Sunday, February 18, 2018

Understanding and solving complex problems - SDGs, Violence, Learning

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I've been using the Internet to collect and share ideas since the mid 1990s.  I created the cMap at the left to show some of the Twitter conversations I follow, where I learn, share and connect with others.

This week in the #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter) and #EngageMOOC (Engagement in a time of Polarization) chats, it was reinforced that unless you spend time in these groups, you won't build a comfort level and the learning that is available to you. I offered that "time" is measured in years, not in hours per day.

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Another group I've followed since 2012 is the #clmooc (connected learning).  As a result I have begun to follow blog articles of a few people I've met, such as Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher in Western Massachusetts.

At the right is a screen shot I took from an article Kevin posted this week, with an open invitation for readers to join the #NetNarr Alchemy Lab . 

Keven writes "the first step is to play the invitation".   I did, and I hope you will, too.

View here

Just before reading Kevin's article I browsed my LinkedIn page and saw this article about the United Nation's Sustainable Global Development Goals.

I followed the link to this page, which describes some of the challenges we're facing to reach the 17 UN SDG goals by 2030.  The screen shot at the left shows the web site where these challenges are visualized. The first one is that too few people actually know about the SDGs.
Animation created by Intern

Now, if you look at the #clmooc home page, and view past articles I've written about #clmooc and #moocs, you'll see that I've been trying to nudge them to devote some of their creative projects to communicating ideas and strategies I've been creating since 1990s, via their own visualizations and social media networking.

If you look at my graphics you'll see #maps, used to focus attention on all places where help is needed and #visualizations showing that many types of support are needed, in EACH PLACE, for many years. Building and sustaining public will is essential to that and aligns with the goals and strategies for achieving the SGD goals, too.

Below is a cMap that includes several visualizations, that show a focus on place (maps), process, and the need to build and sustain public will. Many people need to help make this happen.

Planning needed - view cmap here

Visit this page and you can see how interns working with me in Chicago from 2005 to 2016 created visual interpretations of ideas I launched on blog posts and PDF presentations.  Then, visit the page shown in the screen shot above.  You'll see that their first solution is "raise global awareness of the SDGs and solutions we already have".  Then they show examples of raising awareness.

If you follow #clmooc on Twitter or view the articles on the #clmooc home page, you'll see a constant encouragement to "hack" work started by one person to create something new. I did that with this school bus graphic, which was first created by Melvina Kurashige, who lives in Germany.  I also did it with the SDGs graphic shown above.

The school bus graphic is an invitation to others to "get on the bus" and create their own visualizations of problems and solutions. "Stay on" means that you need to do this over, and over, maybe for many years.

In many of the groups I follow (view the hashtag map), I'm connecting with educators, organizers of technology groups, youth program leaders and intermediaries who work with many organizations, which means that students in classrooms all over the world could be creating their own visual interpretations of what I and others are sharing, and communicating these to their world...every day!

View this Tweet - here
Imagine if students throughout the US and the world were creating strategy visualizations on a daily and weekly basis, drawing attention to a problem and showing paths to solutions. What if volunteers from different industries were helping them learn new ways to communicate ideas, or to build their skills? Or if they were following and learning from the same Twitter groups I follow? 

Maybe we'll see that in student efforts to reduce gun violence in America, which is represented in this Twitter post.

I've created hundreds of visualizations since the mid 1990s. You can view some on my Pinterest page and others can be found by doing a Google search for "tutor/mentor".  I've embedded graphics in more than 1000 blog articles since 2005 and in presentations on and Slideshare.

I hope these are starting points for the work others do to draw attention and build solutions to the problems we face in this world.  I hope some people will reach out to help me do these better, or to create their own interpretations.

There's much to be done.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Engaging on-line - #engageMOOC

I signed up a couple of weeks ago to participate in this two week on-line course titled "Engagement in a time of Polarization", and my Twitter feed gave me some reminders today.

So I looked at a video, read an article, added comments via Hypothesis, then saw this tweet by Christina Hendricks.

After reading I posted some thoughts. As I was finishing, I decided to also post those thoughts here;

Hi Christina. I think we first connected via ETMOOC a few years ago. I'm on Mastodon, too and I've seen some of your posts there.

I agree with your comment about the potential of blogs to support deeper learning. I've been writing mine for over 10 years, with the same overall goal of connecting people and ideas that support the growth of non-school tutor, mentor, learning programs in high poverty areas.

I see three levels of engagement.

