and to
them with their first steps. We want them to become aware of the
opportunities this digital medium offers and to make use of them.
Digitale Chancen was founded in January 2002 in Berlin by AOL
the University of Bremen. Co-founders are Accenture and the Burda
Foundation. The Federal Ministry of Economic and Labour Affairs has
on the patronage.... Internet Access Points enable people who are
underrepresented in the Internet to get access - e.g., the elderly,
disadvantaged youth. Therefore Stiftung Digitale Chancen supports [
and the management of Internet Access Points in social institutions."
The Foundation has collected the data of several thousands of access
points and has transformed itself to an active provider of support
content to Internet-Cafés and similar institutions. There is special
interest in rural areas. Please visit their website at
Thank you Bernhard for your summary of the Austrian RIC meeting of
30th! Although only a few institutions were present like KB5 in
Styria or Telestube Granit in Kautzen, I have the feeling that there
certain understanding of RICs potential in Austria. In my vacation I
the time to visit Josef Kittinger, director of the very busy catholic
seminar house of St. Arbogast near the Austrian Rhine Valley - Lake
Constance. Josef was enthusiastic about the idea of starting trial
for RIC ("Internet Content for self learners") and also offered to
such trial courses. This gave me confidence that we also could start
small, with RIC-like courses, thematicly based on narrower fields
we could gather experience to slowly build our "universal internet
On the other side I feel still there is not very much enthusiasm
RIC in our consortium and friends around; this makes me a little bit
worried. I am tempted to say heretically "either we want RIC - no
if we get a Grundtvig project support or not- or there is even no
at all in doing RIC as a Grundtvig project together". We cannot wait
Grundtvig to pay for activities - we must start them and seek to
The only one who has decided not to join the RIC project directly is
Andrius, and I think it is better to say no than to say maybe. Thank
Andrius for being clear and straight! If there is no base motivation
something than the best EU Project will be a failure.
Of course we could not do RIC from the beginning; but we can start
little courses that allow us to evaluate the approach "Internet as a
of treasures for local action".
I have lived through a very different and painful experience in
Telematic (Urban and Rural Areas) Projects in the nineties where I
part time Austrian project manager(MUNICIPIA and ACTORES) which were
sustainable in countries where the project money was not the prime
motivation. I have seen a lot of money wasted by projects which
themselves every other two years but had no real need behind them.
Austria MUNICIPIA survived because we could at least create national
interest and a national base. This has become my basic approach to EU
projects, and even if it is not the common approach, I do not really
to waste my time with weak motivation. If we cannot get RIC going
a EU project, then we will not deserve a EU project.
So please let me be very clear on this: it cannot be the goal of the
learning partnership to "get to know each other" alone. The goal is
starting doing something together and develop something of European
I think what we were conceptualising as RIC has European value.
This is the first step of taking it serious: We have to ask
we really want it and if yes can we really do this? Are we strong
And obviously we are not. Yes, I admit that frankly, it should not
a surprise. Which means we have to either drop the project or fill
ranks of our tiny consortium with the right people and
can help us realize our project. This is not a task for Austrians
This is a task for each country that considers participation. I took
liberty to intervene in Germany, but this should not be the normal
>From my point of view it is still time enough that we all can find
(and by company I mean anything from individuals to state, NGO and
commercial) in our countries who is interested, willing and able to
RIC with (and hopefully not without) us, so we really can get
mass to start. That is also a precondition for a GRUNDTVIG1
any other serious proposal. And we must not limit ourselves to our
countries or regions; we must think of RIC as a Europe-wide endavour
answers a need to create a bridge between regional/local development
In the last days many potential links to people we must talk to have
up. I remember the excellent and outstanding Danish Public Library
which was brought to my memory
again by a link from Janet Feldman or the fantastic telecottage
in Wales (http://www.andrewbibby.com/telework/telecot.html)
has helped us to rediscover.
So I consider it a high priority to write the case for RIC up again,
especially dedicated to our partners and their potential partners. I
to start with a series of "Frequently asked Questions" and I also
them in the ERDE section of Dorfwiki and later the place in our
information systems that we chose in Malechowo.
And please again do not get me wrong: these ideas are neither final
definite. But if we want user requirements to fill the picture, we
have a stable core to which these user requirements can complement.
not the accidental addition of several user requirements, it is
concept which should prove in various situations and contexts.
I am grateful I was sitting here with Annerose and we were musing
the idea of Regional Information Coaching. She gave me a headstart in
rewriting some thoughts. It is very good to have an external
So we started to discuss the general background of Regional
Coaching. Maybe the following FAQ can be used and elaborated in our
process, taking away insider refernces and making them fit for more
What is Regional Information Coaching?
We try to start from the observation that regional governments that
to invest in their future should invest in education. Regional
Information Coaching is clearly an educational profession. But it is
of a "paradigm shift" in education: more than ever before the
at the center of the educational process, is even initiator of this
process by his or her questions. Increasingly innovative models in
education focus on support systems for self-directed learners and
prefabricated knowledge that has just to be "mediated" from teacher
Learner-centeredness is the first essential of RIC. The guideline
educational process is the practical problem that the learner
coach is basically connector to resources and specialised in the
global informational resources which can be helpful in the solution
local problem. This is the core of the profession, and knowledge of
Internet and the way it can be used for learning and communicating
prime feature. The function of connector nevertheless includes also
inititiation of local exchange, grouping of learners, facilitation of
common enterprises, cooperations, cooperatives, complementary
and of course, global networking. But it is up to the learners which
connections they make use of.
