Saturday, July 30, 2016

Building on-line Communities - #clmooc example

Below is an archive of a Connected Learning #clmoc Twitter chat that took place last week. It was created by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Massachusetts.


You can find this and other ideas submitted by Kevin and #clmooc members in this G+ community and this Facebook community.  You can find articles I've written about MOOCs and Learning on the side bar of this blog.

Below is a concept map I created this morning, showing how cMOOCs like this are needed in efforts to bring large groups of people together on an on-going basis to solve important local or global problems.

I titled it "How can One Person, or a Small Group, really change the world?"


In the concept map I point to the library of information and organizations that I've been building for more than 25 years.  Below is just one map, representing one group of organizations.

This is a map showing organizations that work as intermediaries, connecting many other direct service organizations who focus on the well-being of youth in the Chicago region.

My vision is that I could click into the web site of any of these organizations, and find a section where they show how they are supporting on-line engagement of their members, and a blog that shows how important their role is in helping bring organizations, clients, resource providers together in on-line learning communities.

In another Storify, created a week ago after another #clmooc chat, Kevin shared Tweets around the "Who is here? Who is not?" topic.  When we talk about building communities, this needs to be part of the conversation.

As that happens, maps like mine begin to be connectors, or bridges, bringing people out of silos, into larger networks connecting more people from a single city, multiple cities, and multiple countries, who are concerned with the same problem.

There's much to do to make this happen. 

Your first step is to click through the links and build your own understanding. You might even find an on-line group to join.



Friday, July 29, 2016

"It Takes A Village to Raise a Child". Who's Building the Village?

The nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party's candidate for President is historic in many different ways.  Only history will tell us what the result will be.

During her Thursday evening speech, she referred to a book she wrote in the 1990's titled, "It Takes A Village".

 According to Wikipedia, "The book's title is attributed to an African proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child." The saying and its attribution as an "African" proverb were in circulation before it was adopted by Clinton as the source for the title of her book."

Thus, Clinton did not originate the term. She borrowed it to emphasize her commitment to children.

I've borrowed it, too, and used it in this concept map:


If you click here, you can find 30 articles where I've used this "It Takes a Village" concept since I started this blog in 2005.  I use the ideas as a strategy that needs to be growing in cities all across the country, and demonstrated with web sites that show a commitment visualized in the strategy map below.



When people in business, media, entertainment, politics, religion, education, colleges, and every other part of the "village" adopt this commitment, with themselves shown in the blue box at the top of the graphic, then we can begin to build the public will and long-term commitment needed to fill every high poverty neighborhood in a city with a wide range of supports needed to help kids move successfully and safely from birth to adult lives free of poverty.

How to get started? Make a leadership commitment, as a teacher, a college professor, a Rabbi, a CEO, then appoint someone to take the lead. Start a learning process, where you open and close every node on the strategy map so you know the information it's sharing, and you know what your commitment involves.



View these presentations, created by interns, as part of their own learning between 2006 and 2014. Youth and adults could be creating similar presentations, focusing on their community and their strategies.

Not everyone is happy that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's candidate. The Republicans have plenty of hate for her.

Yet, raising kids and helping them be healthy, productive, contributing adults who can keep America great, and keep this planet safe and nurturing of all of its different populations and resources...human, animal, plant... is something that everyone should be able to agree on.

It does take a village. But until we have responsible, on-going, commitments of time, talent and dollars from every part of the village, supporting youth in the most economically challenged parts of every city, these will just be empty words.

That means students, volunteers, college researchers, and others will need to learn to create maps that show who in the village is involved, and who is still not involved.  You can see some examples of event mapping of past Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences, at this link. Many different forms of mapping are highlighted in articles on the Mappingforjustice blog.

Part of the learning that people do will need to include finding ways to map participation .

If you share this commitment, please share this and other ideas shared on this blog and my Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.  Help build the village in every part of the country.




Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Digging Deeper. Connected Learning Ideas

I'm constantly humbled by the creativity of some of the people I've met during the Connected Learning MOOC that I've followed each year since 2013. Below is a graphic shared today by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts. You can see it here.



Kevin and others who I've met during the #clmooc have frequently added new understanding to graphics I've posted, and so I hope they will do so again with the visualizations posted below.

Mentoring Kids to Careers - see map


Race - Poverty - see map


Learning Path/Information Flow - see  map 


Strategy map - see map



These are just a few of the concept maps you can find at this link.  If you view visualizations on this page you can see how interns from South Korea, and other places have looked at my visualizations and created their own interpretations.

