Monday, June 27, 2022

On-Line Opens 4th Timeframe to Connect with Youth

I saw this Tweet today, posted by Julia Freeland Fisher of the Christensen Institute.  It focuses on the opportunities to expand social networks offered by emerging education technologies. I encourage you to click through and read the article.

Maximizing on-line connections has been a passion of mine since going on-line in the late 1990s.  Here's a page where I posted e-learning goals for the ecosystem of people trying to help kids in poverty move through school and into adult lives. 

However, most of my focus has been to maximize face-to-face connections between youth in poverty and volunteers who they meet via organized, non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Below are three graphics that I've used for more than 20 years to show ways to increase face-to-face student support. 

The first shows three time frames in which kids need learning opportunities. The third time frame, after 5PM, evenings and weekends is when business volunteers are more available and more likely to make weekly commitments that last for many years. This does not mean that business volunteers and donations are not needed at schools and Boys & Girls Clubs during the school day, and right after school during the 3pm to 5:30 pm time frame.

This second graphic shows the same three timeframes, but on a chart that reinforces the need for learning supports and mentoring, starting in preschool and elementary school and staying connected to kids all the way through high school and college and into careers. In this graphic, parents, teachers, social workers, mentors, are all PUSHING kids to make good decisions that we know will help make their lives better. What we need is the partnership of businesses and universities who will use their resources (people, jobs, learning, dollars, technology, facilities) to PULL kids through school and into careers. When there are thinking teams in each industry, and in colleges, brainstorming ways to influence the decisions kids make, and the way the resources of the business and university are used to connect kids with non-school learning programs, there will be more leadership, and more good ideas, being circulated in more places.

The third is a map of Chicago. 

Generals use maps to position troops and supplies in their efforts to win wars. If leaders in business, philanthropy, government, entertainment, etc. learn to use maps like these, to focus resources and strategies in all of the high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities, so that a wide variety of constantly improving, mentor rich, volunteer-based programs grow AT THE SAME TIME, in all of these places, then they can mobilize resources from businesses, hospitals, universities, faith groups, etc. and point them to places where they are needed.

Finally, we don't need to reinvent the wheel. We don't need to build a new government in Iraq or Afghanistan, or any place else in the world. We need to help existing programs already operating in Chicago and other cities get the resources, ideas, volunteers, leaders, dollars they each need on a continuous basis to operate in one or more of these places, building and sustaining connections with kids and volunteers, and each other, that build quality and impact at the same time as the PUSH kids through school and PULL them toward careers.

Every city needs a Program Locator database (this was created in 2004 and rebuilt in 2008, but has been an archive since 2018) to help volunteers and donors locate existing tutor/mentor programs and to help Generals understand the existing deployment of troops, and where reinforcements are needed. See my current map and list of programs in this article.

If our leaders borrow some of these ideas instead of creating brand new ideas of their own, maybe they can make some progress over the next 8 to 12 years of winning this war.

Emerging technologies offer many new opportunities to connect learners with information and ideas and with places where these ideas need funding in order to be effectively implemented.

On-line spaces like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other are places where anyone can be the YOU in this graphic, urging people they know to visit on-line libraries and then connect and talk about ways to use these ideas to create a brighter future.

Along the left side of this blog are tags to maps, strategies, articles, and links that we hope the staff of these new generals will read and use as ammunition for the upcoming battles.

I now lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection (created in 1993) via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (created in 2011).  I'd be happy to serve as mentors to these leaders or to anyone else who wants to become more strategic in mobilizing and sustaining resources to help kids through school and into careers.

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