1. Current social media, or the stream and flow (Clay Shirky wrote about this). We dip in and out of the stream. We add to it. We draw from it. We ignore much of it. We miss the majority of what's there due to limited time on-line and limited connections in our networks. It may be that we're now missing much due to how social media platform algorithms determine who sees our posts and who we see.

2. Blog posts - these enable anyone to comment in greater depth about what they are seeing on social media, traditional media as well as from events and meetings they host or participate in. They allow us to share work we're doing in real life, in schools, non-school, programs, feeding the hungry, resisting, etc.  Using hyperlinks, they enable us to connect our readers to a much deeper and extensive library of information.

3. The world wide library - curated collections. This to me is critically important. While a Google search can lead you to information posted anywhere in the world, you need to know what you're looking for to find it in the first 10 to 20 links that show up as a search result.  Many people may now know what they are looking for. Thus if someone is building a web library with information related to a topic (such as the references posted on articles with the #engageMOOC), then anyone can be pointed to that library at any time via hyperlinks in a blog article or via hypelinks attached to a post on one of the social media platforms.

This means anyone can pick out a video, article, piece of research, blog post, etc. and gather friends, co-workers, etc. to read, reflect, discuss, and over time integrate into their understanding of a situation and ways they might respond to it.

As you wrote above, fewer people seem to be commenting on blog posts. From my Google Analytics, fewer people are viewing these. It may be that no one likes what I'm writing, but I think it's more the result of so many people posting on different platforms and much fewer people taking time to read and reflect on what other people are writing.

Thus, as we go through #engageMOOC and beyond I look forward to finding ways to draw more people from the stream and into the deep end of learning, and to how that helps us understand and try to solve some of the many complex problems we face in our local-global lives.

Note: I invite you to review eLearning goals that the Tutor/Mentor Connection first posted in 2004 when we worked with IUPUI on our first on-line conference. I was never able to find funding, or partners, to fully develop this strategy.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Do They Give Olympic Gold Medals for Ending Poverty?

Jefferson Award for Public Service 

I posted an article with this headline in 2007.  Since the 2018 Winter Olympics have just started, it's time for an update.

When I wrote my 2007 article Chicago had just won the right to compete with other cities around the world to host the 2016 Olympics (later they lost the bid).

I asked, "What do these cities have in common with Chicago?" They all have neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and disenfranchised youth. They are all seeking ways to prepare their youth for 21st century jobs and careers.

So I proposed that a Gold Medal competition be established to see which city can do the most each year from 2007 until 2016 to build comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in all of their high poverty neighborhoods, which are funded by the businesses who will get rich off of the Olympics, and who also are pointing fingers at public education because it's not doing enough to prepare low income youth for 21st century jobs and careers.

Read "Planning Steps-War on Poverty"

I suggested that there could be one winner each year from 2007 till 2016 and a grand prize winner at the 2016 Olympics.

I also suggested, "Maybe this will become a tradition and will continue until the 2116 Olympics. What would the world look like then as a result of such a focused effort in cities all over the world?"

Finally, I wrote "I just wish as many smart and powerful people in Chicago were focusing on the goals of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, as are focusing on getting the Olympic bid."

Where do you start learning about ways to compete for this award? Visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site and begin to use the links and forums for your own learning and collaboration. You can even take a leadership role now, by using your blogs and your own media and web sites, to point your customers to meeting places where these ideas are being discussed, on-line and face-2-face. 

I concluded: "So far there is no Olympic Medal for Best City in ending Poverty."  That is still true in 2018. 

 If you'd like to become a sponsor and partner to create such an award, email, or connect with me on one of these social media sites.

Note: one outcome of lack of support for this strategy, and the recession that started in 2007-8 was that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) strategy was discontinued in the non-profit where it originated in 1993. I created the Tutor/Mentor Institue, LLC in 2011 to try to find new sources of revenue to keep the T/MC alive in Chicago and to help similar intermediary organizations grow in other cities.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Building Great Youth Development Teams - Like Building winning Super Bowl team.

Click to enlarge. 
I've posted versions of this article in the past. the Super Bowl just ended and the Winter Olympics are set to begin. Baseball spring training starts in two weeks.  Millions of eyeballs are focused on these sports, spending three to 10 hours or more a week watching the games.

Every team's players have spent many years building their skills and have mastered thick and thin playbooks that show what they need to do to be winning teams. Coaches have been doing chalk-board talks and using "x" and "o" diagrams to outline innovative strategies (like that Eagles' touchdown at the end of the first half of last night's game).

