Sunday, January 22, 2023

Learning from Internet Libraries

In different parts of the country local and state government are beginning to restrict what can be taught in schools and what books can be included in libraries.  This is a terrible trend.  It's also useless...if parents, mentors, tutors and educators are helping youth learn to use Internet libraries on a regular basis.

I led a tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011.  In the 1980s volunteers set up our first computer lab. In the late1990s volunteers from Microsoft set up a computer lab when we moved to a new location on Huron Street in Chicago.

In the 1980s we did not know about the Internet.  It the late 1990s we were just beginning to learn about the Internet. I was an early adopter, spending many hours connecting with people from around the world via list serves hosted by the Mott Foundation, Digital Divide Network and a distance learning group in Australia.

Thus in the mid 2000s I created this concept map to show my vision of teaching students and volunteers (and donors) to use our websites to get and give information and to connect with each other. 

Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection, formed in 1993, I had been building an on-line library of reading materials since the late 1990s. By the late 2000s we had more than 1500 links.  One section focused on Black History and another focused on race and poverty.  

Above is a screenshot showing a few of the articles in the Black History section.  I keep adding to this all the time. For instance, today I added a site called "AntiRacist APUSH", which is a curriculum for teaching antiracist history.  

The big challenge in the  mid 2000s and today is teaching students and adults that these libraries exist and motivating them to spend time visiting and learning what they include...then digging deeper in an on-going personal learning journey, that can be self-guided, or facilitated by peers or adult mentors and tutors. 

Here's what we tried in 2008-09. 

Visit this blog and read about the "Cool Cash" program. See its rules and how our technology coordinator launched a learning quest each week with his blog article, then shared comments students had posted in our on-line Student-Volunteer History & Tracking (SVHATS) system (no longer available). 

Unfortunately we were not able to continue this program after 2009 since the financial crisis cut our funding and led to staff reductions and ultimately to me leaving the program in mid 2011.  Leaders who followed me did not have the same vision or commitment.

Yet, the need to inspire students to build on-line learning habits is more crucial today than in the past.  

Below is how an educator from Massachusetts, Kevin Hodgson, is motivating his students into on-line learning.

Visit Kevin's blog and view this video.  See how he has embedded video clips in each of the boxes on this graphic.  Scroll through past articles and look at all the ideas Kevin shares.  

While our Cool Cash program only lasted two years, the Tutor/Mentor Connection part of our organization hosted a parallel learning journey for interns who joined us between 2005 and 2015. 

The concept map below highlights some of the projects created by interns as they spent time learning about the goals and strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (led by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since 2011)

Browse through the Intern blog, started in 2006, and see all the ways students from various colleges and universities did learning, then shared what they learned.  

Projects like this can be created by educators, parents, students, volunteers in tutor/mentor programs, from any place, to help students develop their own Personal Learning Network (PLN).  If you're not familiar with this term here's one article you might read.  It's a link in this section of the Tutor/Mentor library. 

I used the word ENOUGH in the mid 2000s to urge people to develop their own personal learning strategy to learn more about problems we face, and ways some people are solving them, to help innovate solutions they could apply in their own lives and communities.

You can see this in this article

It's never to late to start learning or to start helping young people develop Internet learning habits.  As we head into February Black History Month, use the links in my library to expand your knowledge of American History.

Thank you for reading.  Please share these posts and connect with me on one of these social media platforms.

If you can spare a dime, consider a contribution to the Fund T/MI campaign and help me continue this work in 2023. 


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