Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Poverty In America. Why So Much?

In early May I watched a presentation hosted by the Urban Institute, featuring Matt Desmond, author of a new book titled "Poverty in America".  Open this link to view the video of the presentation

In a follow up email the Urban Institute summarized some of the key points of the webinar.  They wrote:

While no one policy is a silver bullet, Desmond suggests keeping these ideas in mind:
Then, on May 21, an opinion article in Politico, by Sheryll Cashin, a law professor at Georgetown University and author of several books on racial justice and American democracy, provided an in-depth analysis in an article titled: America’s Poverty Is Built by Design: How did the U.S. become a land of economic extremes with the rich getting richer while the working poor grind it out? Deliberately.

I added links to Matt Desmond's website to the Tutor/Mentor Library. You can find them here, and here.

I and six other volunteers created Cabrini Connections (a site-based tutor/mentor program) and the Tutor/Mentor Connection in November 1992 following the shooting death of a 7-year old boy, in the Cabrini-Green area of Chicago.  I've used this front-page story from the October 1992 Chicago Sun-Times as a reminder and motivation every year since then.

In the summary above Desmond is quoted as saying "individual actions can built political will for larger changes"

This is not a new problem. However, it's a problem that our leaders can't stay focused on every day, because there are so many other problems.

That's why I think it's important for another level of leaders to emerge, who are totally focused on building a better community understanding, and response, to the problems and solutions.

I've been issuing this invitation for the past 25 years, since we formed Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, in the weeks following the shooting of Dantrell Davis in Chicago back in October 1992. I keep the front page of this Chicago SunTimes story in my office, as a reminder of my responsibility.

I've developed my own actions steps, and posted them on this blog in the past. Here they are again:

If we want to stop this violence, we have to act now, and keep acting to solve this problem for many years. We have to think spatially, that is, look at the entire city and suburban problem, not just one neighborhood. At the same time, we need to act locally, because none of us has the time, or the resources to help each of the kids in the entire Chicago region who live in neighborhoods where poverty is the root cause of the violence.

This animation was done by one of my interns after reading this article.

Here are some ways to remind yourself. Think of ENOUGH, is ENOUGH

E – educate yourself – most of us do not live in high poverty neighborhoods, so we only understand the root causes of senseless shootings from what we read in newspapers. We also only read negative news in the media, so we’re not really well informed on where these events are taking place most frequently. Finally, while there is a perception that there are plenty of youth programs, we really don’t have a good understanding of the distribution of different types of youth programs, to different age groups, in different zip codes. The only way this will change is if each of us pledges to spend one hour a week reading books, articles and web reports, that illustrate the root causes of these shootings, or of poor performance in schools. Through our learning we can draw ideas that we use in our own actions. We can also begin to contribute information that other people use to support their own decision making.

To help with your learning about race, poverty and inequality in America browse the different sections of the Tutor/Mentor library, shown on this concept map

N – engage your network – find ways to draw others who you know into this shared understanding. Recognize people who volunteer time and talent, or who help kids through the programs they operate. If you are a business leader, or a church leader, engage your corporation or your congregation. You can use your web site, advertising, point of purchase materials, etc. to point to web sites that show all of the agencies in the city who do tutoring/mentoring, such as If you do this weekly, year after year, your friends, coworkers and customers will become involved in solving this problem with you.

O – offer help, don’t wait to be asked. As you build your understanding of where poverty is most concentrated, and what social services are in those areas, choose a neighborhood, and reach out with offers of time, as a volunteer, talent, help build a web site, do the accounting, or offer Public relations services, and dollars, if the web site of an organization shows they do good work, you don’t need to ask for a proposal of how they would spend your donation, you need to send them a donation so they can keep doing that good work

U – build a shared understanding. Form groups of peers to share reading and learning assignments, just as you meet every Sunday to read passages of scripture and build the group’s understanding of the Word of God. Use the many different resources of the T/MC Links library as the starting point for your search for wisdom, and understanding.

G – give until it feels good – people who generously donate time and dollars to causes they believe in feel good about their giving. If we’re going to surround kids living in poverty dominated neighborhoods with extra learning and adult mentoring networks, donors will need to give more than random contributions of time, dollars and talent.  

H – form habits of learning, and pass these on to your kids. Imagine how much more successful teachers were if youth came to school every day asking questions about where to find information, or how to understand information they had researched on the Internet the previous day? We can model that habit if we build it into our own activity. Keep a chart where you can document actions you take each week to same sure that this time ENOUGH, really means ENOUGH.

