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Networks: Connected Intelligence Training and Development

The CITD (Connected Intelligence Training and Development) program is a synthesis of Derrick de Kerckhove's ideas about Connected Intelligence with the learning model developed in The Virtual Community Project. This document was the foundation for a network-learning project that took place in Madeira, Portugal between 1998 and 2001.

[This entry connects back to an earlier discussion on network learning environments.]

Introductory information to the Madeira Project...

Funchal, capital of the Autonomous Region of Madeira (Portugal), was founded in 1421 and is located on the southern shore of Madeira, the largest of a group of volcanic islands lying 1100 kilometers south west of Lisbon. Madeira has a population of approx. 250,000. Its economy is heavily focused on tourism.

In 1998, Professor Derrick de Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, was invited by the Madeira Tecnopolo to conduct a series of Connected Intelligence Workshops. Professor de Kerckhove in turn invited Brian Alger to join. The purpose of the workshops was to brainstorm ideas and projects that could be implemented in order to accelerate Madeira’s participation in the European Union's vision for an Information Society. One of these workshops focused on how Connected Intelligence could be used in education with the purpose of better preparing teachers and students for the Information Society. Connected Intelligence Training and Development (CITD) program originated from this workshop.

During 1998, Professor de Kerckhove and Brian Alger partnered with KPMG Canada to conduct a feasibility study to inquire into the potential of developing a business entity that would be focused on providing consulting services and coordinating projects to support the Information Society initiatives. The result of this work is the Centro Internacional de Inteligência Conectiva, SA (CIIC) that officially came into being in September of 2000. The main directive of CIIC is to coordinate and manage the delivery of CITD across the Madeiran school system, and to design and build eLearning tools to support Connected Intelligence Networks.

What is the rationale for leveraging Connected Intelligence Networks in Madeira? There are a number of general factors that make Madeira an excellent environment for the CITD Program:

1) The Autonomous Region of Madeira has all the conditions and advantages for becoming, in time, a base par excellence for the export of digital content at the national and European levels. A rich culture, with tradition and proven creative talent.

2) An international perspective, reinforced by the geo-strategic role of Madeira, past and present, in relation to pertinent Atlantic markets.

3) Madeira is a telecommunications node in the Atlantic – underwater fibre optic cables (Columbus, Eurafrica, Salt II and Atlantic Alliance); the first interactive cable network to operate in Portugal; extensive satellite coverage (Intelsat, Eutelsat and Astra).

4) The Information Society initiative of the European Union

5) The Regional Government of Madeira has also stated three strategic objectives for the region in the document InfoMadeira 2006: a) Develop, explore and facilitate the access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. b) Lead the Autonomous Region of Madeira as a national and community pilot region into the Information Era. c) Create and develop a platform of content that will promote and place the Autonomous Region of Madeira on the map internationally, in the domains of education, tourism, entertainment, culture and electronic commerce.

These are general strategic directives on which CITD is built. In other words, the basis of the program is a direct response to stated needs within the society.

In December of 1998 KPMG Canada and the Regional Government of Madeira entered into a contractual agreement for the delivery of CITD in the Madeiran school system. In February 1999, Brian Alger officially launched the program during an opening workshop that took place at the Smart Toronto facilities in Toronto, Canada. This was the first official meeting of the ten trainers that had been seconded out of the Madeiran education system, and the management team from, at that time, KPMG Canada. While starting in the middle of the school year posed a number of risk management issues, it was in the end deemed better to get the program moving as quickly as possible. In addition, we were also quickly attempting to ready the CITD Innovation Centre (then called the CITD Lab).

The goal of this initial start-up (February 1999 through July 1999) was to begin experimenting with and building the organizational framework and implementation model for the program. In the end, a CITD Showcase was held in July of that year and successfully presented three Connected Intelligence Network Learning Projects The ten CITD Trainers had surpassed expectations for project development in an extremely short period of time.

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