Saturday, May 26, 2018

Networked Creativity Focused on Local-Global Issues

In this article I'm going to write about the Thinglink360 video shown below, created by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts, and more than 20 other people starting in February 2018.

Then I'm going to write about this cMap which I created this week, inspired by the project Kevin is describing.  I hope you'll follow along and see the connection.

See Interns w T/MC cMap at this link. 

I first met Kevin in 2013 as part of the Connected Learning #CLMOOC, and have grown to appreciate and value the ideas he shares on his blog. Thus, I visit often. So in early April I opened this article, which was the first of a three-part reflection under the title of "Creating a Virtual Gallery of Digital Art".

It all started about three months ago (mid February?) when Kevin got an idea. "What if the (open and university) folks dabbling in Networked Narratives (#NetNarr) together created a collaborative piece of trans-media artwork together?"

Kevin brainstormed the idea with a few other on-line friends and soon created this site as an invitation for others to join in the fun. He titled this the NetNarrAlchemyLab.

In his blog Kevin wrote, "Early on, we had a vision of an immersive virtual lab that visitors could wander around in, like a museum."  He went on "We wanted to create a "doorway" in and a "doorway" out.

Over six to eight weeks 20 people from different parts of the world (Australia, Scotland, USA, France, etc) created more than 50 projects. The project began with a group from the #NetNarr ecosystem, but soon spread to folks in the #DS106 and #clmooc groups.  If you open the AchemayLab you can click into each of these projects. 

I encourage you to visit Kevin's blog and read his description of what worked, what did not, and see how he keeps drawing attention to the work he and others have been doing. 

See graphic in this article
As I said, I've been engaging with the #clmooc world for five years and have shared some of these interactions using graphics and concept maps posted in more than 30 articles

I've watched Kevin and many others from several on-line communities connect with each other and amplify the work they are each doing via their own blog articles, Tweets and Facebook posts. The motivations for these interactions are many. For instance, if you visit this #clmooc home page you can see how such interactions have been stimulated in that group.  

As you do you'll see a few examples of where I've tried to draw members into the work I've been doing since 1993, helping non-school tutor/mentor programs reach k-12 youth in high poverty neighborhoods.

I liked Kevin's description of his goal,"to create  an immersive virtual lab that visitors could wander around in, like a museum."  That's the way I think of the web library I've created, and it communicates my own goal that people come in, wander around, do some reading, then share what they see with others.

As I looked at the Thinglink360 I wanted to create something similar to show work interns have done while working with Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC between 2006 and 2015, with the goal that some of these educators would duplicate these intern efforts and for the same purposes.  Since I don't have a paid account with Thinglink (or the talent) I could not do what Kevin did, so I used my free cMapTools account and created the concept map shown above. 

Each graphic on the cMap comes from a project done by one of the many interns who work on the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC project. Below each graphic you can find one or more links that open blog articles and/or videos that show the project, or show how the project was created and how I coached the interns along the way.

As I spent time last week reviewing work interns had done to collect images and links for the cMap I was reminded again of the immense talent of the students who worked with me.  More than half came from South Korea and Hong Kong, while most of the others were from Chicago area universities.

Much of the work being done in these on-line communities focuses on "cultivating connections" and "strengthening networks".  My goal is to draw people from the non-school #tutor #mentor, youth and workforce development and anti-poverty ecosystems together in similar on-line communities...and to connect them with the people and networks I'm already following.

As participation grows I hope to recruit a few people from different places who will spend time building their own understanding of what I've been trying to do. I hope some then begin to duplicate my own 25 year history, by creating libraries of content, and recruiting students from as early as middle school to spend time reading, reflecting, hacking and re-making work that I and my interns have done, to mobilize the time, talent and dollars of more people to help kids born or living in high poverty areas get the extra adult support they need to not only move successfully through school, but to have help moving into adult lives with jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own kids in any place they choose.