If you document actions, you can review what you’ve done at the end of each month, and each year, and begin to see a growing mountain of actions you have taken to solve this problem. Some of these will be actions that got other people involved, so that the good work you do is multiplying because of the good work others are also doing.

Through this process you help build this shared understanding, which will lead to better public policy. Without this habit of learning, and without learning to use the Internet to find good ideas from people in all parts of the world, we won’t be able to problem solve as well as we need to, and we won’t be able to teach this habit to our kids.

Share this post and the links I point to. Start discussions in your own circles of influence. Be the  YOU in the graphic shown above.

If we do this, we’ll not only reduce the root causes of youth on youth violence, we’ll also address one of the growing issues facing America in a global economy. We will begin to create a nation of learners, problem solvers, creative thinkers and innovators, who use learning and information as the basis of creating opportunity and keeping America great.

Read Leadership ideas here and here

Thanks for reading and sharing this article.

Find me on Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, LinkedIn and Facebook (see links here).

If you want to help support my efforts please visit this page and send a small contribution to help Fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Honoring The Sacrifice - Memorial Day

This weekend we will celebrate Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, in the United States. This holiday (last Monday in May) honors those who have died in the nation's wars. It originated during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. More than a half dozen places have claimed to be the birthplace of the holiday.  (this from article at

I've posted Memorial Day articles often in past years. Open this link and scroll through these. 

For the past few years democracy in America and the world has come under growing attacks from those who would restrict the freedom of many to serve their own self-interests and bigotry. 

In one section of the Tutor/Mentor library I post links to articles about progressive issues and political reform.  One of my Twitter lists includes more than 200 activists who post information daily showing the problems and pointing to solutions. 

As you approach this weekend, and others throughout the year, consider the role you can take, which I visualize in this graphic.

The large circle on the right side of the graphic represents the links I point to in my blog articles,  and from my library, and my social media posts.  

If you read some of these articles, you become more informed.  If you share these with people in your personal, professional and social networks, you encourage others to get more informed.  And as more people understand the issues and ways they can become involved, more will join the battlefield of former warriors who have given their lives to preserve freedom and democracy.

Never forget. We are creating a future for our own children as well as for those we serve in organized youth tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Honor those who gave their lives by what you do to preserve our freedoms into the future. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Learn more about Artificial Intelligence

Since March 2023 I've been participating with a group of educators who are learning about Artificial Intelligence and tools like ChatGPT.  You can browse articles here and hear to see what I've been sharing from this learning journey. 

Today on Twitter I saw a post about AI resources shared by Sheri Edwards, who lives in Washington state, along with a response from Kevin Hodgson, who lives in Massachusetts. 

I followed the link to the article Kevin shared, titled "Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence: The A to Z Guide" and found it to be a really well illustrated, easy-to-understand, guide.  

Another useful resource that Kevin is hosting is this list of ETMOOC2 blogs, which he is sharing on this Wakelet page.

I keep sharing this information with the goal that leaders of youth tutor, mentor and learning programs, as well as classroom educators and public leaders will use these ideas to build and sustain on-going efforts that reach K-12 youth in high poverty areas and help them move through school and into adult lives free of poverty.

Below is a concept map created in the late 2000s that shows a learning goal that I tried to implement in the Chicago program that I was leading and that I encourage others to adopt.

Imagine how the future might differ if all kids in high poverty areas had full access to the Internet and digital learning, and were self-motivated to find articles and videos about Artificial Intelligence and tools like ChatGPT.  Imagine if teachers and mentors were helping them understand how to apply these tools to their learning, their work, and to community problem-solving.

That's a future to wish for.....and to work for. 

Thanks for reading. 

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Mastodon. Let's connect. Let's share ideas like they do in #clmooc and #etmooc2.  

If you can help me pay the bills, please visit this page and send a contribution. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Chicago school closings. 2011 and now

Today I read a WBEZ article titled "Chicago Closed 50 public schools 10 years ago. Did the city keep its promises?"  

Today's article is the first in a 3-part series and includes maps that show a majority of these schools were in areas with high concentrations of Black Chicago residents.

So far,  the answer to the question, is "No. Chicago did not keep it's promises."  I encourage you to read this article and the ones that will follow.

I was curious to see what I wrote about the school closings, back in 2011 when they were happening.  Below I've re-posted an article that I wrote in November 2011.

--- start 2011 article ---- 

Today's Chicago Tribune includes a feature article titled: CPS fails to close performance gap: Black students still losing academic ground despite reforms, study finds

It leads off saying:

Twenty years of reform efforts and programs targeting low-income families in Chicago Public Schools has only widened the performance gap between white and African-American students, a troubling trend at odds with what has occurred nationally.

