Forum Activity for @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
01/27/18 06:56:31PM
28 posts

When the Internet generation thinks ABCD is a dinosaur?


ABCD - Getting Started/Challenges

So, it's been awhile since I've been on the ABCD in Action Forum (got distracted in the crisis and aftermath of a wildfire). I dropped working with the group whose situation with younger participants prompted me to write the original post just before then, and went onto another project, and it's interesting to review the discussion after all the related life-changing events. 

I think there can be no doubt that any approach does better in communities with some money, simply because there are more resources to leverage. The problem that ABCD addresses is how to identify and leverage whatever resources there are. People starving is a humanitarian crisis and resources need to be brought in from the outside. But only bringing in resources from the outside is not enough, because dependence gets tiresome. My original question had to do with people who have computers and know how to use them trying to contribute their assets to the projects the group as a whole wanted. Not everyone could even afford a computer, and lots had no cellphone let alone a smartphone.  The call for a mandatory data base at first inadvertently and apparently highlighted the differences in the group according to culture, class, ability, age in some cases, power and privilege, access to information and power to manage information -- but from another perspective it highlighted the resources that existed. And we found that it doesn't matter what it is, there's always something there that people will latch onto in their fear of change.   

In the end for the first group I worked with before the wildfire, John's advice to  "Figure out how the work being done by folks doing web 2.0 or social media-driven activities can complement the work being done via other types of mapping and leveraging assets. Identify how information about all of these activities is shared. ABCD doesn't have to be standardized to be effective." was very helpful. What a gentle way to work! We didn't have to change the world, wand we didn't have to be perfect at it, we just had to change how we saw things, and work together with our piece of it to get it off the ground and be used as a tool or platform for the next level of change that may be needed.  

We found a way to expand the network of people involved, had some volunteers do "interviews" with pen and paper over the phone (remember we were covering 14 countries) or in person while other volunteers followed up with the data entry. Some people contributed money, lots of  people contributed time and enthusiasm. It took a few years to iron out many fronts, but now the organization exists; we have an online worldwide service network and a network of reps - not in every region yet, but the core activists are feeling confident now; it turned out some folks wanted to learn about computers and others were willing to teach, and all in all, group members of many ages and abilities are offering their heads, heart, and hands who were unable to before, and feeling connected where it had not been possible before. Maybe progress is perfection. 


updated by @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz: 01/27/18 07:00:52PM
Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
01/27/18 05:35:56PM
28 posts

Join John McKnight in Montreal this June!


Community News

Hi, I tried to register for this on the link you provided, but got an error message. Did your June 6-8 event for Montreal get changed to April?  My husband and I are traveling to Montreal for another event, so we would like to know. It is not  the same event listed on the Tamarack website as Asset-Based Community Development: For Healthy Neighbourhoods   Kitchener, ON | April 17-19  Register Here

is it? 

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
04/06/15 05:23:22PM
28 posts

When the Internet generation thinks ABCD is a dinosaur?


ABCD - Getting Started/Challenges

That could be a useful clue, John.

So these folks appear not to have been part of the plans to hold 1:1 conversations but were part of the implementation process?

Should I understand that given your college students' general preference to "speak" online, they didn't know ahead of time that they would be asked to have these conversations during your training and having the conversations was a surprise that they kind of had to go along with once they were there?

Or, did they know ahead of time that the training was to be about having 1:1 conversations in order to do organizing, and if so,what do you think made them overcome their apprehension and take the training in the first place?

It occurred to me your studentscould have attended along the lines of, "I'm fearful about talking in person to people I don't know and I would like to not be afraid," like somebody who decides to go to a Toastmasters meeting and learn public speaking. If your group already anticipated fears like this and included promotion of the trainings accordingly, that could also be helpful to know.

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
03/20/15 08:00:38PM
28 posts

When the Internet generation thinks ABCD is a dinosaur?


ABCD - Getting Started/Challenges

Thanks, gentlemen!