In many of the links on the cMap, like this one, I show how interns created their own projects after reading PDF essays, or blog articles, that I've written.   That represents more than 1000 articles, a mountain of content and ideas, that educators and social innovators from all over the world could draw from.

Throughout this and other articles I've included #hashtags with links to Twitter.  If you open these and scroll through past Tweets, you'll open yourself to a wide network of people and ideas.  For instance, here's a Tweet Kevin posted to draw attention to one of the projects in the Alchemy Lab.

In another cMap I've been aggregating links to Twitter conversations I've been following.  My vision is that at some point in the future I could find Tweets within each of these groups, pointing to my articles and work interns have done with me in Chicago, with new visualizations, videos, articles, etc. that apply those concepts in Chicago neighborhoods, or in neighborhoods throughout the world.

Furthermore, while my articles focus on helping kids living in poverty connect with extra adults and learning via organized non-school programs, this graphic visualizes a wide range of complex problems that need to be concurrently addressed in Chicago and throughout the world.

The "how do we do this" needs many people's ideas and what better way to communicate those than through the type of work Kevin is describing and that I've been trying to do.

Finally, if you are re-making and hacking the ideas I share, let me know. In the lower right corner of the intern map, you'll find this map, shown below, which I'm using as another 'museum' that showcases others who are already helping share Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC ideas.

I'm at @tutormentorteam on Twitter and you can find me on Facebook and LinkedIN too, I hope to connect and that you'll share with me some work inspired by what I'm writing about.

Monday, May 21, 2018

View map stories on MappingforJustice blog

Chicago SunTimes - 1994
click here
I started trying to use maps to point resources to places in Chicago with high concentrations of poverty back in 1993.  This story about my leaving my corporate job to lead a tutor/mentor program features one of the maps we had created.

Due to inconsistent funding I've never been able to do everything I've wanted to do with maps, or do it consistently, and with a wide-ranging impact, yet in I continue to advocate for this.

A few highlights were

1994-2002 - publish printed Directory of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs each year

1994-2018  - build a huge library of information that  has been shared on the Internet since 1998

1994-2015 - host Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference every six months.

1995-2003 - host Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment campaign in Aug/Sept to draw volunteers to recruitment fairs in different parts of the Chicago region.

2004 - launch of interactive search feature to help people locate tutor and/or mentor programs in Chicago

2008 - launch of interactive map-based program locator directory

These still are available, but due to lack of tech support and funding they have not been updated since 2013.  I continue to build stories from them and show them as a model of what's possible.  If  you're interested, please contact me.

In late 2007 an anonymous donor gave the Tutor/Mentor Connection $50,000 which we used to hire a part time GIS expert who from 2008 through early 2011 created maps and map-stories that you can find on the MappingforJustice blog.

I've not had funds since then for a map-maker on my team, but have continued to post articles on the MappingforJustice blog that show maps and data-platforms hosted by others. 

Below you can see a concept map that highlights some of what you'll find if  you browse articles posted over the past six years.

Data platforms - click here

If you browse the map stories and resources on the blog and in this concept map you'll see sophisticated uses of maps, and resources that you can use to create your own map stories.

However, what you don't yet find in many places is an on-going effort by platform hosts and/or community leaders to draw resource providers to the map, and then directly to organizations doing work to change the conditions that the maps highlight.

In my case, the goal has been to draw volunteers and donors directly to this list of Chicago area non-school tutor and/or mentor programs and to help new programs form in under-served areas.  This wiki page illustrates this goal. It shows a mapping platform that is still on the drawing board, but has not yet been created.

Read other articles on this blog, the MappingforJustice blog, or on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site and learn more about this and the challenges that have been involved.

If you've read this article, the one take-away that I hope you'll remember, is that the map in the graphic above could be of any city in the world, or of a rural county or Native American reservation where people need help to overcome a wide range of challenges.

If your business, university and/or non-profit would like to partner with me and help update my mapping capacities, with the goal that you would use the tools and strategies in your own community, please introduce yourself to me via one of these social media sites

Friday, May 18, 2018

School Shooting Outrage - Is it greater because White kids are dying?

