Thursday, February 6, 2020

Graphic Facilitation - Another Form of Mapping

I've been using Twitter since 2009 and over the years I find it to be one of the most useful places to gather new ideas, connect and build virtual relationships.  I'm at @tutormentorteam and I encourage readers to connect with me there.

In one of my threads this week I was introduced to Aaron Johannes, @imagineacircle He leads an organization called ImagineACircle, I followed the link on his profile to try to learn what work he was doing and I see a focus on graphic facilitation. Below is just one of many visualizations he shares on the site.

See this visual in Graphic Facilitation article
I picked this one because the ideas reflect much of what I've been trying to do over the past 25 years and which I've communicated via many articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog and vis presentations that I host on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site.   I encourage you to read the article describing graphic facilitation, and browse other parts of the ImagineACircle site.

Created in 2011

I've had volunteers with different talents work with me off and on between 1993 and 2011 and had interns from various colleges work with me up till 2015.  I asked them to look at ideas I was sharing on blog articles and via ppt presentations, then create their own interpretations.  In this Tutor/Mentor forum thread you can see visualizations created by Sam Lee, an intern from South Korea, in 2011.

While I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago from 1994 to 2015 with attendance ranging from 200-300 in the 1990s and early 2000s, I never had anyone with graphic facilitation skills working with me to try to lead the conversation of "What are all the things we need to know and do to help kids in every high poverty neighborhood connect in organized tutor/mentor programs that help them move through school and into adult lives, jobs and careers?"

I've created a library of concept maps to visualize ideas and strategies, but these are work that I did, sitting alone at my computer, drawing from my own experiences and the library of ideas and research I've been building for over 40 years.

Thus, I'd love to see the type of graphic facilitation being done at ImagineACircle applied to the maps and graphics I've been sharing for many years, by a group of stakeholders, who might focus on Chicago, or any other city. Furthermore, I'd love to find a library where such maps are being aggregated. We could all learn from each other.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Black Owned Banks, Hotels, HBCUs - on a map

Black owned banks & credit unions
Today on Facebook one of my former Cabrini Connections students posted a map showing Black owned hotels and resorts. I visited the site and found maps showing Black owned banks and HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). 

Here's a link to the site. Watch the videos to see how the site seeks to encourage Blacks to put their money in Black-owned businesses as a strategy to improve the lives and economic and political power of Black Americans. 

Take a look. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

What factors affect learning at your school? Interactive map

click here to view map
My Twitter feed drew my attention to the interactive maps on the Hamilton Project website, which is a part of

While there are many different reports on the site the map I'm pointing to focuses on a report that focuses on the factors that affect learning at individual schools.

If you browse through this blog or sections of the Tutor/Mentor blog you'll see that I create stories by zooming into sections of map platforms like this, then creating a screen shot that I convert to a jpg that can be put in the story.

Below is a closeup of the Chicago region.  You can drill down even closer to look at individual schools.

Below you can see how I share maps from these stories on Twitter and how I'm trying to motivate youth from schools across Chicago and the world to create their own map-stories, focusing on issues in their own community.

This is something that youth as early is middle school could be doing for various class projects, or for service learning. If practiced all the way through high school and college, I suspect we'd develop a generation of spatial thinkers who use maps to draw needed programs and resources into more places where such help is needed.

Thank you to everyone who has read and shared stories from my blogs over the past year.  I wish you all a  happy, healthy and hope filled holiday.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

What If This Market Analysis Tool Were Used to Support Growth of Youth Programs

Below is a screen shot from a Business Market Analysis Case Study posted by ESRI this week.  I encourage you to open the link and see how Walgreens uses this tool to determine where to place new stores.

Open link and view this market analysis tool
UPDATE:  10-24-2019 - here's a different example of using GIS mapping to support fund raising efforts. Read both articles then the rest of this blog article.

Imagine having this tool available to social sector intermediaries like the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  In early 1993 when a volunteer from IBM was introducing me to Geographic Information Systems I saw interactive uses of mapping as planning tools and understood their potential to visually communicate.

Between then and 2009, with the help of volunteers and a few donors, I was able to mimic some of those tools in the types of maps and map platforms we created to help support the growth of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, but was never able to get the full suite of tools, nor the executive commitment to use these in efforts to engage corporate resources in helping tutor/mentor programs grow in areas served by different companies.

See map in this story

At the left is one of the map stories we created in the 1990s. This has all of the elements of the ESRI tool, except it is not automated. We show specific parts of Chicago, tell a story of a shooting, talk about the poverty that is a root cause of much of the violence, and talk about assets in the area (businesses, faith groups, colleges, hospitals) who could be helping tutor/mentor programs grow in that area.

Imagine having that story told with a GIS tool like the one ESRI is showing. Imagine the story being told by a corporate CEO or Mayor of a big city!   I can imagine it. I've not been able to make it happen!

Browse through this set of articles, written since 2008, to show how Tutor/Mentor Connection (now Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC) has been attempting to use maps.
view map & list of programs here

The one unique feature of the T/MC work is that we've been collecting information about non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago region since 1993, and our efforts aim to draw volunteers, donors and ideas directly to each program, to help each constantly improve.

T/MC goes beyond technical assistance and showing "how" to recruit and/or raise money. T/MC has helped build public attention and recruit and raise money for these programs since 1994. 

And T/MC uses maps to try to ensure a distribution of k-12 programs in every high poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region.

If you know of others using maps this way, please share it in the comments section.

Since 2011 the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been led by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (which is a one person - Dan Bassill (me) - operation based in the Chicago region). Here's a 2019 article showing what I've been trying to do and showing help needed to re-build my capacity to do this work.