To clarify, I have full confidence that we are going to use GPS and phone apps to map and connect people as a way to create or recognize community. My question has more to do withthe activity of conducting the actual learning conversations.We have already defined ourselves as a community, covering many locales and interest areas. None of us wants more division, in this case based according to digital access.

It's interesting to hear that the people in their 20's and 30's whom you've worked with, Ron, have also spoken up about mandating participation -- seems counter-intuitive to have younger folk get all authoritarian. The other solution, of providing more information to convince and persuade, reminds me of Peter Block's books on community. The question, as he sees it, is not "How?" as in how are we going to get people to do x, y, or z or how will x, y, or z be done. Falling back on "how" makes people obsess endlessly on the answer, get lost in the weeds and then never get any of the work done.

So maybe, the question is "why?", as he recommends, along the lines you've tried successfully. Why make participation mandatory? Why provide more information? And go for the deeper challenge of positive relationship-building in real space and real time as well as virtual space and time.

I had thought the younger folks would grab at the community- and life-changing aspect of learning conversations, as we help each other move away from inappropriate dependence on institutions. Now I see that grasping the significance of the learning conversations is a difficulty more universal than I had thought.

Any other experiences out there to share?

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
03/13/15 10:03:16AM
28 posts

When the Internet generation thinks ABCD is a dinosaur?


ABCD - Getting Started/Challenges

When our community mostly made up of 50-70 year-olds started to use ABCD, the immediate call was to focus on creating an online database that would become the backbone of an interactive online forum. Never mind that we could start with the asset-mapping and interviews, and get the cultural stories and uncover hidden talents while the technical people figured out how to work with each other. Now the project has attracted a few people in their late 30's who insist that all we have to do is make the database participation mandatory, a role reversal of age generations, institutions and associations. My longtime experience tells me that "mandatory" doesn't go far or deep enough, but I understand the "young" people's need for speed. Anyone else experiencing the age gap in proceeding with ABCD?


updated by @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz: 10/24/16 03:45:35PM
Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
12/21/14 11:28:52AM
28 posts

Seeking tech tool to match interests for homebound seniors and ppl w disabilities


Tips, Tools, Strategies, and Technology

Our community is spread out over various cities. We use Sococo to meet "in person". Other people use google hangouts, and still others use Skype. All three allow 10 people free on a single account or call. Google Hangouts and Skype will let you add more callers, but the sound gets bad. One person can hold a Sococo account and let people into a virtual room. Startmeeting.com has virtual rooms also, but they are only audio, not visual like Sococo. I think it would take a long time to go over all the wonderful features of each of these 4 ways to meet virtually, as each has its many advantages. Look them up on the Internet, and try experimenting with setting up your own service and invitation--many cities have a senior center that might welcome such a contribution of time.
Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
07/01/14 08:10:34PM
28 posts

Training Interview Trainers


Training

yes - the discussion just got too long i thought and was branching out! I forgot I could copy the link and paste it in this post to make it easier to find. . . .thanks, loads Deb!

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
07/01/14 12:49:52PM
28 posts

GoToMeeting - pros & cons


Tips, Tools, Strategies, and Technology

I agree with what everyone's said so far about GoToMeeting being good enough and expensive and Google Hangouts working including recording. It depends on how big the meeting is, for one thing, and what the meeting is for.

Google and Skype can work fine for up to 10 people in terms of everyone being able to see and hear each other and share screens, too. After that number, you have to turn off the video. I have worked with folks on a remote island in Fiji, and I'm in California and in that case even with only 3 people we decided to turn off the video because it was hanging up the rest of the call.

StartMeeting is another option. People have the option to call or computer in, and it's much cheaper than GTM, plus even on a phone call you can have breakout discussions. Posting visuals is available with a paid account, but is limited to the main "room".

Sococo will allow you to share screens in any room and you get a sense of the intimacy that comes with being in an actual room, but I think this works best for organizations and not random community participants. I'd love to see if anyone can experiment with that idea though. For a different group I'm working with, we are toying with the idea of having a public comment section to our meetings and wondering how that might affect how our entire community uses the Sococo space.

Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
06/12/14 09:52:15PM
28 posts

How do you "put together" your training materials?


Training

Well, this is not really a question, but my analysis of the steps I went through after we had all our agreements in place with all the leaders involved. Mind you, I had some previous experience in developing a trainings. Maybe you will end up doing things differently, or you have different experiences to offer:

1. First, commend yourself to your highest purpose.

If you don't you'll run out of breath. :)

2. Address the scope and conditions for the training.

Even with some experience in developing a community training, it took me several months to put one together for my first ABCD project--beginning the incarnation of a nonprofit organization that would house all our cooperative associations with one another: guilds, childrearing, health services, food, self-sufficiency, disaster prep/response/recovery, community businesses, etc. for a population of , 950-1200 at any point in time scattered among about a dozen or so countries.There was general consensus that we needed this institution, but not how to go about it since the vision was so huge. Among those who stepped forward for the task of organizing, it seemed the clearest step ahead was to take inventory of ourselves as a gathering.

This situation also meant that for most of our gathering, our interviewers would be their first formal and only in-person contact with this institution. Most of the folks who stepped forward for the job figured all they had to do was ask a few questions and how simple was that. We needed to make sure the interviewers knew enough about the ins and outs of the vision and how to handle any sticky situations, like some oldtimers who were just cynical or members who thought we were biting off too much to chew by trying to reach everyone and so on. On top of that, because we are scattered in several different countries, we would not have the benefit of intimacy from sharing the same physical surroundings, or eating and drinking together, bumping into someone on your way in and out of the space, having colorful reminders posted around a room.

2. See what material you can use.

Maybe you say start with an outline, but really it didn't matter. I had so much flying around in my head and intuitionthat I needed to physically handle whatever was already material. What materials already existed or needed to be made up and in what form did the material need to be in order to be usable under the conditions I was facing?

I had a source for some of the non-ABCD material--lots of books and quotes, some Powerpoint slides from a different presentation, videos, and handouts--but a lot of it I had to make up and also incorporate in with any ABCD material so that the presentation was seamless. It was up to me to begin the training conversation on how ABCD matched up with the institutional and cultural principles of our community.

Then there were the Powerpoint slides my own trainer had generously shared. And lots more books and videos and handouts and other ABCD Powerpoint presentations online! The richness was staggering.

Note to self: keep breathing.

3. Develop an outline.

I would have very much liked to start with the outline, but the fact of the matter is that this happened simultaneously with gathering my materials together.

And as much as I join the critics of slideshows, I decided that given the conditions for the training and all the material that was out there, it would be easiest for me to develop a Powerpoint presentation:

  • I could use the slides like gigantic index cards containing my speaking notes and sort and edit them as easily as a wordprocessing document.
  • I could write or insert one slide at a time without worrying from the outset how it fit in the flow of things. My thoughts could just flow, and I would capture them onto the slide in the form of images or words.
  • I could include cool pictures I chose from free clip art online that matched the concepts I was trying to pass on.
  • I could also embed video into the presentation so that in front of the virtual room I didn't have to spend time switching browser windows.
  • I could enter additional notes in the Notes section of each slide just in case I actually might need to distribute handouts.
  • I could also batch sets of slides into virtual topic sections so that I could track the day's sessions and gauge how much to speed up or slow down, and see where to transition from ABCD to non-ABCD material.
  • And if I really wanted to, I could add animations. By that time, I was having so much fun that I had to teach myself how to add animations!
  • Oh, and I discovered that Powerpoint had a timing function so I could see how much material there actually was for the 24 hours needed and rehearse how things flowed.

4. Organize and integrate the material.

Okay, the bulleted sub-list above shows I was having fun in spite of how overwhelming it all seemed. The gathering of the material, outlining and organizing happened kind of at the same time. I would start one piece and that would make me ask a question and I'd have to go hunting for what I needed. Very satisfying to pop the item in where it belongs, like a farmer making a pie and picking the ripe berries from the bushes for it.