Across the city, and spanning three eras of CPS leadership, black elementary school students have lost ground to their white, Latino and Asian classmates in testing proficiency in math and reading, according to a recent analysis by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.

It includes a statement saying:

"If school closings destabilized certain neighborhoods, other efforts were ineffective — millions of dollars pumped into countless after-school initiatives and tutoring and mentoring programs geared toward African-American students, only to see math and reading scores languish and many students fall further behind."

I challenge this statement of "countless after-school initiatives and tutoring and mentoring programs".

I've been hosting a database of non-school volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring program serving Chicago and have been using maps to show where these programs are needed, where existing programs are located, and where more dollars are needed to help programs constantly innovate ways to have a greater impact.

I tried to find census maps on the internet today to support this article. Here's one set of maps showing demographic concentrations in the Chicago region. This is from a U.S. Census Grids web site.

Here's a maps showing African American population concentrations in Chicago, created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection in the mid 2000s. On this map we've overlaid locations of poorly performing schools from the 2007 ISBE watch list. From both sets of maps you can see high concentrations of African Americans living in high poverty areas. You can also see a huge number of failing schools.

On this next map you can see locations of different non-school tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago area. You just don't see a large number of programs in many parts of this map. I encourage you to use the Interactive Program Locator (archive since 2018) and create your own map. Sort by type of program and age group served.

When trying to understand this information you need to think in layers. What is the distribution of tutor/mentor programs serving elementary school kids? Middle school? High school? In each neighborhood programs serving all three groups need to be equally available?

If "millions of dollars had been spent on countless non-school tutor/mentor programs" targeted at African American youth, the map should show many more programs in these neighborhoods than we show.

There may be more. This mapping project has never received funding from the city, the schools or major philanthropy. Thus, there may be programs we don't know about and some of our information is out-of-date. Furthermore, there needs to be many more questions asked, to know more about what these programs have in common, how they differ, what they need to find and retain quality staff and financial support, ways they can constantly improve.

The Tribune story offers a generalization that makes one think that millions of dollars were spent on a comprehensive tutoring/mentoring strategy. Millions may have been spent, but there is no evidence that any strategy has been used to assure that Chicago has a broad distribution of well-organized and constantly improving non-school tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods.

This could change if the Mayor, a foundation or an investor were to become a partner and provide financial support to the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC so we can update the maps and launch an aggressive advertising campaign to help existing programs get the funding and talent they need to operate in more places and to constantly improve their impact over the next 10-20 years.

---- end 2011 article ----

If you've read any of the articles I posted before, or after, 2011, I've constantly encouraged leaders to invest in a city-wide network of non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach K-12 youth in every high-poverty neighborhood.

No leader has yet embraced this strategy.  Maybe Chicago's new Mayor will make it part of his strategy, and his legacy.

He won't know about it unless you share this article with him or members of his team.  

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Mastodon (see links here). I hope you'll connect and invite your network to also connect.

If you'd like to help me keep writing articles like this and hosting the Tutor/Mentor Library, please visit this page and make a small contribution.

If you'd like to bring my archives into your university so students can study what I've been sharing and apply it to their own lifetime commitments, I'd really love to talk with you!  

Monday, May 15, 2023

Asking Artificial Intelligence to Predict Different Future

 In my posts over the past couple of months I've pointed to the #ETMOOC2 group which is learning about Artificial Intelligence and tools like ChatGPT.  Members are testing new tools and sharing ideas in a variety of platforms.  One writer that I keep pointing to is Kevin Hodgson, who shares ideas on his blog. Today, in this article, he wrote about a tool called TinyStorie, which can be used to write short children's stories.

Last week, in this article, he wrote about Google's AI platform, called Bard.

Last week on Twitter someone wrote about ChatGPT and I asked, "Has anyone asked ChatGPT to write about what the future would have looked like if Al Gore had been elected President of the U.S. in 2000?"

Image created using Scribble Diffusion

Today, I decided to see how Google's Bard works, and posted a set of questions.  Rather than point you to a Google doc where I've saved the responses I'm posting them below.  If you don't like the questions I asked, or the responses, then post your own questions and share the answers you get!

--- begin Bard questions and responses --- 

I asked Bard to write a story predicting what the world would be like today if Al Gore had won the 2000 US Presidential election.  