The second essential of Regional Information Coaching is its public
service nature - that this learning activity at least at the startup
is not requiring fees or honoraria; it should be publicly funded to
support the emergence of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial
all kinds, especially social entrepreneurs. For example, somebody who
wants to start a business in renewable energy could use the Regional
Information Coaching to look for local ways to produce photovoltaics
for methods of composting biomass. But the notion of being
(or "leader" as Andrius says) is much wider than just people working
money; also people increasing social capital of the community or
should be supported by regional information coaches. For example
that want to support youth activities, find ways to make the young
stay and invest their energy locally. So the RIC is an activity
kept public in order to especially help people to start activities.
Some activities, however, can help finance RIC. For example, a
firm could decide that it is better to have their own people solve a
problem instead of buying in expensive consultants. The RIC would
become the facilitator of specialised self-learning, which could
funded by the firm. What keeps the identity of RIC clear and linked
public affairs is that the process is connected with the interest to
promote the development of a region.
The third essential of Regional Information Coaching is that even if
boundaries in which regional solutions can be found are flexible,
definitely a regional activity. RIC could function on the level of a
village, like a librarian, but it also could function in the context
region. While it is favorable that RIC has a physical location and
the support can also happen over distances within a region bridged by
telecommunication or even physical travel. It is not neccesary for a
farmer in a remote mountain location to travel physically to the
Information Center to receive advices on how to navigate the
the search for useful information. Still the location of a center
very important symbolic value; information is not "placeless", it
as glue and fuel to make the region work better. It gets more and
complex, it is the self-reflection of the physical circumstance and
indicates what is missing and what is needed, what is available and
could be done.
The fourth essential of RIC is that it builds on a culture of co-
and free content. RICs are people who mediate the creation of
and learngroups between regions, to empower and facilitate their
learners. The more open content available, the more orderered and
structured by thorough investigation, the easier the work of the
Information Coach. In fact RICs are also part of a network of their
while they are facilitating networking.
So this is the general background of RIC. It is condensed in the four
essentials that Bernhard has quoted:
- look for education that creates regional opportunities
- give priority to individuals
- support coooperation and networking internally and externally
- value the importance of culture
Do similar jobs already exist?
Bernhard has referred to similar professions who relate to RIC, but
are also clearly distinct. RIC is not a regional manager: the
RIC is primarily giving access to information, not to formulate
development plans. and so on. The village development or regeneration
coach is primarily looking at the local resources, at the potential
people, while the RIC is looking primarily on the external knowledge
resouces that might be useful to people. Librarians are dealing with
and giving advice on books, RIC are based on the Internet and on
advice on strategies to solve information problems, get systematic
knowledge, choose the most promising path etc.
So RIC is a clearly distinct profession which does not yet exist, but
which could be in huge demand if its potential is recognized.
Why do we go for a European standard?
First because we think that only if we can create a standard, people
consider the profession. It would allow them to move and to have
opportunities in more than one place. Second because we want
interoperability and networking of local places of learning and
and RIC can help facilitate that. The more RICs out there, the more
efficient they can work.
Who should educate RICs ?
A very good question! We have to bring various competences together
- competences for content
- competences for mediation of knowledge and culture
- competence for technical tools to organise content
- management competences.
When we did our "Global Village 2000" event in the Vienna city hall,
educated temporary Information Coaches by creating couples of content
specialists (jobless medical doctors for example) and mediation
specialists (people that guide lower-educated youngsters through
The result was amazing!! I think RICs have to bring with them some
content competences (which limits somehow the personell for the
profession), but we can re-assess with them the way content exists
internet and the way it can be made useful for various categoiries of
What is the requirement to enter the RIC education?
In the light of the previous question I would say RICs should have
academic and scientific background of some kind and the strong urge
make information and knowledge have impact in real life. These might
people who are finishing some higher education cycles in an urban
environment and seek ways to find a job in their home region.
How does the RIC education look like?
How long does it take, where does it take place and when does it end?
Does it end at all?
what is the formal qualification (degree?)
What is the relation theory and practise?
All these questions belong together. We have had a lot of time
to prepare a RIC course scheme, and I am glad we did not realize it.
think RICs should be able to build up their skills and proficiency
extremely modular way, and as Andrius suggested it is a good idea to
traditional courses with portfolio-style project work.
When I think of all that inevitably we end up with institutions who
role in certification. My only hope is that this is as much
as possible and RIC always keeps the balance between necessary
standardisation and the fact that people and cultures are different.
Who pays for the education of RICs?
RIC should be provided in form of modular courses at educational
institutions and as field practica at places of learning and access
The courses would be paid for by the individual learners; but maybe
are even regional scholarships available. The more experience
and the better the evaluation, the faster the field practica should
even a source of income for the learner.
Should RICs change between regions?
Although one esential of RIC is the specialised knowledge aboot a
which enable RIVs to do mediation and facilitation work, the
change of workplace would be a desireable feature for RICs, allowing
transfer of experiences and good practices.
OK. This is just a beginning and everyone is free to work on this in
annotation form at