Now everything's put together, and I just have to finish out the last preparations for the actual training:

5. Make sure the other team members are doing their bit on the logistics and keeping you informed.

My folks weren't used to thinking about the contingencies that can develop in bringing people together, and especially not virtually. Who is supposed to be handling what when on the day. I was going to be "on" for two days in a row for each training session so we could reach both hemispheres of the globe at a time convenient for most trainees. I was prepared for hiccups but not possible collapse because of inexperience, so I needed to know what they were telling everybody else!

6. Practice delivery.

. . . even if it's just to read through the whole thing once. It's amazing what you discover.

7. Make a point of showing up early and give yourself the time to prepare your water or whatever else you might need handy.


updated by @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz: 10/24/16 03:47:22PM
Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz
@magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz
06/12/14 08:34:48PM
28 posts

Training Interview Trainers


Training

This post is an extension of the back and forth on my earlier question about training interviewers. The description of this ongoing project got so long that I figured I should give the topic of trainers its own space.

To recap

All of us on the project are adult volunteers, from North America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand so far. I'm the only one who has had any ABCD training of any kind (from Ron Dwyer-Voss by the way--shout out, see the session coming up the end of July 2014:CS-Flyer-ABCD-v2.pdf). One participant attended a summer program on ABCD in Toronto, but it wasn't a training, more like a survey course with in-the-community exercises. I trained the first batch of 16 interviewers + three managers including the CEO. Now I'm training the two project managers to help them master the project better themselves and be a greater resource to the trained interviewers. One manager lives in Washington, DC and the other in the state of Washington, while I live in California. For Training the Trainer in covering these distances, we use Sococo, a virtual online office and meeting service to see each other and share screens in order to understand and perhaps modify the training material.

What's going on now

Although we are all volunteers, we have different roles for this project and I do my best to keep these roles clear--for my sanity as much as theirs.

In our case, the way I set it up, I sold the person acting in the role of CEO the idea, and to make a very long story short, we have thetwo managers who can be considered as institutional folks, and the group of them, in effect, have hired me to help them organize the process of community development.

What's interesting to me is how much everyone is still looking for someone to tell them what to do, much like a community that has forsaken their institutions for so long that the institution is fighting for life to meet its purpose and the individuals tend to feel there is nothing they can do without that institution--a lesson that emerged in my own learning when taking an ABCD training. ABCD is one of many such tools that once it's started. it is for me a continuous process of being able to continue growing as a person and helping my community empower one another to take positive and effective action.

How it's worked so far

We originally agreed near the end of April that the next training would take place in August. To me, this meant that we needed to start training of the trainers right away!

We've had four training sessions now, about a week apart and including a one-week break while one manager had to tend to major obligations elsewhere.

I've been sticking with the herd leader philosophy that I mentioned in my Interview Training post. I look for when energy is moving and work with that rather than tell folks what to do as if the destination is predetermined. All I know are the conditions we need to be in - everyone knowing the forces we were contending with in ourselves and the community, enthusiastic engagement for everybody involved, safety (in this case emotional and relational) for all, recognition of/access to/actual use of resources.

Overall, I let them tell me how they would like to proceed and where to go. ("Let's take a look at your slide 21, Magdalena"). At the last session, one manager disagreed with a line about establishing community businesses, saying she felt completely cynical about anything like that ever happening. She was laughing, but it seemed like we were about to risk something of her personal integrity.

Instead, I pointed out that when the next set of interviewers they would be training underwent training or would go out, one of those interviewers might feel the same way or be bound to meet others in the community with similar feelings. So I invited her to say more now and explore this together. She was more than happy to speak and we ended up going into deeper conversation about their jobs, the purpose of this particular community institution, and how much our fellow community members would resonate with somebody else who could acknowledge the situation and not get defensive. At the managerial level, I pointed out, we are modeling the conversations that we are inviting the community to be able to have.

Looking forward to your questions and comments and helping each other make better communities.


updated by @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz: 10/24/16 03:46:28PM
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