 If Al Gore had won the 2000 US Presidential election, the world would be a very different place today. Gore was a strong advocate for environmental protection, and he would have taken a much more aggressive approach to climate change than George W. Bush. He would have also been more likely to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, Gore was a strong supporter of education and healthcare. He would have increased funding for both of these important areas, and he would have made college more affordable for students.

Gore was also a more experienced politician than Bush. He had served as Vice President for eight years, and he had a deep understanding of the issues facing the country.

If Gore had been elected, the United States would have been a more progressive country. We would have been a leader in the fight against climate change, and we would have made significant progress in improving education and healthcare.

Of course, it is impossible to say for sure what would have happened if Gore had won the election. However, it is clear that the world would be a different place today if he had been elected.

Here are some specific examples of how the world might be different today if Al Gore had won the 2000 election:

  • The United States would have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This would have helped to slow the pace of climate change and mitigate its effects.
  • Gore would have been more likely to invest in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. This would have helped to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and make our country more energy independent.
  • Gore would have been more likely to expand access to healthcare. He would have supported the creation of a public option for health insurance and made it easier for people to afford coverage.
  • Gore would have been more likely to invest in education. He would have supported increased funding for public schools and made college more affordable for students.
  • Gore would have been more likely to take a diplomatic approach to foreign policy. He would have been less likely to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and he would have worked to build relationships with other countries.

Overall, the world would be a better place today if Al Gore had won the 2000 election. He was a more experienced and progressive politician than George W. Bush, and he would have made the United States a more just and sustainable country.

I then asked, "How would he have responded differently to the 9/11 terrorist attack? Would he have invaded Iraq? How would the world look now if he had not invaded Iraq?"

Al Gore would have responded differently to the 9/11 terrorist attack than George W. Bush did. He would have focused on building international cooperation to fight terrorism, rather than invading Iraq. He would have also been more likely to invest in homeland security and intelligence gathering.

It is unlikely that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq if he had been president in 2003. He was skeptical of the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and he believed that the invasion would be a costly and unnecessary war.

If Al Gore had not invaded Iraq, the world would be a very different place today. The war in Iraq has been a major source of instability in the Middle East, and it has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The war has also cost the United States trillions of dollars.

Without the war in Iraq, the United States would have been able to focus on other priorities, such as fighting terrorism and improving the economy. The world would also be a safer place, as there would be no ongoing conflict in Iraq.

Here are some specific examples of how the world might be different today if Al Gore had not invaded Iraq:
  • The United States would have been able to focus on other priorities, such as fighting terrorism and improving the economy.
  • The world would be a safer place, as there would be no ongoing conflict in Iraq.
  • The United States would not have spent trillions of dollars on the war.
  • The United States would not have lost the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.
  • The United States would not have damaged its reputation in the world.

Overall, the world would be a better place today if Al Gore had not invaded Iraq. He would have made the United States a safer and more prosperous country.

I then asked, "If Al Gore had been elected president would we have the same level of polarization as we have today? Would Donald Trump have been elected President in 2016?"   

It is impossible to say for sure whether political polarization would be as severe today if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000. However, it is likely that the level of polarization would be lower.

Gore was a more moderate politician than George W. Bush, and he was more likely to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats. He would have also been less likely to engage in the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that has contributed to polarization in recent years.

It is also possible that Donald Trump would not have been elected president in 2016 if Al Gore had been president in 2000. Gore would have been a stronger incumbent, and he would have been more likely to unite the country after the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, it is also possible that polarization would have continued to grow even if Al Gore had been president. The factors that are driving polarization are complex and multifaceted, and they are not easily controlled by any one person.

However, it is clear that Al Gore would have been a different kind of president than George W. Bush. He would have been more moderate, more willing to compromise, and more likely to unite the country. These qualities would have made him a more effective president, and they would have helped to reduce polarization in the United States.

Finally, I asked,  "If Al Gore had been elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2008, would Barack Obama ever have been elected President? Would Joe Biden have been elected vice-president, then President in 2020?"   

It is impossible to say for sure whether Barack Obama would have ever been elected president if Al Gore had been elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2008. However, it is likely that Obama would have faced a much more difficult path to the presidency if Gore had been in office.

Gore was a popular and well-respected politician, and he would have been a strong incumbent. He would have also been able to draw on the support of the Democratic Party establishment. Obama, on the other hand, was a relatively unknown and inexperienced politician. He would have had to overcome a lot of obstacles to win the presidency.

It is also possible that Joe Biden would not have been elected vice president or president if Al Gore had been in office. Biden was a close ally of Gore, and he would have been less likely to run for office if Gore had been president.

