Over the last 6 months I have been volunteering my time with a network of 15 not for profit Neibourhood Houses in Victoria Australia to develop a strategy towards getting the centre’s trained in the use of 21st century technology.

My role has been to help them connect their community’s online using social networking and Blackboard/Collaborate, to help with their communication and training ability.

Because of the tyranny of distance in my region many residents are isolated and many of the elderly and disabled are house bound. The network needs a Blackboard/Collaborate room to help them conduct meetings and offer free training to their communities.

All Centers are run by one paid coordinator who works for 3 days a week and each centre relies on a group of volunteers offering training and life skills programs to those isolated by distance, ability and age in their community.

These centre’s offer free internet training and various courses are run at a below cost price or free. Anyone in the community is welcome to drop in for a cuppa a chat or company. A Blackboard /Collaborate room for this network would allow the networks to reach out further and offer a safe place online to learn and conduct their meetings and offer training without some having to travel up to 500kms.This would also embed the concept of Blackboard/Collaborate to our wider community.

Junita Lyon

Volunteer Trainer

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Comment by Keith Wilson on July 20, 2011 at 10:11pm
There are service-learning projects being run in communities where students from the local school offer their skills. The teacher incorporates the community support activities into subject planning so that students not only benefit socially but academically as well. A worthwhile video from the USA is Bring Learning to Life or visit the peak organisation in Australian at Learn and Serve Australia.
Comment by Carole McCulloch on July 20, 2011 at 4:32pm
A really good cause this one; however I think you might want to consider opening it up to community education centres across Australia. Each state would then benefit. You could then offer training/meetings and also enable the centres to conduct their not-for-profit adult learning classes online. This would really promote the work of LearnLocal community education in Australia.

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