There was another school shooting today, this time at SantaFe High School in Texas. It's a tragedy and unless there is a massive voter turn-out in the November 2018 elections, then in following elections, to replace gun supporting legislators at the state and national level, nothing will be done.

Below is one of the Tweets that I've seen, demanding action on this.

This is signed by the Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health.  As I read it a question crept into my mind?  Most of the victims of the school shootings have been White kids. Is this now getting the attention it is getting because of that?

This was the front page of the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes, following the killing of a 7-year old African American boy in Cabrini-Green.  The editorial writer says "It's everyone's responsibility" to keep this from happening.

I've a thick stack of news clippings from the past 26 years showing similar shootings taking the lives of Black and Brown Chicago kids on a regular basis.  While occasionally the editorial writers make this an issue, such as right now is happening with the 31 bullets campaign on the Chicago SunTimes web site, too few people have responded in ways that would change what's been happening mostly to poor kids.

I've been pleased to see that the Parkland High School students who lead the #MarchforourLives movement have been intentional in reaching out to urban youth and people of color to try to focus on the gun violence happening every day in big cities, and have encouraged a look at the root causes of these problems.  However, I don't see that on the policy goals on the MarchforourLives web site.

While many have been quick to applaud the rising youth leadership following the Parkland shooting, gun reform in America is a long battle against a deeply entrenched foe.  Addressing some of the root causes of urban violence, school shootings, suicide and domestic abuse, is an even bigger challenge.

With that in mind, I encourage organizers to read this 1980s article about 8 Stages of Movement Building by Bill Moyers.  His lessons apply to 2018 movement-building as much as they did 40 years ago.

I strongly support the first policy initiative on the #MarchforOurLives web site, which is "Fund gun violence research and gun violence prevention/intervention programs."  That covers a lot of bases, including the gun violence in our cities, the shootings in our schools, and the massive number of people killed via domestic violence or who take their own lives through suicide.

With school shootings becoming an almost weekly event, is this now a broad enough issue that the costs of doing nothing are now rising high enough that a majority of the people in the USA, White, Brown, Black and other hues of skin tone, will have an urgency for finding a solution?

Or, will we be looking at headlines like my 1992 Chicago SunTimes story twenty-five years from now?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

School year ending. Learning continues.

View Library cMap
While this school year is ending the next starts in a few short months. In the time in-between I encourage youth, volunteers, leaders, donors and staff of  youth tutor, mentor and learning programs to spend time daily digging through the four sections of the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC web library for ideas that you can apply in the coming year.

The library has many sub sections and if you're making your first visit, I encourage you to open and close each section, just to see what's there, just as you would if you were visiting a new shopping mall and looking to see what each store offers. Here's a set of blog articles that include guides to the entire library.

Homework Help cMap
One sub section is full of homework help and learning resources. This cMap is a blueprint of what's in this section of the library. If volunteers, staff and students spend time during the summer months learning what's in the library, they will be better prepared to use the information in coming school years.

Below is a video that I made to walk you through the homework help section.

While this section of the library focuses on academic learning resources for k-12 students, the majority of the web library is intended for adult learning, sharing articles, research, "how to" tips and similar information that people can use to build and sustain well-organized non-school tutor, mentor learning programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other places.

In addition, articles focus on innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, philanthropy and business involvement, pointing to a wide range of challenges that need to be overcome if youth in high poverty areas are going to be more successful moving safely through school and into adult lives, with jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own children in any place the choose.

I add new links to the library weekly. Look at the video to see where you can find what's been added recently. As you find interesting resources use your own blog, social media, web site and other communications channels to share this with people in your own network.  I'm on Twitter at TutorMentorTeam and look forward to seeing your posts.

If you find broken links please send me a message, using this contact us form. If you want to recommend a link...related to the mission of the library, please send that to me, too.