Of course, it is also possible that Obama and Biden would have still been elected president and vice president, even if Gore had been in office. The political landscape is complex and unpredictable, and it is impossible to know for sure what would have happened.

However, it is clear that Al Gore would have been a different kind of president than George W. Bush. He would have been more moderate, more willing to compromise, and more likely to unite the country. These qualities would have made him a more effective president, and they would have made it more difficult for Obama and Biden to win the presidency.

---- end Bard questions --- 
What would your questions have been? I asked Bard. How would ChatGPT have answered?  Could this be turned into a short story using an AI tool like TinyStorie?  

One response stood out to me, which was,  "Gore was also a more experienced politician than Bush. He had served as Vice President for eight years, and he had a deep understanding of the issues facing the country."   On a national level this is probably true, but Bush had been Governor of Texas, and his father had been President. His political skills should have been better. 

At the left is a photo of me addressing students and volunteers at one of our year-end graduation ceremonies, for the tutor/mentor program I led from 1975 to 1992. 

We did not have the Internet or Artificial Intelligence then. Desk top computers were just emerging. But I was asking our students and volunteers to imagine all they could do to assure that each student finished high school and went on to college, jobs and careers.  

Imagine if they had been able to use Bard, or ChatGPT to ask "What are all the things we need to know and do to assure that all kids born of living in a high poverty area today were starting a job and career by their mid 20s?"    

That's still a question we need to be asking today.  

Last week on Twitter Kevin Hodgson posted this 
I encourage you to visit the conversation and add your own thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week.  Please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Mastodon (find links here).

If you can spare a dime, visit this page and make a contribution to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and the work I'm doing. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Building and Sustaining Mentor-Rich Support Systems for K-12 Youth

Chicago will have a new mayor in a few days and he has huge challenges facing him.  I think many of those center around how he builds and sustains a mentor-rich support system that reach k-12 kids in every high poverty area of the city and helps more of those kids move safely through school and into adult lives.

I've been sharing strategies for over 25 years, based on my own leadership of a non-school tutor/mentor programs and what I've learned from other programs in Chicago and other places, as well as what I learned in 17 years of retail advertising for the Montgomery Ward Corporation, 4 years as a Loaned Executive with the United Way and 3 years in Army Intelligence. 

Those ideas are on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website and in articles posted on this blog since 2005.  

Below I'm reposting an article from 2016 that I hope you'll read and share with Mayor Johnson, and with leaders in other cities.

----- start 2016 article ----

I've been using graphics like this for more than 20 years to communicate the vision of long-term volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that connect with youth as early as elementary and middle school, then do everything they can to help those kids move through school and toward jobs and careers.  If you do a Google search for "tutor mentor" my sites are frequently in the first five. If you then look at the "images" feature, you'll see dozens of maps and visualizations. You can click on each to find the article where the image was used.

In many of my graphics I combine maps with network-building visualizations. This is one. The circle in the middle represents the knowledge that's available to us through the internet, and through the contacts we make with others. The two images to the left of the circle represent intermediaries, like myself, who collect and share the information, and use blog articles and social media to "nudge" the network. The second image represents people who read these stories, then re-post them to people in their own networks, who then form "learning circles" who read, reflect, discuss, then act.

Sort of what happens in faith groups every Saturday or Sunday, except these groups use maps to focus their attention and resources on neighborhoods where tutor/mentor and learning programs are most needed.

This is the front page of many of the PDF articles I share on  Our learning should be intended to help strong, and constantly improving tutoring, mentoring and learning programs be available in all high poverty neighborhoods. That means we need to influence what resource providers do as well as what program leaders and policy makers do.   In this animation I describe volunteer involvement in a tutor/mentor program as a form of adult "service learning". 

Since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 I've recognized the need to dig deeper into the library of Chicago area youth serving programs that I've been hosting, to learn about their history and infrastructure, so we know more about what it takes to connect youth and volunteers in long-term relationships that transform the lives of both.  This graphic recognizes that much of the work that needs to be done is not visible to someone just spending an hour or two a week as a tutor/mentor, or to someone reading a one page summary included in a grant proposal.

I've never had the staff or finances to dig deeply into this information, thus have reached out to universities and others to share this work, I created the presentation below to show that community information collection is a shared responsibility.

I created another pdf that I titled "Shoppers Guide" to suggest elements that researchers would look for as they studied different youth serving organizations, or that volunteers, parents and/or donors might look for on web sites of youth serving organizations.

