PULLMAN, Wash. — Cyber mentoring works, reports Professor Gerald H. “Jerry” Maring of the Washington State University College of Education.

The cyber-mentoring program links WSU teacher preparation students as tutor/mentors with high-needs K-12 students in Colville and other rural communities through interactive Internet video.

Teachers in Colville, where these collaborative projects began in 1998, agree that cyber mentoring has improved their students’ learning.

“This avenue works with the reluctant learners in my classrooms,” said Marjorie Sager, who manages the Colville High School Learning Support Center. “Our students want to impress the college students, so they put in more effort. I’ve seen the improvements.”

“We started in 1998 and the results have been amazing,” said Maggie Goodwin, librarian and technology coordinator at Colville Junior High School. “This program makes our students feel special. It’s the power of the technology. It’s good for the Cougar teachers and great for our kids.”

Maring said that the WSU teacher preparation students, too, have benefited from exposure to diverse K-12 students and to effective educational technology.

Cyber mentoring is one of the research and service programs supported through the $10 million U.S. Department of Education grant that created a statewide WSU partnership project called Collaboration for Teacher Education Accountable to Children with High needs (CO-TEACH). The CO-TEACH programs now in place at school districts statewide are directed to improving K-12 student learning and helping build a model teacher preparation program for university students.