Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mentoring Described

Mentoring: a "planned pairing" of skilled with lesser-skilled to achieve purposeful outcomes, personal development, and growth.
--Nefstead, S & Nefstead, S. (2005)

The sharing of real world experiences,
employing expert ideas,
help interaction,
and valuable friendship are key adjectives to describing the expectations we bring to mentoring

Multiple Voices

Educational mentoring involves multiple conversations:
Mentor <-> Mentee
Facilitator <-> Mentor
Facilitator <-> Mentee

The process needs varying degrees and opportunities for
constructing knowledge


Building Trust in Relationship

In an article for the blog 800CEORead Stephen M. R. Covey, son of the famous Stephen R. Covey, describes the cost of trust in America as follows.

"When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden “tax” on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done."

Trust is the essential component of a successful mentoring or teaching relationship. As in face-2-face, building trusting relationships online requires a high level of communication skills. A key aspect to building any successful relationship centers around providing for and, perhaps, even structuring appropriate communication. This is especially true for distance education and mentoring relationships. In order to establish bonds for support, people must have avenues and opportunities for communication. The need for instructional themes which support opportunities such as:
-- presenting topics and ideas
-- offering guidance
-- instruction
-- practice and
-- assessment
exist in distance education communication as well as in mentor relationships.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Parallel Roles

A review of literature finds some similar conversational themes exist in mentoring literature and in online learning classroom facilitation and teaching. These themes include:

Progressively changing and timely communication
Relevant inquiry
Opportunities for expression
Constructing knowledge

Monday, October 26, 2009

Progressive Needs of Mentoring

In a 1995 study of beginning educators, Furlong and Maynard* found five distinct stages of development and "focal concern:"

Early idealism
Personal survival
Dealing with difficulties
Moving On

Moves from "my needs" to a 'de-centre' view of focusing on the needs of their students.


Support and relationship needs evolve over time in online classrooms as well.

*Furlong, J. and Maynard, T. (1995). Mentoring student teachers the growth of professional knowledge. London and New York: Routledge.

Relevant Inquiry

Evans, Wilson, Hansson, and Hungerford (1997)* mentoring can have a residual effort on success and self-image. The shared experience can be adopted for additional needs down the road.

A rewarding experience online frequently leads to positive self-image and builds comfort with the tools of lifelong learning.

*Evans, Wilson, N.J., Hansson, G., and Hungerford, R. (1997). Positive and negative behaviours of independent adolescent youth participation in a community support programme. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 26, 29-35.

Variety and Opportunity in Expression

Four approaches to studying mentoring have been outlined by Hawkey* (1997).
1. Level of expertise compared to roles and responsibilities
2. Developmental stages and models to meet each stage
3. Viewing stages of interpersonal relationship versus professional
4. The role of the individual's perspectives, assumptions, values

A complex interplay occurs in relationship building.

Tele-mentoring and online facilitation requires multiple avenues for capturing and sharing ideas.

*Hawkey, K. (1997). Roles, responsibilities, and relationships in mentoring: A literature review and agenda for research. Journal of Teacher Education, 48(5), 325.

Constructing Knowledge

The individual interplays of mentoring and online learning foster a constructivist approach to knowledge that allows participants to couple knowledge in their own way. Tele-mentoring and online learning eases the process even further through technologies which support individual exploration in gathering, sorting, compiling, and visualizing information.

Confronting Challenges

I. Communication
Variety in meetings and interaction
Single site; Multiple tools

II. Selection and purpose of tools
Models and Taxonomies

Taxonomy for Media

Bruce and Levin* (1997) proposed a catalog of educational technologies use based upon Dewey's natural learning impulses.

Technology as Media for Inquiry
Technology as Media for Communication
Technology as Media for Construction
Technology as Media for Expression

Classification and division of tools in this manner can create order in the chaos of Web 2.0 applications.

*Bruce, B. and Levin, J (1997). Educational technology: Media for inquiry, communication, construction, and expression. Journal of Educational Computing Research 17 (1), 79-102.

The Assure Model

Heinich, Molenda, Russell & Smaldino ( 2002) developed a procedural guide for introducing technology into a classroom lesson. ASSURE is an acronym.