There's a lot of information in my blog articles and on my web sites, representing information and ideas collected over the past 40 years.  It's not something that anyone can master in one or two sessions. Yet college degrees are earned over four to eight years of study. And people have been gathering in big and small groups weekly for over two thousand years to understand the scripture collected in the Torah and the Bible.  

When you read a newspaper story, or Tweet that talks about the bad things happening in our world, where do you go to find ideas for making those negatives change into something better? Or do you even try?

Anyone, anywhere, can take this role.

If you have read this far, your next step is to share this, so others read and reflect, then pass the ideas on to others in their own networks. Through this network-building we'll find people with special talents and resources who will help make a greater difference in the world with the ideas we're sharing. 

 --- end 2016 article ---

I started tutoring in 1973 and was matched with a 4th grade boy named Leo Hall.  We've stayed connected for 50 years.  Over the past few years I've broadcast that Leo was in need of a kidney transplant.  I'm thrilled to say he received that last month and now is in full recovery.

I share these posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon (see links here). I hope you'll connect with me and share these ideas with your own networks.

I also hope a few readers will go to this page and make a small contribution to help me continue to do this work.  Thank you.  

Friday, May 05, 2023

Participation in on-line learning groups

Below is a map created to show where participants in the current #ETMOOC2 study of Artificial Intelligence are coming from. View it at this link

I first connected with this group in 2013 and have stayed connected for the past 10 years, via this and another group that uses #clmooc as it's hashtag.  

Below is an article I wrote in 2020, drawing from previous articles written about cMOOCs and on-line learning in the past 10 years. 

--- start 2020 article ----

See article
Last week I used the graphic at the right in an article about systems thinking. After writing it I shared it on Linkedin and so far it's recorded 3593 views and some great comments.

Yesterday I was updating links in my web library and found several that I added in 2013 while I was participating in the Education, Technology MOOC, or #ETMOOC.  Then a couple of hours later I was mentioned in a Tweet by Alan Levine, talking about the 2013 ETMOOC.

This prompted me to do a search for ETMOOC to see what I've posted about it. The first article on the list was from January 22, 2013, titled "Connected Learning. Collective Action".

I going to re-post that article here, with just a few updates and annotations, showing that the vision I had in 2013, and 20 years before that, is still live and kicking during Covid19 in 2020.

---- start of article ----
ETMOOC participants 2013
I’m one of more than 1600 people who have joined the Education Technology Mooc (#ETMOOC) since last Monday. I’ll be participating in the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC this Thursday and Friday where more than 500 people will be connected in the same building and for the same purpose.

This article aims to tie the two events together.

I have participated in several ETMOOC events since last Monday, including a session Sunday morning hosted by Dave Cormier, one of the first people to use the term MOOC. Visit this page to find the recording of Dave’s session, along with additional links to his ideas. (The site I originally pointed to is no longer on-line, but click here to read blogs by Dave, from 2006 till 2020) 

As part of the #ETMOOC, participants have written more than 850 blog articles and posted over 1000 Tweets. Most of these have focused on how MOOCs enable personal learning and introduce members and their ideas to each other. You can follow what you want. You can spend as much time reading blogs and taking part in live sessions as you want. You can share your own ideas and you can interact with others. Each participant controls their own learning experience. You can follow some of the blogs at this link.

This is complex problem
that I've focused on.
I’m interested in going beyond personal learning. My goal is to help build and sustain networks that use their learning, and the network, to innovate new ways to solve complex problems.

The ETMOOC network analysis map shows “who’s involved” based on history of participation. If you’ve followed previous articles on this blog you can see how I’ve been trying to map participation in Tutor/Mentor Conferences, the Ning group, and my Facebook and Linked in groups.

You’ll see how I focus on actions that grow the network, while growing the composition of the network at the same time. If we agree that It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, we need to get the business community strategically involved.

With this post I hope to stimulate a couple of different streams of thought.

1) How do we connect people participating in MOOCs with places where they become volunteers, donors, leaders who work together to solve complex social problems? (I'm still trying to do  this.)

2) How do we know if people from all sectors – e.g. business, philanthropy, government, community, religion, youth, etc. – are participating in our MOOCs or community of practice? (We still don't know, and I can't find many who are trying to find out.)

When I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 I could have just focused on sharing ideas I had developed since 1975 when I first started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago. However, I did something different. I made a commitment to try to collect, organize and share experiences of others involved in this work. My goal was to collect “all that was known” about volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring, where such programs are needed, why they are needed, what it takes for them to have long term impact, how to support them, how to connect business and philanthropy to them, etc. This represents a vast library of knowledge and literally millions of people.

