Enrollment in the Mentor Matching Engine (MME) is over 200 and continues to grow, driving CoolHub membership over 2,100. This is the beta year for the MME, as we develop essential features to make this a power tool for personalized learning in STEM.
Here's how it works: an MME Admin invites a Teacher or Mentor or Mentor Supervisor to join. Once the invitation is accepted and account created, the new member may invite others to participate: Teachers may invite Students, other Teachers and Mentors, Mentor Supervisors and Mentors may invite Mentors. Teachers come from one of fifteen schools piloting the MME this school year (see below). Mentors and Mentor Supervisors are employed at research universities, industries and other STEM businesses. If you would like to learn more about being a mentor, click here.
One of the essential features of the MME is safety: all mentors and mentor supervisors pass a background check and communicate with students using only the tools within the platform. No outside email. No outside meetings. One of the unique features of the MME is a further safeguard: the teacher has access to all his or her student-mentor communications and helps facilitate the learning.
At this point students have begun research projects with input from mentors as well as their teachers. Here's a sample of project titles:
- How effective are different types of acne medication on acne-causing bacteria?
- Which Anti-virus program can detect and remove viruses effectively?
- The Effect of Biochar on Water Pollutants
- What effects will increased free radical creation have on the lifespan of Drosophila Melanogaster?
- Does vitamin D supplementation prevent the negative effects of high glucose in C. elegans?
Schools participating in the Pilot: Chicago Vocational Career Academy, Hinsdale Central High School, Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, Lane Tech High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Muchin College Prep, Niles North High School, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Palatine High School, Peoria High Schools, Thornton Township High School, Waukegan High School and Wheeling High School.
Next time: More about the organizations providing mentors.