For instance, this animation shows a different interpretation of the strategy map above.  This was created in 2009 while the Tutor/Mentor Connection was still part of the Cabrini Connections program, so needs to be updated.  Maybe one of my readers will do this.




If educators participating in on-line events like the Connected Learning cMOOC begin to do this on a regular basis, more people will begin to understand and apply the ideas, while also adding improvements based on their own experiences, where they live, and who they teach.

Maybe more people will begin to create their own strategy maps,  showing their solutions to other important issues, not just poverty, social justice, education and inequality.

While millions of dollars are being spent to elect new leaders for public offices in the US, creating the world we want really remains the work and responsibility of every one of  us.  I've never expected much help from political leaders, and don't expect much in the next four years.

As Merri Dee of WGN TV fame said to me 25 years ago, "If it is to be it is up to you and me."


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hello Democrats! Are You Listening?

Last night at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren made great speeches, sharing goals of the Democratic Party and calling on voters to make Hillary Clinton our next President.



I wonder if each of them, and our four 2016 Presidential candidates, sees themselves as a powerful force traveling through the universe of time, pulling others along as they go.

Do they have a graphic on their web site communicating this idea? 

I created the graphic in the middle of this pie chart in 2011, and shared it under a titled of "How can one person change the future?"

I used it again a few weeks ago when I introduced myself for the 2016 Connected Learning MOOC (#clmooc).

I've combined the graphic with a pie chart to illustrate that while I focus on urban youth and poverty, with volunteer-based, tutor/mentor programs being the form of engagement, that I feel has the potential to bring people from rich and poor neighborhoods together around a common goal, there are other issues of equal importance.

A President needs to have a gravity that pulls people into each slice of this pie chart, and that supports leaders who are as focused on the environment, water scarcity, public health, immigration, world peace, etc. as I am on urban youth.

It seems that much of this campaign is being fought using 140 character sound bytes which shout, but don't educate. To be fair, I'm finding many Tweets, Facebook posts and media stories that point to a wealth of information. I just need to find time to read some of it.

In 2012, during the last Democratic Convention, I wrote a blog article titled "Building Learning Communities-Test  Your Motivation."

In that article I include links that draw readers deeper and deeper into my web sites, and the library of information and ideas they contain.

If any of the four 2016 Presidential Candidates were following my strategy, they'd be pointing to their campaign web sites, where the party platform and goals would be easily read and understood.  However, those web sites would then have graphics, like I show in the data map below, that draw visitors deeper into information that they can use to become partners to helping whomever gets elected, solve some of the complex problems and critical challenges that he/she will face over the next four years.


In the middle of the 2012 article I wrote, "Here's the test. Are you still reading?"

Are any of the people running for office, or their researchers, friends and/or advisers listening?   It does not matter what  public office you are running for. Your role as a leader will be measured by how much you influence others to follow your example, and go in the direction you point them.





Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chasing Cheap Clicks - Sad Situation

So, I posted that headline as a blatant attempt to attract readers to my blog.

Now that you're hear, I hope you'll spend some time reading this article from The Guardian.com, titled, "How Technology Disrupted the Truth".


I've been on-line since the late 1990s with the optimistic belief that intermediaries like myself, could attract people with time, talent and resources, to web libraries and program directories, which they would use to find places where their help could make a difference in the lives of people living in economic distress.

This article shows how far from that reality the world has come in the past 20 years.  I hope you'll spend some time reading this.

Thank  you to friends a ChiHackNight.com who shared this article on their Slack page. 



Friday, July 22, 2016

A Quick Look at Connected Learning

I started connecting and learning on-line in the late 1990s and took part in my first eConference in 2003 or 2004.  I posted this eLearning strategy on my web site about then, and it's still a strategy I firmly believe in.

I started taking part in MOOCs in 2010 and learned that there is a distinction between MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and cMOOC that focuses on connecting many people and their ideas, with each other, through the structure of an open, on-line course. Click the links in this section of my library and build  your own understanding.

I joined the Connected Learning MOOC in 2013 and have participated each year since. If you browse their web site you'll see many forms of engagement. One is the weekly Twitter chat.  Below you can see a Storfy summation of last night's chat, created by Kevin Hogdson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts.



If you look at my mission statement, and many of the articles and photos on my blog, you'll see my goal of helping strong, constantly improving, volunteer-based non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of a city.

Wow. That's a long, wordy description.  Maybe a picture will help?


Here's one that I created in the 1990s to visualize what a "mentor rich" program might look like.  I describe this in more detail in this PDF presentation.