Click on the graphic above to enlarge it. Look at how fans, owners, investors and others help great sports teams become great, and stay great.

How can we get just a fraction of that attention and game design effort focused building and sustaining great youth development teams in high poverty neighborhoods throughout the country?  

Here's a diagram from the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC playbook. It shows the goal of helping youth through school and into jobs and careers and the need for programs reaching every age level, in the school day and non-school hours.  It's one of many visualizations you'll find if you browse articles on this blog or pdf essays in the Tutor/Mentor library.

I've written many articles in the past showing roles that athletes and coaches might take beyond what they already do to help kids and communities.   My articles focus on building great teams, which is work owners, media, coaches and fans all help with.  I go beyond the great play or a single game, to building leagues and great teams in many places.

Yesterday J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans was honored by the NFL for raising more than $10 million for flood relief in Texas after the 2017 floods.  This is a great example of the power of celebrities to mobilize resources following a disaster of huge magnitude. I've seen similar efforts focused on helping a single child suffering from a disease or personal difficulty.

What I've not seen are maps, charts, and a game plan...for raising kids, or preventing environmental disasters.  Do a search for J.J. Watt on Google, then look at the images.  Do a similar search for other celebrities and sports stars.  Then do a search for Tutor/Mentor Connection and look at the images. Look at the maps and visualizations on the T/MC search. Click into blog articles and see how they are used.

Think of these as the "x's" and "o's" for making life better for disadvantaged or suffering people. Think of this as the game of life, with celebrities serving as coaches, team builders, sports writers, etc.

Think of how many more people would be thinking and acting differently if you found images like on the T/MC search when you looked up the Olympics, football, baseball and/or basketball players and teams, or TV, Movie and/or Music celebrities.

Think of what it would mean to kids growing up in poverty neighborhoods, or people trying to rebuild after disasters like Katrina, Harvey, or the floods, famine and wars in Asia, Africa and the Middle East if you saw these images repeated over and over for many years.

As you watched the Super Bowl or will be watching the Olympics and  then Major League basedball this week and in coming weeks, spend some time looking at the ideas I've been sharing and then think of ways to enlist sports teams and fans in this strategy.  Take time to share this message on social media and via your own blogs or videos.

Life is a team sport.  Don't just watch. Participate.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Archiving Twitter Posts using Wakelet

A couple of days ago one of my #clmooc friends posted a link showing Wakelet as a possible replacement for Storify in archiving Twitter chats, using #hashtags as reference points.  I tried it out and I included a graphic, and a link, below to show my collection.

However, for discussion purposes, below are two Wakelet collections that shows my contributions to the November 2017 #mapvember project, which focused on creations using maps. I used #clmooc #mapvember and @tutormentorteam as the range of Tweets to look at.

Next, I created a second Wakelet, this time omitting @tutormentorteam and only using #clmooc and #mapvember. You can see that this results in a much wider range of Tweets contributed by educators from different parts of the US and the world.

Below is my home page on Wakelet, showing five hashtag collections that I harvested in just a few minutes time on Friday and today.

On each of the Wakelet collections your first click takes you to a cover page. Under the text box describing the collection is another box, with a link to the Twitter page that you created by doing the search, such as #tutor #mentor #mapvember.

It's a live page, so if you click on "latest"  you'll see post added even after the Wakelet was created.

This can be useful if you want to show people specific collections of information on Twitter, or point people to ideas you've been consistently sharing for months, or even years.

I wonder if donors, or potential partners of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC will build a greater understanding of what I've been trying to do by seeing on on-going flow of posts focused on specific topics?  

Note. You can also use TweetDeck to follow specific sets of #hashtags, such as #clmooc #mapvember @tutormentorteam, however, I don't see an easy way to share those to a blog or Twitter the way you can with Wakelet.

Another Note.  I'm just learning about this. I will be looking at how people from #clmooc transfer archived Storify files to Wakelet.  You can follow this too. Just open the Wakelet site and look around. Thus far, it's free. I hope it stays that way.

If you find this interesting, or look at the Wakelets I've posted, and value my work, please go to this page and make a small contribution to help me continue doing this work. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

No quick fixes. No cookie-cutter solutions.

One of the primary reasons I have never been able to sell my ideas or build business support is that I've never put together a "cookie-cutter" type program design that companies could use to build and sustain a strategy that helps kids from high poverty areas move through school and into jobs and adult responsibilities.

