Julia Freeland Fisher - Social Capital


To understand Julia Freeland Fisher's theses, arguments, and ideas about social capital.

Early Findings

  • In August 2018, Julia Freeland Fisher's book, "Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students' Networks," was published. In the book, Fisher discusses how educators can decrease inequality in schools by helping students develop and leverage relationships to be more successful in life.
  • Fisher learned that more than half of jobs come about as a result of personal connections. Students who are provided enrichment experiences often have more connections than other students which can lead to greater success.
  • Although social networks are important to success, they are not the only factor that matters. For example, even when students had a network to rely on, a lack of financial resources could also derail their success.
  • Fisher focuses on disruptive innovation in education and has written about topics including social capital, blended learning, and the future of schools.
  • Fisher believes that gaps in social networks are as important as skill and knowledge gaps. Technology will allow for the expansion of social networks beyond anything that was previously possible and there are roles to be played by schools, vendors, entrepreneurs and investors.
  • At about the 1:15 mark in this interview, Fisher discusses how everyone inherits networks. However, it would be great to be able to add to these inherited networks to give people, specifically students, access to people that they otherwise would not have access to.
  • At the 3:00 mark, Fisher discusses how networks consist of both strong ties and looser ties. Strong ties are people that are relied on regularly like family, close friends, and neighbors, while looser ties would be people that are more acquaintances. Both typed of ties have value.
  • At the 5:45 mark, Fisher discusses how research shows that having at least one caring adult in their life, helps students stay on track. If that adult can then pull in other caring adults to help build a stronger network for students, that is even better.

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