learning (13)

 In the early 1990s I became aware of something called Group Systems, which was a meeting facilitation aid, where everyone used computers to brainstorm ideas, then to organize and vote on them.  In this Feb 2020 blog article I include a quote from a 2000 article about group systems. 

Much has changed since the 1990s. Today I participated in a webinar focused on technology and broadband access,  hosted by the Arizona Future of Tech Commission. They pointed people to a Jam Board where ideas were collected.   

Imagine if we'd had this available to us in the middle 2000s as we were bringing people together for face-to-face Tutor/Mentor Conferences in Chicago and building participation on this forum.  


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Think of idea sharing as exploding fireworks

12637706258?profile=originalI started this forum in 2007 when platforms like Ning were a new way to meet, connect and share ideas.  While a few people still join every year the forum has not been very active for a few years.

However, I still use it to archive work done in the past and to maintain connections for those who did join.

I created this graphic recently to show how an idea I or others launch with a post, like this one, explodes into a network of people who we know, or who are also part of the forum.

What you do to share this post in your own networks is similar to how new explosions of fire works emerge from the initial bomb bust, one after another.  In network building these represent an idea being blasted into larger and larger networks of people.  

I used this graphic in this article. Take a look and share it with others.

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Archive of Twitter posts using Wakelet

12637705895?profile=original I post messages daily intended to draw visitors to my blogs and use hashtags like #tutor #mentor #learning to narrow the focus.

This week I learned about Wakelet which is a platform to archive and share collections of Tweets, based on specific #hashtags.

This graphic shows five collections on my page that I created in just a few minutes. 

See this in this blog article.

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12637703889?profile=originalI've hosted this Ning site since 2007 with the goal that teams from colleges, faith groups, businesses, etc. in Chicago and other cities would use the information and ideas to build strategies that make mentor-rich youth programs available in all  high poverty neighborhoods, and help each get the on-going flow of talent and operating dollars needed to constantly move from good, then to great, at helping kids move safely through school and into jobs.

I've used concept maps to provide a guide to all of this information, including the one shown on this graphic (see here) . This is a "Learning Path" that can guide learners through the basic information on the various web sites in some sort of sequence.  In 2015, an intern from South Korea, via IIT, converted this into a Prezi, with an English language narration, then a Korean language narration. After that she converted the Prezi to a YouTube video, which you can see here.

This illustrates roles students from many cities and countries can take. As they do their own learning, they share what they are learning via visualizations and blog articles they create and present to adults and other students, thus enlarging the community of people understanding and applying this information.

There's no fee to engage your students in this process. You're invited to join this group, or start a new group, where I can coach students from my base in Chicago.   I'm available to connect on Skype or come speak to your students, for a fee that would include costs involved.  I hope to see groups from many places creating these presentations in the future.

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Since the mid 1990s I've tried to visualize my ideas and strategies using PowerPoint and other drawing tools. I've been uploading these to slide share and other platforms for past few years. Here's one example.

Problem-Solving Strategy-Explanation and Overview by Daniel F. Bassill

View these to expand your own understanding and use these in group meetings to help others understand these ideas and innovate ways to apply them in your own community, or support my own efforts here in Chicago.
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I've been reading Curt Bonk's book titled the World is Open and have put in dozens of sticky notes on pages with links to on-line learning resources that he mentions.  I intended to go back and find these, one at a time, and add them to my own library on the Tutor/Mentor Connection site.

However, Curt's already done much of the work of building a list of resources. Visit this page and this page and you'll find resources that anyone can  use in their own teaching, mentoring, parenting and learning.

If you visit this page and begin to use some of the resources please post a comment to this blog sharing what you looked at and how you used it. Bonk's book focuses on "sharing" via the Internet. We can put the spirit of the book to work in our own efforts if many of those on the Tutor/Mentor Connection will share ways they are using the information he is sharing.

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Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2015

I hope all who visit this forum or who have joined it since 2007 will enjoy this holiday season and have peace, happiness, health and prosperity in 2015.


While there's not a lot of activity on this site, I keep adding new blog articles to the tutor/mentor blog and mapping for justice blog. The other blogs I point to on the home page are also updated often, so consider this site an entry point into a wider network of ideas.  

The goal of this forum remains the same as when it was launched. To collect and share ideas and information that anyone can use to build volunteer based tutoring, mentoring, arts, technology and learning programs that help youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods move through school and into adult jobs and careers.