Notice the map in the lower left corner. You can find many stories using maps, on this blog, on the MappingforJustice blog, and on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.  By creating a map with indicators, like high poverty, we focus attention on all of the neighborhoods where talent, dollars, ideas, etc. are needed, for many years. Without the map, funding and attention goes mostly to high profile organizations and/or neighborhoods.  If President Bush had used maps consistently with "No Child Left Behind" perhaps fewer kids would still be left behind in 2016.

So far I've not seen maps used for this purpose by any of the four contenders for the 2016 Presidential election. It's not too late.

Notice the arrows on the graphic, connecting the spokes with the hub of the wheel. This represents the "service learning" loop that takes place every time a volunteer connects with a youth in an on-going tutor/mentor program.  See more in this animation.


If a volunteer is well-supported as he approaches his weekly tutor/mentor service, he will be more effective, more satisfied, and more likely to stay involved longer.  If she is well supported as she returns to her work place, family, church, mosque etc, she will do more to educate others and encourage their own involvement.

This is a growth strategy for youth tutoring, mentoring and anti-poverty programs.

However, I don't see enough of this happening. I point to the #CLMOOC and other MOOCs regularly on this blog, and in my social media spaces, because they are a model for connecting people with each other, on an on-going basis, and in on-line space.

This does not replace face-to-face gatherings. It just recognizes the difficulty of keeping large numbers of concerned people together on an on-going basis. It also recognizes the difficulty of every member sharing his/her ideas when the group is larger than 4 or 5 people.

I feel that on-line communities, with designs similar to these cMOOCs should be embedded in each spoke of the wheel shown above, connecting volunteers, donors, leaders, from each sector of business and the "village" with each other and with ideas that show what works, what's not working, and what others are doing to make it work better.....which could be duplicated by other groups in the same city, or in different cities.

Such communities should include youth, parents, teachers, researchers, program leaders, board members, etc.  

This graphic was created by an intern from South Korea several years ago, while she was an intern with the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago. It's one of many visualizations you can find here and here, created between 2006 and 2014.

I share what's happening in the #CLMOOC so others will take a look, get involved, learn from people I'm learning from, and then begin to duplicate this process in more sectors, with a focus on the issues I focus on, or with a focus on other issues, that are equally important.

If you're already hosting cMOOCs focused on poverty, youth development, tutoring/mentoring, philanthropy, etc, share your link below. Let's connect.  




Monday, July 18, 2016

Work Together -- Or Fail On Your Own

In my last email newsletter I included the graphic shown below.

I'm working on my July newsletter and the articles will focus on 'tutor mentor' volunteer recruitment to start the 2016-17 school year.   With so much media clutter drawing our attention to Trump, Clinton, Terrorism, Black Lives Matter, jobs and the economy, it's almost impossible for small and mid-sized tutor/mentor programs to attract visitors to their web sites and volunteers to their programs. Yet, connecting more youth to non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning experiences can be part of the solution to all of these problems.

I've posted more than 1000 articles on this blog since 2005 and used the tags at the left to help people find articles focused on specific topics. Do a Google search, using the words "tutor mentor" then any single word from this graphic, and you'll find stories I've posted here and in other places among the first 10 to 20 listings.

Many focus on strategies programs and leaders need to apply to draw consistent attention, and resources, to all of the high poverty neighborhoods of a city like Chicago, despite the torrents of other stories that flood around them.  They also point to a master list of Chicago are programs, with the goal that ALL get a more consistent flow of resources, not just those who are well-known, or have high profile supporters.

The graphic at the top refers to an old saying "I can't drain the swamp because I'm up to my neck in alligators."  In this case those alligators represent all the challenges individual youth serving organizations face each year as they try to help young people navigate their journeys through school and into adult lives.

If we just spend an  hour or two every week thinking of ways to support the entire Chicagoland community of tutor/mentor programs, perhaps we could get rid of some of those alligators, or make their bite a big less painful.

You can't read these all in one setting. But you could work through many of them over a year, or two. As you read the articles, try to apply them in your own actions. Create your own interpretations, and share them via your own media. That's what the Connected Learning MOOC ( #clmooc ) is all about.

It draws together educators from throughout the world, and has done so each year since 2013.  It's a model of networked learning that could be applied in the youth tutoring/mentoring world, too.  It just needs a few leaders to help make it happen.

I participate in cMOOCs like these because I know that every big city has similar pockets of high poverty with disengaged young people. That means any city could have a team working right now to update a list of non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs and at the same time reaching out to business, faith groups, media, celebrities, etc. to encourage them to put stories about volunteering in their August media. I've shared my own efforts on this site, so others can borrow ideas from me..and so leaders in Chicago can learn ways they can apply these ideas.

If you're already doing this, just reach out and introduce yourself. If you're interested in learning more, let's talk.