I use graphics like this to emphasize that it takes 12 years to move from first grade through 12th grade and many more years to move securely into a job and career.

That means that the information I'm sharing needs to be used by many people, for many years.  We've much work still to do!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Helping K-12 Youth in Poverty Areas - Address the Fund Raising Challenges

View in this article
This is one of many graphics I've used to visualize a need to have a wide range of youth support programs available to K-12 youth in every high poverty area of the Chicago region and other places.

I've been writing articles and sharing graphics like this for nearly 20 years, but as just one voice, I don't have enough impact to influence the massive changes that are needed in how such programs are organized, designed and supported.

View in this article
At the right is another graphic that I use to emphasize the need for continuous flows of flexible operating dollars to youth programs in every high poverty neighborhood.

Thus, I was pleased in the past couple of weeks to find funder networks talking about this.

I wrote about the Grant Makers for Effective Organization conference in this post.  If you search #2018GEO on Twitter,  you can review Tweets from the past couple of weeks and capture much of the information shared at this event.

Read about Annotation
Then this week I found this article published by Open Impact, titled, "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption"

I read the article and saw many ideas which I've been trying to implement via the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC since 1993. So I decided to put it on and re-read it, highlighting relevant parts, and writing comments in the margin that show my own efforts.

In the paper's introduction the writers say "we hope this paper will spark and important conversation". I agree. 

In my comments I suggest that philanthropy would dramatically change if donors were shoppers and if non-profits and social change organizations would put enough information on their web sites for donors, volunteers and clients to make better choices of who they support, and in what ways.  I also emphasize the use of maps to support a better distribution of resources to all high poverty areas of the Chicago region and other places where help is most needed.

Thus, I invite you to read "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption" with three purposes:

1) build a deeper understanding of what I've been trying to do, and to find reasons to support my efforts and help carry them into the future;

2) build a deeper understanding of the challenges facing all social benefit organizations, in the US and the world, and a commitment to draw others into this conversation; and

3) see how on-line annotation works and build a commitment to launch other articles and invite more readers and learners to join in.

I look forward to meeting you in the margins.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

#OnTheTable2018 on Twitter, and LinkedIN, too.

Reasons to Engage - see map
Yesterday many thousands of Chicago area residents gathered in a variety of locations to talk about ways to make Chicago a better place for everyone to live, work and raise their kids.

I followed #0nTheTable2018 on Twitter and saw more than 700 Tweets. In the article I posted yesterday, I showed a few of those, plus Tweets I'd posted.

Here's an example:

Connecting people and ideas. - read
I created this visualization in the 1990s. The circles represent discussion groups, as well as information resources that can support those groups and actions that aim to fill Chicago high poverty areas with needed non-school tutor, mentor, learning and youth development activities.   You can find many graphics like this, and maps, embedded in articles I've been writing since 2005.

Today I spent some time looking at #0ntheTable2018 posts on Linkedin.  There are dozens and many seem to be from groups that I did not see on Twitter.  Here's a link to one post.

I also followed this on Facebook, but I think Twitter and Linkedin offer greater opportunities to jump into the conversations and attempt to build relationships with participants.

My goal is that the issues raised, turn to planning, then actions, which are reported in each annual #onthetable event as they mature into programs and services that make a difference in the lives of people throughout the Chicago region.

That was my message in this Twitter post:

Finding time to skim through these Tweets, Linkedin and Facebook posts is one of the huge challenges we face. I look forward to seeing posts and articles that show how you're doing that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

#OnTheTable2018 today in Chicago region

This is a graphic I use in PDF presentations like this to show people from different sectors connecting with each other in face-to-face meetings and on-line. That's happening in many places throughout Chicagoland today as part of the annual #OnTheTable2018 event, hosted by the Chicago Community Trust.

I've written articles in past years about this event. They are still relevant. Take a look.

I was not able to find an event to attend this morning, and am going to the 300th session of #ChiHackNight this evening, so I decided to participate by using Twitter, and my blog, to amplify some of what's happening today. Here are some of my Tweets and Re-Tweets.

