Since the mid-1980s peer mediation has been the most commonly used conflict resolution education program in the United States. Research indicates that as many as 25% of US schools have had peer mediation programs serving grades 3 to 12 and many programs in large urban districts are districtwide.
However, three important changes in the educational and social context now suggest the need for an online version of peer mediation.
1 Significant and Increasing Online Public Education
In formal educational contexts (K through 12) the increase in online schools has skyrocketed. Approximately 3 million K through 12 students are now enrolled in free, online public schools, which are not served by peer mediation.
2 Prevalence and Preference for Online Communication
Current school age generation prefers to communicate online. For the millions of students in conventional K through 12 schools, community groups, or youth organizations, online peer mediation opportunity is more congruent with their use of social media and communication technology.
3 Global Peer Mediation Growth
Peer mediation programs have been growing not only in the United States, but also around the world. In fact, much of the increase in peer mediation since 2000 has happened in Europe, Australia and South Asia.
For the reasons listed above, in December of 2014 the Association for Conflict Resolution Education Section received a 2 year grant from the JAMS Foundation to launch a new project called Online Peer Mediation Platform (OPMP).
Online Peer Mediation Platform Goals
The four goals of our Online Peer Mediation Platform are:
1. Show how students from ages 10 to 18 can learn online how to become peer mediators.
2. Show how students can practice their peer mediation skills online with the assistance of qualified mentors.
3. Show how students can offer online peer mediation services. This OPMP component will be available in 2016.
4. Provide anyone who is interested in peer mediation extensive information on this topic.
For more information, visit the OPMP website at http://peermediationonline.org and contact our team.
Judy Tindall – President, National Association of Peer Program Professionals
Dr. Cynthia Morton – Chair of Education Research and Teaching Section, ACR
Prof. Karen DeVoogd – MA, Director Mediator Mentors, California State University Fresno, Fresno CA
Jay Edwards, Website Consultant - ReelFire Productions.
Giuseppe Leone – Founder of Virtual Mediation Lab