Independence High School seniors are the first to use mentoring technology to help Chicago students

Bakersfield students helping others 2K miles away

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Digital Youth Network is the first known program of its kind to mentor English students across the country using a social media style of technology.

The program, which started in November, allows seniors at Independence High School to mentor fifth and sixth grade students in Chicago.

The programs creator and Independence High Schools English teacher Kip Glazer said her senior students are providing positive feedback to the Chicago students while still correcting their grammar and other common mistakes.

The students use a social media site, very similar to Facebook, to communicate and mentor. The seniors are assigned to five Chicago students and are encouraged and required to comment on their blogs at least three times a week.

The program is currently focusing more on the bond and connection between the two groups of students, but is slowly progressing into a solid and successful peer mentoring and editing program.

Glazer and her students feel that the process of having students help each other is more beneficial and helpful.

"We're still younger than adults so we can understand the kid more, we can remember more of their experiences. Some of my kids have had the same experiences that I have been through" Independence senior, Luis Ramirez said.

The goal of the program is to teach the Chicago students to be better writers while providing positive and beneficial feedback. But most Independence students in the program said they are learning more than they are teaching and are still having fun.

"Its actually kind of fun to be honest because you actually get to help the kids get better" said Jane Fernandez, a senior and peer mentor.

To Glazers knowledge this is the pilot program but they are looking to expand and build it. She said they hope to use Skype in the near future to be able to verbally communicate with the students.





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