Instead, I've built a library of information and ideas and encouraged people to spend time reading, reflecting and building a long-term commitment to the types of work needed to be done over many years.  Unfortunately, that's not what many social problem solvers and CSR leaders are looking for. They want quick fixes and short term proof of results.

I read an article yesterday that points to this problem and talked about how difficult it is to scale ideas that work in one place, or in a laboratory environment, to many other places.  I hope you'll take time to read it then read more of what I write below and in other articles on this blog.

This graphic shows three concepts that I've focused on for a long time.

At the far right is a "mentoring kids to careers" graphic that shows the 12 years of support needed to help a youth in a high poverty neighborhood move through school and into jobs and careers.

In the middle is a graphic where I used the Thomas Edison process of inventing a light bulb, then an industry that made electricity available throughout the world. Raising kids is not a science. Every kid is different. The family and community environment is different for each youth, and often constantly changing.  Building tutor/mentor programs that help connect extra adults and  youth, has some of the same challenges.  Great programs are needed in all high poverty neighborhood, posing a huge challenge for funders and city planners.

At the right is a systems thinking approach to problem solving, which I've borrowed from articles by Gene Bellinger.   This process focuses on learning everything we can about a problem and possible solutions before we design our own program.  It focuses on this process as a cycle that repeats each year, building on what we learned from our own experiences, and what we keep learning from others. My web library is intended to support this process.

Here's another visualization of my "mentoring kids to careers" graphic, In this case I compare raising a child to building a sky-scraper. In one case builders use extensive, complex blueprints to show work that needs to be done from the first step to the last step. Everyone doing the work needs specific skills and needs to be paid.

While my graphics show a vision for helping kids grow up, and s how some age-level actions that might support this journey, parents, teachers and youth program leaders need the flexibility to innovate and adopt their efforts to the specific needs of individual children at different stages on this journey. there is no blueprint for raising  kids, and the funding for paying everyone needed in this process is almost non-existent.

As you read the article that I pointed to above (here's the link again), think of how much flexibility is needed by those raising kids as they follow the "blueprints" and examples of others.

I met with the leader of a business association foundation yesterday and shared some of my thinking. I pointed to this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site, showing leadership strategies that need to be adopted in every industry, in universities and in hospitals across the country.  I encouraged him to appoint a "get it done" person to work with me, and do the reading, research and thinking, so that his group could build this strategy and set an example for other industries.

That invitation is open to leaders in every industry. Here's my Linkedin page and my Twitter feed. Connect with me.

If you value what I'm writing about and the library of ideas I host, then visit this page and become a contributor to help me do this work.

update 2/1/2018 - In the links section on the left side of this blog I point to many of my web sites and also point to a few sites hosted by others that I value. One is titled "From Poverty to Power". Here's an article that is related to the link I pointed to in the above article.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mentoring Month Ending. Work of Building Strong Programs Continues

The annual #NationalMentoringMonth focus on mentoring is now ending. However, the long-term work of building strong volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that help economically disadvantaged youth move through school and into adult roles, responsibilities and jobs, is continuing.

"How can we do this better?" has been the focus of my work since I started leading a tutoring program in Chicago in 1975, and of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993.

To get better we need to find time to look at what others are doing, look at the research, and look at ideas people share that you can use to improve your own skills, and the youth support strategies you lead. 

When I created the T/MC in 1993 the goal was to help all programs in the Chicago region get more consistent attention, which would lead to a better flow of volunteers and operating dollars to each program in the city. Better funding would enable programs to keep talented people and give those people time to spend learning ways to be better at helping kids and volunteers connect, and helping those connections lead kids through school.  Below is a 1994 article focusing on the public awareness part of this strategy.

Chicago Tribune - 1994 - read story
I keep focusing on the flow of resources and the talent needed to build and sustain long-term programs. In many of my articles and all of my web sites and blogs I point to this list of Chicago programs and this concept map showing other Chicago-based intermediaries focusing on well-being of youth.

In 1993 I was also starting a new non profit tutor/mentor program to serve teens in Cabrini-Green in, yet the T/MC has always encouraged donors and volunteers to shop our list of programs and find one or more to support. While this helped us attract support for our own program, it was also intended to help others.

I don't find many intermediaries or individual programs who consistently do the same, which means we're all still competing with each other for a shrinking pool of resources.

I've written this blog since 2005. I don't find many who have written the same type of articles for so long, or who  have been building and sharing a web library since the late 1990s.

And that means, for many, it's difficult to constantly improve. Form some, it's difficult to survive.

That needs to change.

If you value what I've been doing, send a contribution to help me continue in 2018.