If you read the systems thinking article I wrote last week you can see this same thought. 

I’ve used Concept Maps to diagram my strategies, and the sections of my library. The diagram below shows the research section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection links library.

Open link to see current version of this cMap

If you click on any of the nodes you’ll go to a specific section of the web library which points to a variety of web sites with information related to that topic. Many of the web sites I point to have similar lists of web sites they point to. The collective knowledge that this represents is constantly expanding.

Every conversation uncovers
new ideas.
Every time I’m in a conversation, conference, or MOOC, I add sites I’m interested in to the library, which makes them immediately available to anyone else who visits the site. There’s an entire section of links in the Library to Knowledge Management articles, which is what I’m doing.

2020 --- I've been thinking about how to describe this lately. How many times are you in a conversation and someone says "Do you know about this or that piece of information?" It could be really valuable. Not just to me, but to others. Most of the time you leave the conversation and the information shared is lost. I've made a habit of taking notes, then adding links to what we talked about to the web library, so others could learn from it, too.

I realize I’ll never have “all that is known” but with 2000+ links, the library offers a massive pool of content for that could support a variety of MOOCs (and/or systems thinking projects).

By participating in ETMOOC and events like the Mentor Summit I hope to connect with others who will help with this process. I hope to find partners who will help organize future “tutor/mentor” MOOCs that draw people from the many different sites in my library into an on-line community that offers all of the personal learning and relationship building values that Dave Comier is describing in his presentation.

This is still not happening.

I hope to focus on strategies and actions that make mentor-rich programs available in more of the neighborhoods where they are most needed.

Tutor/Mentor Conference map

As that is happening, network analysis can show who’s participating and geographic maps can show what parts of the geography are represented. Such maps could demonstrate the growth of the network over a period of years, while enabling people from different sections of the library and/or different parts of the country or a big city like Chicago, to connect more easily with each other.
View articles
w this map. 

In one of the ETMOOC blogs I read last week the author told of how he feels others do a much better job of communicating ideas than he does. Then one day someone said “gee that’s really unique”.

I think others can communicate what I’m describing far better than I can. That’s one role interns have been taking. You can see some of their work here.

2020 - As people reach out and ask how can I help I invite them to read my blog articles, then create their own blog, or video, to share their  understanding of what I'm saying. Here's a concept map where I aggregate links to blogs where some people are doing that.

In this 2020 article I encourage students to take on this role, while doing learning from home. Any of the educators who I've met via cMOOCs could engage some of their students in this process, focusing on their own communities, not Chicago (unless they live in this area).

I hope that through the MOOCs and conferences I attend I’ll not only find people who share the same vision and strategy, but who will use their talent to help communicate these ideas in more creative, thoughtful and meaningful ways.

I’ll write more about this tomorrow before I head to the airport. I think this post is long enough already.

----- end rewrite of 2013 article -----

View at this link
Following the ETMOOC in 2013 I joined the CLMOOC and that has continued each year since then.  I've posted 61 articles that point to my participation in the CLMOOC including this article where I show my learning journey.

At the left is the most recent example of how we spark creativity among each other. I had posted an article about network building and Wendy Taleo from Australia included it in a visual poem she was working on with several others. See it here.  I circled where I show up on her journey map.

2020 EndPoverty Summit
in Chicago
At the right is a photo that shows participants at an EndPoverty Summit held in Chicago before Covid19 and hosted by Mayor Lightfoot. I wrote about it here and asked why we can't get non-profit youth program leaders, funders, researchers, volunteers and business partners....and youth/alumni, into on-going cMOOC type on-line conversations.

Covid19 has changed how people connect and communicate. #LearnAtHome and #WorkatHome are now becoming habits. Maybe it's time to make a new push to bring the youth and workforce development ecosystem into more integrated cMOOC-like engagement. 

For that to happen one or more visible leaders needs to step forward and champion the vision. And fund the work.

Today I was one of nearly 100 in a ZOOM meeting led by the Mayor's MyChiMyFuture youth initiative. The Mayor joined in for a few minutes. Maybe someone from that planning team will read this and begin to imagine ways to connect participants in this ecosystem, the same way the ETMOOC and CLMOOC people have been connecting and sharing ideas for many years.

Maybe someone will understand the need to  be mapping participation to show who's there, and who's missing.

