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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

We here in the Innovation Lab recently launched our second “Innovation Challenge” to CAP employees. These challenges are meant to leverage the creativity of all of our staff so that we can identify problems and solutions that would never have occurred to us in the safety of the group cube. Our last challenge sought ideas about building strong connections among the people we serve: What challenges do we face that could be solved by building better connections between the people we serve?

The motivation behind the latest challenge was T.J. Sexton’s research into social networks and “co-production.” “These relationships build connections among families and enlist them as partners to contribute their creativity and ambitions in achieving our shared goals.”

Upon my recommendation, T.J. ordered a book I’d heard about called Unanticipated Gains, which reviews the benefits of social connections at child care centers. Since I suspect he’s taking his time wading through it (T.J. being a very busy innovator), I thought I’d help out and link to a video interview with the book’s author, Mario Small.

Allow Early Ed Watch to provide you the summary:

In the video, Small says that he found that mothers with children in childcare centers were less depressed and exchanged more information about child rearing. They also found out about resources like health clinics and museums that catered to children. Instead of being thought of as simple drop-off spots for babysitting, Small argues, “the centers have quite a few benefits for the social networks and social well-being of the mothers.”

Small talks, too, about how certain characteristics of centers can encourage or discourage parents to get to know each other. For example, he says, child care centers that set specific drop-off and pick-up times are better at enabling parents to meet, talk and compare experiences.

Small mentions that parents with children at child care centers had more friends than other disadvantaged parents. I’m not sure of the extent to which this is really true within our own early childhood program, based on some surveys I’ve conducted, but that’s the point of the innovation challenge: we want to identify problem areas that would benefit from stronger connections between parents. If you work for CAP, read about the challenge on InsideCAP and submit an idea to us. (Soon! The deadline is tomorrow.) If you don’t, you are always welcome to contribute your ideas as comments right here.

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If you’re one of our dozens of dedicated daily blog readers, and you’ve fretted – if only I could easily share all this delightful insightfulness with all my friends – you’re in luck! There are several ways you can pass the wisdom on to others:

Social Bookmarking. If you receive the blog by email or subscribe using an RSS reader, there are several sharing options at the end of each post. These include social link and bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit. All of these let you share links to what you’re reading across the intertubes with the wider public or your own friends. You can rate and comment on links, too.

Facebook. Let’s get real – you’re all on Facebook now (even Monica is). There are several ways you can share what you read here on your profile.

  1. If you read something you like here, you can go to the top of your Facebook wall, click the “What’s on your mind” box and select “add link.” Then just copy and paste the link’s post into the field and click Share.
  2. That’s a lot of steps. The quicker way is to add the Facebook “Share Bookmarklet” to your bookmarks bar in your browser. Go here and drag the button on to the bookmarks bar (just below where you enter in a website address). Anytime you’re reading one of our posts in your browser, just click this button and a box will pop up allowing you to share the link on your profile. Make sure you do this and not just send it to one person!
  3. If you’re an email or RSS subscriber, just click “Share on Facebook” at the bottom of each post.
  4. Social RSS. Add the Social RSS application to your Facebook profile so that our posts are automatically displayed on your profile. You can add this site’s RSS feed as well as any other feeds you want your friends to see. (Click here for what an RSS feed is.) Once you add the application, scroll to the very bottom of the page and add https://tulsainitiative.wordpress.com/feed/ in the URL box.

Twitter. Over the last few months, you may have heard “Twitter” and “tweet” being bandied about by all your savvy or wanna-be savvy friends. Twitter is a “microblog” where users “tweet” short thoughts (160 characters or less) about what they’re doing, reading, thinking, etc. I use my account* to share interesting links. There are several services that convert a very long link url to a much shorter one so that it fits in your tweet. I use http://is.gd. If you’re a twitterer, remember to share the interesting posts you find here with your friends in the twitter-verse.

LinkedIn. The preferred social networking tool for professional contacts, LinkedIn provides a lot of the functions of Facebook or Myspace but without the awkward photos of you partying in college. LinkedIn has a WordPress application that will display this blog’s content right on your profile for all the world to see. Type in https://tulsainitiative.wordpress.com as the blog’s url so all your contacts can see the blog you’re reading.

Commenting. While we’re on the subject of sharing, remember you are always welcome and encouraged to comment on our posts. At the bottom of each post is a box for commenting. You don’t have to have an account but if you’re a first-time commenter, your entry will be sent to me for moderation. Keep it professional!

*No I’m not going to link to any of my personal accounts, but I’m easily findable.

Images used under Creative Commons licenses from flickr users: photopia, AJC1, mfilej, and JerryLuk (from top to bottom).

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation sponsored a webinar today called “Implications of Family Mobility for Place-based Work.” The event is part of a series titled Strengthening Families through Community Change, whose intent is to share lessons-learned from their Making Connections program. That program seeks to improve prospects for children by strengthening families and transforming communities through place-based strategies. Members include Denver, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Louisville, San Antonio, and Seattle.

We’ve been worried about mobility lately at CAP, because we think it mitigates some of the benefits of our early childhood program and makes it more difficult to build successful long-term relationships with our families. So I wanted to hear about how the Making Connections sites are responding to mobility in their communities. The fear, as expressed by a fellow listener, is that we are “wasting” our investments in a community when families remain highly mobile. (A moderator responded that that sentiment is a bit like saying we’re wasting our investments in elementary school because kids move into high school, as if the investments don’t benefit the people we serve.)

(more…)

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A group out of New Haven, CT called Innovations for Poverty Action is evaluating anti-poverty programs around the globe to determine what works and what doesn’t. In their words:

Innovations for Poverty Action applies rigorous research techniques to test and develop solutions to real-world problems faced by the poor in developing countries.

Great. The anti-poverty world (whether we’re talking domestic or international poverty) needs as much information as it can get about what works and what doesn’t. And their roster of researchers is impressive enough that I trust their findings.

There are quite a few of these sorts of initiatives going on right now. I can name four off the top of my head, without even resorting to Google: MDRC (originally the Manpower Development Research Corporation), Mathematica Policy Research, the Center for What Works, and Edutopia.

It seems to me that the challenge before us has shifted. Access to skilled evaluators has been greatly expanded, as has awareness by funders that they have to start including evaluation costs in their grantmaking. It’s no longer about whether we should, how to, or who can evaluate promising programs. The problem is diffusing that information and enabling replication of successful models. (more…)

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Who Are Media?

We Are Media!

Came across this website today via Beth’s Blog (a social networking for non-profits blog). We Are Media is a big wiki site for non-profit professionals that are implementing social media practices in their organizations. I plan to jump on and consume as much knowledge on this subject as I can, as we work to build out TI’s own social network. In case you hadn’t heard, this blog is only the first step.

If you’re wondering why you should care about social media when “all” you want to do is save the planet, check out this slideshow (it’s a bit in your face). And if you don’t know what all that stuff is, come back here and ask!

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…but maybe it doesn’t. Anyway, this site has lots of videos explaining all about social networks and blogs for the uninitiated. But since we can’t access YouTube here at CAP (probably for the best!) I don’t actually know. If you can watch it, let us know!

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