Analyze learners
State Objectives
Select Media
Utilize Media
Require Learner Participation
Evaluate and Revise

*Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J. D., & Smaldino, S. E. (2002). Instructional media and technologies for learning (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Using Ning to Support Tele-Mentoring

  • Free, flexible platform to create both public and private online social networks
  • Provides a single location with a single log-in
  • Allows flexibility of MANY tools to support the different stages of the mentoring relationship

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ning Communication Tools

Ning Forum
The Forum tool allows all users to create and reply to asynchronous discussion and upload files. You can choose to follow individual forums, and receive email notifications when any one posts a comment or reply. Network members can also choose to follow the entire Forum tool, and receive email notification any time a new forum is created.

Ning Messages is an internal email system. The Messages tool protects your email account from other members of the network. When you receive a message through Ning, it automatically sends a notification to the email account associated with your Ning account. Through the Ning applications available on your My Page area, you can integrate your Yahoo Mail and Gmail accounts.

Ning contains a basic chat tool, using plain text plus a few emoticons. The tool is accessed through the status bar of your Web browser. The chat tool can “pop out” and become a separate browser window, or it can remained anchored at the bottom of the page. Though chat is often used for administrative functions and information sharing, Reynard (2008) promotes using chat for moving critical thinking processes forward. Through the Ning Applications features, users can also integrate the more powerful Yahoo! Chat, as well as Gmail chat.

Reynard, R. (2008, December). Using chat to move the thinking process forward. Technological Horizons In Education Journal, 35(12), 4.

Comments can be enabled on nearly every feature within Ning. Enabling comments allows any user to post text-based replies to other users comments. The Comments tool can effectively transform Pages and Notes tools from technologies for creating content to technologies for communication and dialogue.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ning Tools to Create, Publish & Present Content

Ning Pages
Ning Pages are places where administrators can generate and format content using HTML. The Pages feature is currently an administrator-only tool by default. Network owners can delegate administrator privileges to individual tools, such as Pages, to other members of the network.

Ning Notes
Ning Notes is an internal wiki tool Ning. Users can very easily link pages to one another. The tool does not require any HTML knowledge; it allows formatting through a basic WYSIWYG (What You See Is What Your Get) editor. Again, this is a default administrator-only tool that can be delegated to users.

Ning Blog
By default, every member of a Ning network has a blog for posting anything they like -- sharing articles, journaling, or sharing issues on which they would like feedback. Ning blogs automatically have comments enabled to support dialog between members.

Ning Photos and Flickr Integration
A photo upload and sharing tool is integrated in Ning. Every user can upload, share, display, tag, and comment on photos. Photos can be uploaded in bulk, and played in a slideshow format. Ning also allows users to add and display images from their Flickr photo sharing account and to submit photos by phone or email. Ning will display slide shows of member photos.

Ning Music
Ning’s Music tool allows uploading of 100 .mp3 audio files. The Music tool allows members to share songs, audio recordings, original music, and interviews, significantly expanding presentation and sharing capabilities of the site.

Ning Video
The Ning Video tools allow members to easily upload videos up to 100 MB in size in the .mov, .mpg, .avi, .wmv and .3gp file formats. Videos may also be uploaded via phone or email. Ning Video also support the embedding of YouTube, Google videos, and SlideShare/Slidecast presentations using the embed code feature. More information on ShareShare is available in the Google Applications Suite section.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ning Tools to Organize & Share Content

RSS Ning Application
The RSS application allows you to mash and display up to five RSS feeds on your My Page profile area. The application is an excellent to aggregate news and research. Two RSS feeds to consider including for research purposes are Google Alerts and Delicious. Google Alerts, a tool that updates an RSS feed with the newest Google search results for the criteria you select. Delicious creates an RSS feed for every keyword, or tag, used to describe a Web site. Essentially, Delicious feeds can be considered a filtered or refined search based on articles and Web sites that other Delicious users have found relevant.

Tagging in Ning
Whenever a piece of content (photo, video, page, note, etc.) is added to Ning, the author can add tags. A tag is “a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information” (“Tag,” 2009). Tags help content to be located more easily through searches.

Tag (metadata). (2009). In Wikipedia. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from

Text Boxes on My Page
The Text Box tool in the My Page area for each user will allow them to embed tag clouds from Delicious social bookmarking ( and many other types of content including YouTube videos, images, Word documents, and more. Ning Application
The application allows you to upload and share all types of files in Ning. If you do not already have a account, the Ning application prompts you to register.

Google Services Ning Application
By adding the Google Services application to your My Page profile, you can integrate the benefits of myriad Google tools into your Ning network, including Search, Maps, Blogger, Gmail, and Chat.