I have had a few busy days. The mentoring project has been going extremely well. So well that a news reporter came to do a story on my students (http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/independence-high-school-seniors-are-the-first-to-use-mentoring-technology-to-help-chicago-students).
My students have done blogging of their own on iRemix website and began providing feedback to the students in Chicago. I do fear, however, that some teachers looking at this project might overlook how much work it is for me to train the mentors. I think that is
one of the biggest mistakes that a teacher hoping to utilize technology can make: giving students access to technology without thinking about the serious upfront training AND ongoing support.
Before my students were allowed to be on the system, I did many lessons on how to provide feedback, such as how to say "Yes, and." and using positive phrases such as "do something" rather than "don't do something." They had to work on using Google Docs. They did many presentations to get comfortable with interacting with one another. The bottom line is that I have invested in a lot of time and prep work before I let them have access to the wesite because I was hoping to develop my students as positive mentors that they are today.
Technology is great. I absolutely love them. But without a sound pedagogy, it's just a fancy tool. Sometimes it will get in the way of achieving your goal. I am hoping that the teachers who want to implement this project will be cognizant of that.
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I am a mother, wife, and English teacher. I moved from Korean when I was 23 without speaking English. Now I teach English. I want to be an Educational-Neuroscientist when I grow up!