Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Teachers Reflecting on Reverse Mentoring

by Andrew Coy
"Reverse mentoring is a concept borne of the information age... Reverse mentoring asks the younger, technologically savvier youngsters to tutor or support the older generation in learning how to leverage social media, blogs, email, cloud-based services, and other tools that we now have at our disposal." -- Meredith Ely
My students have working for a few months with teachers at Liberty Elementary as reverse mentors. This last week, we thought we would ask the teachers what they thought about it. I've included some of the responses below.

The Questions
  • What do you think about reverse mentoring?
  • How has your view of technology changed?
  • How do you plan on using what you do with us in the future?
  • What have you learned?
  • How have you applied what we have worked with you about?

The Responses

"I have absolutely loved the reverse mentoring program we've instituted here at Liberty Elementary.  I have learned so much from the Digital Harbor High School students- especially my personal instructor, Ykitta.  She's been patient and informative and has shown me ways to effectively use technology in a non-intrusive way. For example, I she helped me create a classroom web page that I can use to update parents and has also shown me how to seamlessly use multiple pieces of technology at once to enhance my instruction.  I look forward to our weekly sessions."
- Mrs. Adams

"I thought I was a technology expert - until I participated in reverse mentoring. Students now have such a greater breadth, and depth, of technological knowledge than I ever had growing up - even though they aren't much younger than me! I have learned so much more from the Digital Harbor High School students than I have ever learned from an adult through professional development. I am confident that, if we can instruct with the technological savvy our mentors have, our students will be equipped with the skills necessary to compete in a global economy. I look forward to the day when our student mentors become educators and have the opportunity to apply their technological awareness as a powerful instructional tool."
- Ms. Irmer

"It is making an impact on my instruction with my students and technology is making my lessons more interesting, fun and is student centered. The benefits of being mentored is the collaboration effort and we share ideas and how to incorporate technology in our class. I have learned a lot of good stuff especially on the different apps that my students use for center time or when they are finished with workshop and needs more activity to do, they get to use the iPad. Also, it has been helping me when I do guided reading or read aloud when we are working with a vocabulary word, we Google search the word and the picture/image appears." - Mr. Panaligan

Curious what your response to these same questions would be. Please leave us a comment and tell us if, how, and where you have seen reverse mentoring in your school. And if you haven't, why not? What are the obstacles to setting up a reverse mentoring program? And what role can and should reverse mentoring play in professional development for teachers?

(See LearnBoost's blog for the whole article by Meredith Ely and see City Biz List for a second article written by Newt Fowler.)


  1. We have used reverse mentoring quite often at our school. It started during our first year with students showing teachers how to create a video podcast and has advanced from there. When we offer students an opportunity to become mentors to teachers, we do not have a shortage of volunteers and they take pride in helping teachers learn new technology.

    The teachers enjoy it because they get more one-on-one attention than what they would receive during a typical presentation session. In addition, the teachers find out who the tech savvy students are and will ask them for other minor technical support issues.

    Reverse mentoring is a big part of our school's professional development program and culture.

  2. What do you think about reverse mentoring?

    It is an idea that is a long time coming. Not only do mentors and teachers benefit but the teachers students will.

    How has your view of technology changed?

    Technological skills will be paramount for our students.

    How have you applied what we have worked with you about?

    This year in our middle school we started with a club called S.W.A.T. (Students Working on Advanced Technology). Using Google Docs, Photo Booth, and trouble shooting are some of the services we provided.

    What have you learned?

    The kids are not afraid to make a mistake but the adults are.


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