I find few support systems that are collecting the type of information I collect, and who also take action daily to draw people to the information, and to draw people directly to youth organizations in the Chicago region who require a consistent flow of dollars, volunteers, talent, technology and ideas to build and sustain life-changing relationships with youth and volunteers. 

To my friends in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. I encourage you to draw from this site, and to duplicate what I'm doing.  The causes of poverty, the challenges NGOs face, and the solutions that are working in your country are different than what's happening in Chicago.  The map of  your city/country is different. The organizations already working with youth is different. Thus, you need to build your own web library.  

However, the challenges of getting large numbers of people to look at this information, understand it, then act consistently to support youth serving organizations throughout a geographic area are similar. Thus the ideas I share can be used to support this network-building effort, as can the ideas you share.

Hopefully 2015 will bring us a beneficiary who will provide needed financial support to this effort in addition to helping me find and train younger leaders to carry the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC forward in future years.

With your, help, God's help, and good luck, this can happen.

Thank you for visiting.

Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L.
Tutor/Mentor Connection - http://www.tutormentorconnection.org
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC - http://www.tutormentorexchange.net

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This graphic is what you see when you visit the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library, which I've been building for more than 20 years (and on the Internet since 1998).  


The library is organized into categories, just like any other library. You can find research showing where and why volunteer based tutor/mentor programs are needed. You can find information to support organization and fund development. You can find training for volunteers as well as strategies for volunteer recruitment.  You can find dozens of blogs focusing on learning, collaboration, network building, etc. 

When you visit the site, click on any of the 8 boxes and the library will feature links for that category. It will also show sub categories within each major section.

There are 26 categories in the library, so the graphics only point to 8 of them. You'll need to browse the listings below to know what other categories are available.

While some of this information focuses on Chicago, most of it can be used by anyone in the US to help build mentor-rich learning supports for youth in different places.   The ideas on process improvement, collaboration, innovation and learning can be used in any part of the world, not just the US.

Thus, if you're building your own web library, with information specific to your community, a link to the Tutor/Mentor Connection library gives your site visitors access to all of the links I've aggregated, without you needing to do that work.


What's really needed, are people who spend time building their own  understanding of information in this web library, and on forums like this,  then reach out to people they know to help them find and use the information in their own actions that support youth in one, or many, places.

As you browse the web library and find links of interest, I encourage you to write about what you find.  Here's a blogarticle written by Mark Carter, a consultant in Chicago, telling his readers about an article found in another section of the web libraries I host.   

You can use your own blog on this forum to write similar articles, or any other blog you may host, to write similar articles. If more people take this role, they help others find and use the information, and this helps bring more support to tutor/mentor programs in  youth in Chicago and throughout the world.

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As we enter 2011 the economy is still a mess and the competition for resources to fund non profits continues to grow. Thus, we need to be more creative, think smarter, and keep learning from the wisdom of others.

This article is one that I encourage you all to read. It talks about how your Twitter, email, or Facebook post can generate more response if it can connect emotionally with the reader.

I'm not smart enough to figure out all the different ways to make our messages appeal in this way to all of the various people we're trying to reach, but the collective talent of the people who are members of this Ning group, and the people they know, could innovate messages and delivery systems that over the course of a year might dramatically increase the number of people who visit this site, then become a volunteer or donor at one of the organizations represented by members.

Thanks the goal. We all win with each victory that one of use is able to achieve.12637697083?profile=original

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I created this graphic last week to illustrate the progression of thinking that I've followed for the past 20 years.

I know from my own experiences and those of others, and from much reading, that connecting youth with caring adults can have a positive impact.

I also know that building and sustaining these adult-youth connections in high poverty neighborhoods is very difficult without some organizational structure to enable youth and adults to meet in safe places and without supportive mentor-leaders in place to support weekly interactions. Thus, finding the existing volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in any city, and finding ways to help them get the ideas, talent, resources, volunteers needed to operate and constantly improve would seem to be a good idea.

Once we agree that organized programs are a good idea, then if we plot locations of existing programs on a map showing poverty and other indicators of youth needing extra adult support, we can quickly identify neighborhoods with few or no programs.  It would seem that leaders in business, media, politics, philanthropy and other sectors would want to work together to help existing programs grow and to help new programs grow in areas that are without programs.

Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) which I started in 1993, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which I formed in 2011, I'm trying to support all three levels of this thinking.   Browse the articles I've posted here, here, and here and in my blog to learn more about this thinking and to find ideas that you can apply to support these ideas in your own community.

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12637695476?profile=originalThis article quotes Malcolm Gladwell saying "if you want to shine, put in 10,000 hours".

It  goes on to say "The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade mastering their chosen field."


The map at the right shows nearly 180 locations where great leaders are needed to operate volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that are constantly improving their ability to transform the lives of youth and adults.


How many of the leaders and key staff or board members have 10,000 hours of experience learning to lead a tutor/mentor program? 


Our maps show that there are many neighborhoods and zip codes in Chicago and the suburbs with no tutor/mentor programs. How many more are needed? How many more leaders are needed?  How many incorporate the "mentoring to careers" vision of the Tutor/Mentor Connection?  In the 25 cities of the US with youth populations of 100,000 or more, 12637695478?profile=originalhow many more tutor/mentor programs and experienced leaders are needed?


The chart at the right illustrates the K-16 path  young people take to finish school and begin jobs and careers.  What will it take to convince industry, philanthropic and government policy makers that we need systems of leadership development that begin to prepare people to lead tutor/mentor programs in high poverty areas when those people are in middle school and high school!


Imagine service learning programs in city and suburban schools engaging youth in research that enables them to learn about poverty and its impact on learning and aspirations. Imagine if the same programs were providing service opportunities and were teaching youth to make videos, write blogs and organize social media communities aimed at building greater understanding of the challenges faced by inner city kids and aimed at generating a flow of volunteers and operating dollars to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in different neighborhoods.


If students practice this and learn from their service they can log 10,000 hours before they are in their mid-twenties and they can log another 10,000 hours as they move from that stage of life till they depart this worldly existence.


Everyone subscribed to this Ning community can be part of this learning and information sharing and can apply the ideas to building a network of experienced leaders for youth development and social problem solving programs in their own communities.


As Gladwell says, "it is practice, however, that makes perfect. The best way to achieve international stardom is to spend 10,000 hours honing your skills."



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This graphic is one of many that I've posted on Ning, and on the Tutor/Mentor Institute site, and in my blog. It was developed as the result of many years of leading a tutor/mentor program, and of spending solitary hours thinking of ways to make what I do more effective.

I found an article today titled "Solitude and Leadership: If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts", by William Deresiewicz

I encourage everyone to spend time reading this, thinking of how it applies to you in your role with the Tutor/Mentor Connection, or with your own organization. Then, make an effort to apply the recommendations in your own efforts to learn more about where volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are needed, the variations between these programs, and the ways you can adopt ideas from one place and apply it to many other places. Learn more about what it takes to operate a program, and turn it into a world-class program. Learn what it takes to sustain the involvement of volunteers, donors, youth, for many years, or till we reach the ultimate goal of more youth finishing school ready for 21st century jobs and adult responsibilities.

Part of your reading should be the articles we write, but most of it should be the books and articles that other people write, which we post in the Tutor/Mentor Library.

You can't learn this all in a day, and your reflections and ideas will only grow stronger if you apply this learning over a life time. If you're an adult, it's not too late to apply this thinking. It's not too late to try to teach young people who you mentor to build these habits.

This is the way we create the future we want.

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This is a graphic of the Strategy used by the Tutor/Mentor Connection. It's the reason we are all connected on this web site. Sites like this bring people together who can share ideas, build relationships, and work together to overcome common obstacles. If no one creates and hosts the site, no one else connects, unless someone else creates a similar site, and does similar work over many years to draw attention, and people, to the site. This Ning group is just one part of the many resources collected and shared by the T/MC. What we share on the T/MC site is free to anyone who wants to use it. It's also constantly being changed both by what we add to the site, and by what the people we link to add to their own web sites. Thus, we need to find people who will spend time learning what is on the web sites, and who is in a group like this, then who spend time "helping" others find the knowledge, or the people, they need to find in order to do the work they are doing. My wish for 2010 is that more people will step forward to take roles within the T/MC, to help gather, organize and share this information, and to help more people find it and use it. If enough people do that then the people directly connected to kids will have more of the resources they need to have an impact on the lives of those children, youth and families. Happy new year to all of you. Thanks for joining this group. I look forward to hearing from you in 2010 (which for some of you may already be here!)
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