The Mentoring Projects

Murry Bergtraum High School

with Ted Nellen
We have a number of mentoring projects in progress at Murry Bergtraum High School. Each explores the use of mentors to assist in the classroom of an urban public high school. The classroom may be a difficult place or even a scary place for some to visit, but a virtual visit is easy, fun, and safe. Come see how we have married mentoring and the Internet in our wired classroom. The students and mentors utilize email, listservs, and the WWW to carry out the tasks of mentor and mentee.

I have written a number of articles, some exclusively on telementoring, and others which include telementoring.

The Adopt-A-Student program was begun by Kathy Casper of InfoQuest Web Design & Research and featured as a pet project in her Special projects Page. Her readers, by special request, visit selected students at MBHS and become a mentor to a student. The mentor assists and advices about HTML, writing, and communication skills. Every student gets at least one mentor and in one case ten mentors. This is a truly unique and powerful example of using the Internet for effective mentoring. This project is a cornerstone in our Cyber English class. Read a Sample of the correspondence between the mentors and the students.

Our two Cyber English classes are also involved in a correspondence with two Japanese high schools in our Japanese Projects. This project uses the students' web pages to display work and listserves to exchange ideas in a forum. We have been joined by two Japanese citizens who are members of a NETIZENS listserve which is interested in furthering global communications.

The Electronic Emissary Program is a project from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Education which has become part of our two senior Internet classes. The seniors are new classes added this spring. This project maintains a database of mentors and schools. A teacher enters information into their search engine to seek out and find appropriate mentors for his/her class projects. We sought out two mentors with HTML skills to serve as mentors in our two senior classes. The mentors, each assigned to one of our two classes will discuss, on listserves, the students' pages and give advice on HTML scripting.

I have engaged in a Mentoring project of my own with some classmates at Teachers College at Columbia University. We are creating a web page which discusses and provides many aspects of mentoring to the curious who use the Internet in their classroom or wish to be a mentor. This resource project will serve as a guideline for others before they undertake this unique concpet of mentoring in education which finds new power on the Internet.

I served as a mentor to two student teachers this past year. One was a California elementary school teacher, Candice Elliot, in Suzanne Sullivan's class. The other student, Raul Robarte, was in Sandie Lee Walser's class from West Texas. These projects had me review their work, advise them on using the Internet in their classes, and serve as a guide to the educational uses of the Internet.

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