These maps could be any major city in the world, not just Chicago. That means a  university, business and/or civic organization from any place in the world could spend time learning what the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC  has been building then offer to adopt, and rebuild, the strategy to apply in their own city and to share with other cities.

Any company could be using ESRI tools as part of this ROLE OF LEADERS  commitment, to support the growth of youth serving organizations in areas where they do business, and/or where customers and employees live.

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin.  Let's explore this possibility. 

In the short term, please make a contribution to help me continue to fund this work.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Link between poverty, segregation and education performance

In my Twitter feed today was a post that pointed me to this article, titled: An analysis of achievement gaps in every school in America shows that poverty is the biggest hurdle.  The article draws upon data that is available in this Stanford Opportunity Explorer map.

Below I'm showing three map views that I created by zooming in on the map.

The blue shades show "students' scores, in grade levels, relative to the national average (grades 3-8, 2009-2016)". This is explained in the table in the lower right corner of the page.  Click on the "more info" link and a panel opens on the left side of the page with a set of questions and answers.

National View of Opportunity Explorer
Then I zoomed in to look at the Chicago area where I've focused on helping volunteer-based, non-school tutor/mentor programs grow since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  At this level of detail  you can see individual schools, which are color coded to show how they perform vs the national average.

View of Chicago region - Central/South

Then I zoomed in more to focus on the central part of the city.  For reference, look at this map which we created more than 10 years ago, showing the Illinois 7th Congressional District. You can see how this district stretches from Chicago's lakefront to the far West suburbs and that there are areas of high poverty in the middle and South part of the district (note: this is 2000 census data). 

7th Illinois Congressional District
Now look at the third map that I created using the Opportunity Explorer.  I'm focusing on the same area as the 7th Congressional District. You can see the difference between more affluent areas (green) and greater poverty areas (blue).

This map covers much of the 7th Congressional District
Now look at the map below, showing the 7th Congressional District, which was created using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which a team from India built for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2008 using money we'd received from an anonymous donor. (This team first introduced themselves to me in 2007 by rebuilding our Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS) page - on a pro-bono basis!)

7th District view using Program Locator - click here

The Opportunity Explore is a great resource.  However, I wish it had overlays showing Congressional or State legislative districts, so voters could build an understanding of the segregation, poverty and school performance within their district and hold elected leaders accountable for generating the resources and mobilizing the leadership needed to improve the lives of those living in poverty.  

Unfortunately the Tutor/Mentor Connection was not able to attract new funding after 2008 due to the financial crisis, which also affected the volunteers from India who were helping us. In 2011 this led to the strategy being discontinued at the non profit I founded in 1993, which led me to form the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (also 2011) to try to keep this resource updated and available.  

It is available. It's not updated. However if you explore it's features, it's loaded.  For instance, in the upper right I've pointed to an "enlargement" button which expands the map to your full screen. That enables you to look closer at the information on the map, including the green stars, representing non-school tutor and/or mentor programs in the map area.  

Data platforms - click here
The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator is not the only resource people can use. It is one of the few that overlays non-school tutor/mentor programs and is intended to support leaders working to fill neighborhoods with a wide range of k-12 youth programs.

I point to a wide range of data platforms in this concept map. I'll add the Stanford Opportunity Explorer today.  These can be used to understand issues and create map-stories that share your understanding with other people, mobilizing the talent, dollars and votes needed to change conditions shown on the maps.  

View more stories on this blog showing uses of maps, and view stories on the Tutor/Mentor blog, also using maps. Imagine such stories appearing on thousands of web sites and blogs, created by students, volunteers, policy makers, elected leaders, etc.

I'm looking for partners at universities, businesses think tanks and/or other non-profits who will spend time learning what I've been trying to do and then invest and adopt, updating the Program Locator, and rebuilding strategies that I'm no longer able to lead as well as needed, due to lack of support.  

If I can get the attention and investment from just one of the growing number of billionaires in the world, this entire strategy could be relaunched, using their name and influence. Share this article, and perhaps you can help me reach these people. 

This link points to social media platforms where we can connect.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Factors that affect learning - interactive map

In a Twitter chat today I learned about a new map by and the @hamiltonproject. I show it below. Visit this article to read about the map and learn how to use it.

Open map - click here
You can zoom into the map and enlarge it to focus on different places around the USA.  I zoomed into the Chicago region and created the map view shown below:

Open map - click here

Each dot on this map is an individual school.  So I zoomed in even more to focus on one school, which I chose at random.

Open map - click here
The blue circle focuses on Daley Elementary School, where student chronic attendance is 18.2%, which you can see if you put your icon on the red dot. 

The red circle focuses on the wider area around this school, where most students live.  I've been trying to coach schools, businesses, faith groups, hospitals and others to fill the red circle with a wide range of volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning organizations so kids come to school more prepared to learn and leave with networks that help them into jobs.

I've been trying for 20 years with limited success. I keep trying. 

Below is another map, created in 2017 from the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which my organization created in 2008 (it's not been updated since 2013).

View Program Locator - click here
On this map I show layers of information, that includes existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area, as well as assets who could be helping programs and schools help kids, such as faith groups, businesses, hospitals and universities.  The map shows who is in the same geography, thus who has a reason to help.

Most of the map platforms that show data, don't do what the Program Locator was intended to do. And, I've not had the resources or partnership to keep updating the Program Locator, or to keep adding to its features.

Chicago programs
In 2016 I created a new map platform, which is kept updated. See it here.  Unfortunately  this does not have the layers of information, or search features of the program locator. You can zoom in and put your mouse over a green icon to learn who that program is.

It's not enough to just point to where kids need help. We need to  help build a support system of people and organizations who devote time, talent, dollars and votes over many years to help kids grow up.

If you'd like to know more, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.  If you'd like to make a contribution (not tax deductable) to help me, click here.