Thursday, June 11, 2015

Collecting, Mapping, Sharing Knowledge

I created this graphic over 20 years ago to visualize the information I was trying to collect to support the growth, and effectiveness, of the volunteer-based tutor/mentor program I was leading in Chicago, and to help similar programs grow in other high poverty neighborhoods of the city.

Between 1994 and 2004 the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) published a printed directory of Chicago non-school tutor/mentor programs, sorting by age group served, type of program and location in Chicago. In 2004 we put the Directory on-line and launched the on-line program locator that enabled you to search by these criteria and get a map showing the program and any other programs in the same part of the city.

In 2005 I began using concept maps to share ideas and show information available in the Tutor/Mentor Connection library. The map below is a version of the knowledge map above. I've been trying for years to create an interactive graphic that would work like a blueprint, showing all of the talents and influences needed to build thriving adults, starting with their pre school years. You can see this here.

This graphic is another way to visualize each section of the map above. It's intended to show the range of influences and supports, a youth might need to grow from one age level to another. In more affluent areas, these resources are naturally available, or parents have the money to purchase them, and knowledge to know where to find help that is needed.

In high poverty neighborhoods that's not the case. The resources are less available and parents don't have the money to purchase all the help kids need. This is the problem Robert. D. Putnam wrote about in the book "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis". Thus, if we collect links related to each node, we could create a library of "models" showing supports available to kids in some places, that need to be available to kids in many other places.

Ideally a visitor could chose a section of the map, based on the age group of the youth he/she was interested in helping. Then he could click into any of the nodes to find ideas related to that topic. If these were also plotted on a map, you could see if they are available in the neighborhood you're interested in. Ideally there would be links to discussion forums and help centers where people could gather and learn about these resources, and talk about ways to improve them where they exist, or build new ones where they are needed. This map should also point to sources of talent and dollars to support the growth and operations of these programs, also with a geographic sort feature.

So far, most of this does not exist on my sites, and I'm not sure if it exists anywhere else.

I've never had much money, or talent, to help me build this, or share it, and I've much less since 2011. I created this presentation to show what I've been building since 1994.

Tutor/Mentor Institute - Learning Network Strategy by Daniel F. Bassill

As you look at presentation above, also look at this presentation on Slide Share, which was created in 1998. These are just two of many presentations and articles I've written that others could turn into a curriculum, or their own city-wide strategy for helping kids move through school and into jobs and careers.

While I'd be delighted to have one of the billionaires who bankroll political elections decide to bankroll my efforts, I'd be just as happy if a benefactor said "let's put this on a college campus, with you as the creative director."

Until that happens I'll continue sharing ideas via my blogs and speaking at conferences, such as the Illinois Campus Compact event on Monday, where I'll be talking about how the Tutor/Mentor Connection could be adopted on many college campuses.

If you agree that this type of a knowledge library could support the involvement of large number of people who may not know how to get involved now, or if you want to help me build part of this system, introduce yourself. Let's start a conversation.

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