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History of the Online Mentoring Project

NSF #0127516

Overview

The Online Mentoring Project is an NSF funded Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) project whose goal is to create a dynamic online environment for elementary, middle, and high school pre-service teachers to mentor students in mathematics through the Math Forum's Problem of the Week (PoW) environment. This is a unique opportunity for pre-service teachers to focus on how students think about math before they face the complexities of the classroom.

The Online Mentoring Project

There are few opportunities for prospective teachers to focus on students mathematical thinking free of the complexities of the classroom. Mentoring students through the Math Forum's Problems of the Week provides one such opportunity. The Online Mentoring Project has developed an Online Mentoring Guide (OMG) which enables professors to integrate this mentoring into their math and math education courses.

The Online Mentoring Guide is a curriculum tool that exists in the Blackboard Vista (formerly WebCT) platform. It provides a self-guided instructional system allowing pre-service teachers to learn how to mentor students in the Math Forum's PoW environment. It also creates a dynamic interactive space where pre-service teachers first try to solve a problem and explain their solution, and then mentor some of their colleagues' solutions. The guide then moves to a broader discussion of mentoring, encouraging the pre-service teacher to enter into the discussion. Finally pre-service teachers conclude their instruction by mentoring PoW submissions.

The Online Mentoring Guide (OMG) was designed to take advantage of the best potential of the Internet and to fit within an existing math education, science education or educational methods course. It is highly flexible and designed to parallel the work students do in class. It can be used in as few as three weeks or all semester long. The OMG is an asynchronous unit. Faculty members can decide how much or how little class time will be devoted to the work with the OMG.

The OMG provides both instruction and resources on mentoring as well as an interactive environment in which pre-service teachers work together and discuss mentoring, as they prepare to mentor actual K-12 students.

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