As I have repeatedly remarked in this space, my professional life has been radically changed through networking with other educators through social media. Twitter and Blogger have been my primary tools, but more recently LinkedIn has impacted my ability to gather resources and build professional relationships.
I have also observed the incredible impact that networking
had my students as they engaged in Challenge Based Learning. Students made vital contacts with experts like lawyers, judges, videographers, business owners, police officers, political staffers, and doctors to gather current and specific information to assist them with their American Government projects.
In 2010, it occurred to me that networking was such an important skill that it should be actively taught at school in the same way that students are taught to do traditional research. I had the notion that networking should be taught “inside-out” moving from family and friends to approachable and “safe” contacts like our own graduates.
I called a general meeting to explore this idea and was amazed by the enthusiastic response. The ensuing project was called M-Hub. Most of the students pictured below were tenth graders at the time, and by their senior years they had actually established a web site which allowed current students to log in with their school credentials and search alumnae in a database for assistance with college exploration, career information, and information for projects.
Dozens of our alumnae happily contributed this information, and M-Hub members learned how to process the data and move it into the searchable database. With
tremendous help from the school web designer M-Hub achieved a unique technical achievement.
|The M-Hub Launch|
The sophomores who started the project then launched the web site to great fanfare at a staff meeting.
Unfortunately, since that time M-Hub has receded to the back of the minds of the school community. Subsequent M-Hub members have received technical training on how to operate the database, but they have not been successful at marketing the site to the student body. This year, attendance at M-Hub meetings fell off and M-Hub has been more or less adrift.
However, all is not lost. Mercy alumna, Kylie Meyers (’10), recently reached out to me through LinkedIn. She graduated from Kalamazoo College a few weeks ago,
and her experiences since high school have convinced her of the potential of M-Hub:
This last year I have been working at my school's career center, where my job is primarily to connect alumni in the legal field to students interested in pursuing a law degree via a group on LinkedIn as well as other networking events. After seeing some of the many opportunities these connections have created for students, some of which I have benefited from, I am very much on the "networking" bandwagon!
She has offered to get M-Hub started again. An enthusiastic group of staff members and students will be meeting with her at an open meeting before school today. Students, staff or alumnae are welcome to join us as we seek to revive M-Hub and realize its potential.