Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Building Tutor/Mentor Network in Virtual Space

I started hosting Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in Chicago in May, 1994, as part of a strategy intended to draw area volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs and supporters together to learn from each other and as part of a strategy to increase public awareness of tutor/mentor programs all over the Chicago region, so that more would have the talent and dollars needed to sustain their work and constantly improve.

I started connecting with other people beyond Chicago via letters, telephone, and the traditional media during the 1980s and by email and on-line list serves in the 1990s.  I launched the first Tutor/Mentor Connection web site and library in 1998 and have grown my connections and commitments to on-line learning, network-building, mapping and collaboration, every year since then...even though many of the people who have the money to fund my work are not yet using the Internet the same way.

I've been participating in cMOOCs that connect people and ideas in on-line, open and on-going efforts since the late 2000s. I joined a "connected learning MOOC" (#clmooc) in 2013 which encourages participants to learn new ideas and share what they are learning on blogs, and different social media platforms.

Last year, as a result of participating in this type of learning for several years, I posted a conference history story map on the Tutor/Mentor Exchange site after seeing a similar map done by someone else.

Click here to see my version.

I shared this link with #clmooc friends via Twitter and Terry Elliott, who I've written about before (see story), put my presentation on YouTube and added music to it. You can see it below.

Every time I or someone else posts an article related to the mission of the  Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, my hope is that others will do what Terry did, and what student interns have done often between 2006 and 2015, and create their own versions and interpretations, which they share with their own network.

I've put together a concept map that aggregates links to blogs of Terry and others who are helping amplify and shape the ideas I've been sharing.  I'd like to be adding others. Just send me a link to any stories you create.

While I've not had the funds to host a Tutor/Mentor Conference since 2015, I'm still connecting people and ideas to help youth tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

This graphic illustrates what the Tutor/Mentor Conferences were trying to do. The goal was to bring together people from different sectors who would talk about ways to build and sustain mentor-rich non-school programs in more of the places they are most needed, using GIS maps as sources of information.

In reality a formal conference is not the best place to do this. You only talk to a few of the people who attended, or attend a few of the workshops offered. After the event there is little interaction between those who attended, and those who did not attend. People who can't afford fees and/or travel expenses don't attend. We need a better way to do this, and I've believed for more than a decade that on-line interaction is that better way.

I've been writing about network building, network mapping, collaboration and learning since I started this blog in 2005. I hope you'll read some of the articles posted in past years and share them with people you know.  The video below shows how one of my interns from South Korea shared work done by previous interns. That's what I have in mind.

As you enjoy your holiday weekend, I hope you'll take some time to read this and view the video. Everyone has the power to help change the world. It starts with how you learn, and how you share what you are learning.

Go forth and multiply.

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