Building on existing GeoConvos work, the GeoConvos team aims to expand the reach of existing GeoConvos methodology by digitally publishing a robust facilitator guide. Previously, the team developed a working version of a guide as a Google Doc (bit.ly/geoconvostoolkit). In its current state this document includes facilitator instructions for 6 GeoConvos activities. The team will refine the guide to include more resources, including case studies and further explanation of the learning theory behind each activity. The final guide will be more accessible to educators, as they can put it into action without any formal training, deep-dives, or focus groups from the GeoConvos team. Educators will be able to access GeoConvos tools on the web and then use or remix in a fashion that reflects each unique context of learning and the challenges of evaluating youth program participants in their particular discipline.
There are two main components of this proposed grant project: 1) the refinement, publication, and dissemination of the GeoConvos facilitator guide and 2) the continued evaluation of teen learning experiences via GeoConvos activities.
GeoConvos activities are not restricted by content matter or discipline; during this grant cycle, youth program participants at the CAS/PNNM, LPZ, PE, and CPL will use GeoConvos to reflect on their own learning and identity. Teens will use smartphones and tablets to capture media. They will also use computers and tablets to record reflective information. The use of analog tools such as paper maps and sticky notes complements digital tools in an effort to offer full-bodied, tactile learning experiences.
The facilitator guide production will be impacted by feedback and analysis from facilitators during the entire grant cycle. The GeoConvos team will train facilitators at CAS/PNNM, PE, and LPZ to use GeoConvos activities in their summer teen programs, and a graduate student from UIC will observe select sessions. Surveys from facilitators, teens, and the observational analysis will be used to refine the guide. After the revisions are compiled, the team will host a separate training session for Chicago Public Library teen services staff in the fall. CAS/PNNM, LPZ, and PE will continue to incorporate and provide feedback on GeoConvos tools in fall 2017 and spring 2018 teen programs on a smaller scale.
The facilitator guide design process is a key element of this project. The team plans to have a working draft of the guide available on GeoConvos.org for the duration of the project. In fall 2017, the team will gather supporting content to make GeoConvos.org more interactive and instructional. The plan is to create educator testimonial videos, case studies, and other supporting media pieces and graphics by spring 2018. Final guide text revisions and design production, including infographics and other visual elements, will occur then as well.