Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Külaline Moldaaviast: Ion Braga

"Workshop on the wheels"
The study visit to Estonia Telecentres
22-24 Oct 2008
Day I
Day started at 10.00 with the departure from Tallinn. The main direction: - South of Estonia. Tonu Otsason is a fighter for the Telecentres of Estonia, a person in those 74 years is dedicated in everything to develop the values of information society. Tonu Otsason is president of the Association of Estonia Telecentres.
Our plan is to visit several community centers and to get more knowledge about informational society in Estonia. Tonu called this action "workshop on the wheels" - take a car; collect a team and go to visit centers that most interest you. Such action is interesting because you can travel and at the same time discuss important topics.
Believe Tonu the information society in Estonia is still in development. The point at which it starts: the state has invested money, new information technologies are on society but results are not as so. The feedback from these investments is weak. It should be involved the "third sector" to handle the information society.
The first location was a school in Ardu
(www.ardukool.ee ). It is a city with about 600 residents and in the school are 86 students. Small number of students transforms a part of the school in kindergarten. Director and librarian kindly explained to us what their vision with reference to the information society is.
Since the school is opened until 17.00, students and adults can visit the computer class to use computers and Internet. Courses can be organized by teacher of informatics. Government gives to each teacher a laptop for individual training. In each class the teacher has a computer at his work. It was implemented a national database
www.ekool.ee to whom have access teachers, students as well as parents. Through this database each participant depending on the position of authorizing. The teachers write their schedule of work, educational program, students write, communicate needed to the study issues. Students can access the graphic lessons, homework, view the results obtained. Parents can watch what kids do, what notes were obtained from each orderly or were not present or in class. It is a system in which all gain benefices. The teachers write data in the database and data can not be changed later (absent, notes). The system is one confidential.
The librarian also has a computer at his work, more than have a separate office equipped with computers for work. One of the ingenious activities observed: in the autumn holiday is organizing a contest for best book, students must write a book alone. The book will be then kept in the library and preserves. There are books that have more than 10 years and are interesting for children.Director is also a member of the community association. Among the projects that they have this association is also building a community house (point of access to information). In this house (created by the voluntary participation of the community) will take place culture events: festivals, holidays. People will be able to gather and visit this house freely when they want and organize events. Some services (the possibility like birthday, weddings, etc.) will be chargeable. It is a multifunctional house that will include the room for the library and computers, kitchen, party room, sauna. This house is designed for 3 localities.
The second destination was Olustvere vocational school. School director considers it necessary to unite together library, Internet access point, the house of culture. At the same time people have computers in most and are not interested to visit a center that is equipped with computers.
A third location was Rannu village:
www.rannu.ee. There is an active center. This local cultural society represents an NGO with more active activities. The Organization develops local tourism by promoting handicraft work among locals.
Courses organized manufacture of souvenir items that would represent the town. A local legend about the love of a daughter of baroness Barbara for a local and her tragic death in the nearby lake led to the idea of promoting certain traditional items connected with this legend (scarf called - "tears of Barbara"). Within such a course were attended adults. The objects are souvenirs for tourists and some of them are exposed in the local information center. I visited a downtown similar solely for working with the community. Circles of dance, choir, orchestra, art, meetings of the society women have a place in this center.For example, the women wrote a project of which asked to be built boats (canoes) in the territory to organize, such as sports on the lake near the town. This is a plus for the community to quicken the spirit of community, represent an interest for tourists to come.The next point was a center of the community in Palupera village Maintaining contact between members of communities, which are distributed over a large area, is essential. A former warehouse on fire is now a center of the community due to the support offered by the EU. Here members of the community can gather, discuss certain issues organize activities together. The Center has two computers. 
In terms of information technology people are interested in particular when you have to complete statements of income, in March. But at the same time we have not seen an increased interest in computer, Internet and
 everything that is re
lated to him. People are much more concentrated towards the development of traditions, organization of events and cultural sportive together. Interesting that all these actions is based on enthusiasm of locals and is a voluntary action.
The Estonians are much attached to promote local traditions. It seems that interest in access to computers is a common of which is not required to be given a special place.
Day IIWe went to talk with representatives of local public administration in the town Põlva. In this administration was established post of the person who deals with computerization. We talked about the informatization in the rural of region. In this region were created more points of access to the Internet in thr
ee consecutive programs, link: http://www.polvamaa.ee/index.php?page=1941 & (table can be examined).
One of them, in the village Ihamaru, which
 I visited in the road, is situated in a shop. Two computers connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi offers an additional service to people who come to shop. The owner of the store informed us that people may come to use free Internet network.“First came a lot - we communicate it, but now almost no one is coming, all have computers at home with Internet connection and do not feel the need” said the owner. At the same time Tonu noted that the center is small enough for tourists who come in the summer, is a region with many tourist att
ractions, such people who crossing can use the Internet and quickly access.Telecentres problem in Estonia is that there is a boom of the equipment in society, they each could allow a 
computer, it exists in almost every family, but the quality to use Internet resources is limited. The problem is equally as Moldova, as specialist librarians (in our case teachers) were trained in computer use but the results are expected leave, nobody uses the personal computer in work. Here people don’t use the possibilities to organize trainings for people to use internet resources. The basic idea that you have access to connection doesn’t mean that you can use efficient these resources and can improve your life skills.
This is based on the idea to c
reate points of Internet access in libraries, but these are inefficient because librarians are not competent people to work in this field to promote e-learning. Remain the points with free access to the computer without an informational support and people quickly lose interest because the amount of technological equipment.
We followed then visit to Karula national park and Kaika village, where we went to a house which promotes tourism services (Veetla). It is a space that is not only interesting but existing landscape by more action by people who were concerned that this space to represent one tourist. Figures expressing Estonian traditions are broken everywhere
I could say that what is perceived as a Center in Estonia is more that the stage access to computer resources but that they can provide resources to mobilize and promote the community. "Computer is not a stranger, is not an alien but is a part of our lives. He is a neighbour of ours but at the same time he is able to overcome us. It is necessary to become partners and to follow the course.” – said Tonu Otsason.

Day 3
Morning began by discussing with the owner of the tourist base Ants Järvmäe (http://nakatu.ee/) on his vision of the information. Of those notified: “Government sets target to install in each library Internet access point. Local communities, the businesses have decided to connect to the access point. Thus they established a point of issuing a signal and each farm has access to Internet by wireless.” It's simple and free accessible for all. Users pay only the change of equipment in time. Technology brings innovations that they have to follow.
On the way to another point in Sangaste library we saw the point of access to the 
Internet @ symbol and info center. We found the Sangaste library which has a center access
 Internet. A person assisted librarian complete some documents on the Internet with reference
 to electricity. Like the librarian said to us people don’t use to come to visit libraries, so if they
 don’t come it means that the access points established aren’t efficient.
After visiting the center followed a visit to a café
 “Rukkimaja” that is also the perfect point of access to the Internet. It is a service of Restaurants - any visitor can use the computer. This is good especially for tourists because it can be used to find the right place where you want to go or to know more about region where you are.
In conclusion I could notice that the centers of Estonia are not an association targeted only towards promoting the computer as a tool for promoting information society. The development of the communities is important. In the same time I believe that is essential to develop these centers by creating an alliance that will promote programs to enforce these centers, to give good examples, to exchange ideas and experiences. It is necessary that people could find an interest and a need in these centers.

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