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 Tacoma and other communities through interactive Internet video.

A Tacoma first grade teacher, who joined this collaborative project in 2001, said that cyber mentoring has improved their students’ learning.

“I love it. I think it is fabulous,” said Deborah Kirby, who has taught first grade at Edison Elementary for nine years. “I see my students progressing faster with this interaction.”

Kirby said she will upgrade her classroom camera system in January to expand the program.

Maring, who began the program in other districts in 1998, said that the WSU teacher preparation students 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 a $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.