There's a lot going on throughout the Chicago region.  If you search #OnTheTable2018 on Twitter you can scroll through the messages posted and see some of what is happening and hopefully connect with people talking about issues  you care about.

You can also search Facebook to find #OnTheTable2018 posts and conversations.  I'm sure you can also find images and conversations on other social media platforms. If you know of some good ones, why not post a link in the comment section below, or on Twitter or Facebook.

Here's one more Tweet that shows what I hope will be on-going conversations that are re-energized in coming years.

The problems and opportunities of Chicago and other places are complex and require long term investments of time, talent and dollars by many people and organizations, from the non profit sector, public sector, business and other sectors.

I hope you find the ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site to be valuable resources. I'd be happy to spend time with you to help you learn what's available.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Sharing Tutor/Mentor Graphics on Twitter

Last week I posted some Tweets in this article, which I had launched into the #2018Geo conference.   I decided that today I'd do a bit more. If you search Twitter for the combination #learning #tutor #mentor, below are some of  my Tweets that you'll find.

Here's just one more. You can do a Twitter search using any of the words in this tag cloud, along with #tutor #mentor, and find ideas I've posted.

Share these with friends, co-workers and others who are concerned with the well-being of youth born and living in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places of the USA and the world.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference in San Francisco

People talking about
helping others.
There's a big conference of grant makers taking place in San Francisco this week, organized by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.  I attended on Monday, via my PC, watching the live session on Monday, and planning to watch again today or tomorrow, from this Facebook page.

Here's a blog article by Kathy Reich, vice chair of the GEOFunders board of directors.
One of the accomplishments that she pointed out was 
Thanks in part to GEO’s tireless efforts, practices that once were outside the mainstream of organized philanthropy — general operating support, evaluation for improvement, funder collaboration, use of grantee feedback, and investments in nonprofit capacity building — are now widely recognized as essential in our field.

As I listened I also shared ideas from my library on Twitter and used #2018GEO hashtag to connect with others. You can also use this at a later date to go back and review all the Tweets shared during and after the event. 

I've posted a few of my Tweets below.

I've been building and sharing a directory of Chicago area non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993,
in an effort to help each get a more consistent flow of needed operating resources and ideas. The graphic below shows two lists that I maintain on Facebook, showing programs, and showing intermediaries, like Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, who also need consistent, on-going support.

I also plot locations on maps and maintain a list of programs in the web library that I've been building as an information resource since the mid 1990s.

What's frustrating to me now, and for the past 25 years, is how few of the organizations I'm trying to help spend time helping me gather and keep this information updated, or help me share it in ways that attract more attention, volunteers and donors to their own program, and to other programs in Chicago and in other cities.

One leader told me in the 1990s, "I love what you're trying to do, but until I get my own house in order, I can't help you.".  What that meant to me was, he'd never be able to help, because most non-profits can't influence the type of donors giving habits that big organizations like GEO Funders is trying to do.

I wrote about this a few years ago in this "Can't Drain the Swamp" article. I've focused on trying to increase operating funds for tutor/mentor programs as a strategy to create more time and motivation for various organizations to work together to help every high poverty neighborhood have a full range of well-organized, mentor-rich programs.

While social media offers opportunities to easily connect, share ideas, and interact, only a few organizations actively use Twitter, which I feel is the best platform for connecting with others. A few more use Facebook, but mostly as a bulletin board for their own organization. I don't find a conversation of "What works, what could work better, where are programs most needed, how can we work together to overcome challenges that we can't solve by ourselves?"

Here's another Tweet that I posted recently:

While the conference center for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is filled this week, what will bring these grant makers and youth program leaders, as well as other nonprofits needed in high poverty areas, into on-going conversations that lead to stronger, on-going organizations in more places?

A starting point might be to connect on Twitter. I'm @tutormentorteam

Is there someone who could represent your organization, or your foundation, in this conversation?