---- end 2020 article ----

So far not too many people have added themselves to the #ETMOOC2 participation map.  And I'm not finding a discussion aimed at reaching more people, especially people of color and from under-represented sectors.  Here's the #ETMOOC2 website.  Take a look. There are lots of resources, and many examples of how learning groups can connect and share ideas.

If you're reading this and you want to help, create your own version of my concept maps, PDF essays and blog articles, and share them with your own network, in your own city or country. Maybe you'll be the one that some big shots listen to and provide the funds to do this work.

Connect with me on these social media channels.

If you can, make a contribution to help me pay the bills. Visit this page to use the PayPal button.  

Monday, May 01, 2023

AI tools I'm testing - try them yourself!

For the past few weeks I've been learning about different Artificial Intelligence tools from a group of educators using the hashtag #ETMOOC2.  If you scroll back through my past few articles you'll see what I've been sharing. Or just click the ETMOOC tag and scroll through those articles.  

Below I'm going to share some examples of how I've used AI.

First example is my April-May newsletter I wrote three sections using ChatGPT.  

One was about National Volunteer Week. Another was "steps to start a tutor/mentor program" and another was "information about tutor/mentor programs in Chicago".  Imagine you're a program leader, or a parent, who wants to know what tutor/mentor programs are in her zip code. Just post the question in ChatGPT. The first response might not be what you're looking for. You can keep asking, and keep fine tuning your question.  

It only took me a few minutes to generate the text that I used in the newsletter.

The next tool is one called Whimsical.  Below is a mind map created in just a few minutes. Click here to open and view. 

My Twitter friend Kevin Hodgson shared this short video with me, showing how to use the Artificial Intelligence feature to create a mind-map.  I asked the same question as I posted in the steps to start a tutor/mentor program. 

The AI quickly provided a list of steps, very similar to what is in my newsletter.  These are the first links to the right of the center box on the graphic.   I was able to rearrange the order a bit just by dragging text boxes to where I wanted them in the sequence and then I added some additional nodes to the mind map, which show to the right of the first column. Then I added some links to my website.  It's already something anyone could use if they are looking for ideas about starting a tutor/mentor program, or any kind of non-profit. 

One interesting feature about Whimsical is that in the FREE version I could invite a few other people to join my project, each helping to improve the content.  

Imagine a project team trying to map out a description of a problem and potential solutions. The AI can help you brainstorm and your team can add their thoughts and edit what the AI provided, with a visual record that you can share with others.  

Try it out yourself.  It took me less than 15 minutes to create what I'm sharing.

The next tool is called Scribble Diffusion. Open this link to see the graphic below. 

To create your own, open the home page. You will see an empty box with a space below where you can write a heading for your graphic.  In my first attempt I drew a horizontal "figure 8" which I use often to show information passing back and forth as a volunteer spends time in weekly tutor/mentor sessions.  I did not like the first graphic so tried again and you see the result above.    I used this graphic to add myself to the Padlet map for #ETMOOC2, which shows where participants originate from. 

Below are two more examples from Scribble Diffusion

I wanted to create an image showing a tutor and mentee.  I sketched the graphic at the left and hit "go" and received the picture at the right. I wanted something different so I added a book to my sketch and the result is shown below.

Imagine this as a potential ice breaker or creative activity with the student you're working with. You could each have the application open and each be creating graphics based on prompts you pass back and forth. Or you could be at one computer, each editing the sketch, to generate more and more versions. 

Here's one more AI called "NightCafe".

Sarah Honeychurch, an educator from Scotland shared this with me and others in the ETMOOC2 group.  I created the graphic at the right using the FREE version. Once I logged in I followed the prompts.

 I wanted to see how it would render one of my concept maps, so I pasted the strategy map shown at the left into the prompt box.  I had many choices of how this would be rendered, but my choices gave me the graphic you see above.

You can't really see any details from my concept map, but I think it's a nice piece of art!   Like the other examples shown above, you can play with this as much as you want.  Maybe if you're teaching students to start a company, they could use this to create art for t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.  

These are just a few of the examples I've been seeing. Try it yourself!

Here's the link to the ETMOO2 event. 
Look at the Resources and Community page.  You can follow on Twitter or join the Discord Group.  

Ideas are being shared like "fireworks" bursting in the air. Each one sparks new creativity and new ways people might test these AI tools.

Thank you to everyone who has been sharing these ideas. I'm just scratching the surface of what is possible.  I hope these are interesting to you.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Mastodon. See links on this page

I used one of my "read my blog" graphics to create this graphic, using NightCafe.  Try it yourself?

Want to help me continue to share these ideas.? Visit this page and send a small contribution.

Thank you.