Monday, September 09, 2019

Looking back 21 years - Webheads and Tutor/Mentor Connection

My wife complains that "I never throw anything away."  She's right. I'm a collector. We sold our house this spring and had to down-size. It was terribly painful for me.

This habit is especially true when it comes to the information I've learned from leading a volunteer based tutor/mentor program in Chicago for 35 years and from trying to help fill city neighborhoods with well-organized programs for the past 25 years.

This graphic is one of the first that I created in the early 1990s to show the type of information I was gathering and sharing - initially via print newsletters.  The challenge that I've always had (of many) is finding ways to help other people find and use the information I've been collecting.

It's not a challenge that is unique to myself.

Yesterday I joined in an on-line reunion, celebrating 21 years of a group called Webheads in Action.

Three original Writing for Webheads members, Vance Stevens, Michael Coghlan and Felix Zaniboni, convened in Zoom for a 21 year reunion. It started at 7:AM Chicago time, but late in the evening for the others. I joined in late.

Vance has been the prime mover in this group since it's beginning, so he created a blog article and posted it today, to recap the conversation.  I show the heading below, but am not going to try to recap all of the detailed information that Vance put in the blog, which recapped what was shared in the on-line session. 

Read Vance Stevens' Learning2Gether blog from 9-8-19
I really, really, really hope some of you will open the link and read Vance's article.  Look at how he is pointing to Webheads events from as early as 1998.  He's been generous in using the space to show how I've connected to Webheads since the early 2000s and shows one of the interviews he and I did together.  You can view the video on YouTube.

Innovation, creativity - cMap
What Vance is doing is showing people his collection of Webheads history, and in doing so, he's sharing ideas that I and others contributed during our interactions over the past 21 years.

At the right is a cMap showing one of four sections of the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute web library, which I started putting on-line in 1998. I'd been collecting some of this information as hard-copy publications since the 1970s.

Here's a screenshot of that section of the library.

Collaboration, innovation, knowledge management, mapping - click here
There are 443 links divided into six sub-sections.  Yesterday I finished opening every one of those links, checking to see if they still work, updating broken links and refreshing myself on why I added them to the library in the first place.

As I did this I shared some of the links on Twitter. Here's an example:

If you search @tutormentorteam on Twitter and scroll through my past Tweets you'll find many examples.  If you read Vance's blog, you'll see that he's doing the same thing in the way that he pointed at my Tweet about yesterday's event.

If you look at the graphic at the right, Vance, and myself, are the people in the middle, hosting information libraries and spending time on a regular basis helping other people find and use that information. I've been trying to teach others to take this role for many years.

Below is a cMap that illustrates some success.  I created this a few years ago to point to places where other people were writing about work I'm doing, to help facilitate understanding among a larger network of people.  Vance Stevens is one of the nodes on this map and I added a link to his blog.  Many people who I've met via the #clmooc group are also included, as are interns who worked with me from 2006 to 2015.

Connecting with others - open links on each node 

Many of my blog articles are pointing to the past in an effort to share information people can use to shape a brighter future for kids and families.  If you browse the list of articles in the cMap above (click here) you'll find many that talk about learning, network building, collaboration, etc. Most put the responsibility on the learner to do the walking and to create new content that does the sharing.

Want another example of what I'm talking about and asking you to do?  Take a look at this Tweet.

For the past month or so I've watched a growing number of people take turns sharing the ideas of Andrew Yang on Twitter, using #YangGang as one of their hashtags.  He and his campaign team have created content which they share via books and on his web site, and a growing number of others are creating new content to share these ideas.

Imagine being able to get kids and volunteers from multiple youth programs connected to each other in long-term communities like Webheads.  Then imagine them sharing their stories and talking about what it takes to build and sustain a long-term tutor/mentor program, using the same enthusiasm and frequency that #YangGang members are doing.

Would that result in more well-organized, long-term programs reaching k-16 youth in high poverty areas all over the country - or the world?

That's the goal. If you've read this, write about it. Share it. Create a video.

And, if you're able, send me a contribution, click here, to help me fund this work.  

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