Sunday, August 02, 2015

Visualizing New Ways to Solve Social Problems

The graphic below is from this animation, created by interns from IIT in Chicago during 2008-09 internships. The goal was to share the vision and four-part strategy piloted by the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) since it was launched in 1993.

Since 2005 a number of interns have worked with T/MC. They've all been challenged to find new way to visualize and communicate ideas originated in Tutor/Mentor Connection blogs, aiming to increase the number of people working to help programs grow in high poverty neighborhoods that expanded the network of adults helping kids move through school and into jobs and careers. This page shows projects that have been done.

Yesterday I was encouraged by people I'd met via the Making Learning Connected MOOC (#CLMOOC), to view a TED talk by Bret Victor, a technology visionary who has helped develop some of the tools we use today. I was awed by the work he has done and his vision of the future. Below is a video from his bio page, that shows creative ways to represent ideas.

My goal is that youth in k-12 schools, colleges and non-school programs look at the work interns have done with me in the past, and the ideas I keep adding the MappingforJustice blog and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC* blog, then challenge themselves to find new ways to communicate these ideas to the people in their own family/community network. The result will do the following:

a) increase the number of people looking at these ideas;

b) increase the range and number of people giving time, talent and dollars to help high quality, mentor-rich, programs reach youth in under-served areas with supports that help those youth move through school and into 22nd century careers;

c) increase understanding of youth who work on these projects of the infrastructure needed to build and sustain long-term programs, and the ways volunteers, donors, youth and others can proactively support such programs in all parts of a geographic area;

d) expand youth understanding of spatial mapping and dynamic communications tools;

e) expand growth of information-based intermediaries like T/MC in other cities of the world, and apply this problem solving strategy to other social/environmental issues;

f) create a future generation of leaders who use information and networked-learning consistently to innovate solutions to problems and use dynamic communications to share solutions in ways that build and sustain support from a wide sector of people for these solutions.

On this wiki page I describe how this might become a competition that involves a growing number of young people and volunteers.

As more youth become involved in this work, and learn from people like Bret Vector, we'll create a future generation of leaders who apply these tools to visualizing and shaping a brighter future for the world they will inherit.

*The Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC was created in 2011 to continue the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago, while helping similar intermediaries grow in other cities.

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