As teachers, we have to keep up to date with the ever changing education world. Constant professional development is a must in our endeavor as educators. Pamoja Education teachers go through a professional development course before starting their online teaching, this is what this year’s cohort (2016) have to say about it…
The experience I have had training with Pamoja has been life changing. I came into it with some skepticism about the online education format, but was quickly surprised by how warm and supportive this type of system can be. It has been so refreshing to be a part of this educational paradigm shift. I am looking forward to continued involvement! -Mary H.-
I found the summer training for Pamoja extremely useful in preparing me for online teaching. While I have used some of the tools under different platforms than Canvas, it was ideal to have all of these resources combined into one central site. Without the training, I do not believe that I would be prepared to adequately meet the needs of our online students as they balance the requirements of both a traditional and digital offering of the IB program. While I expect that there still may be a learning curve when I start my first online class, the training and feedback I received has provided me with the essential knowledge of how classes are delivered via Pamoja. – Joseph B.-
It was intense with lots of very useful information. It was also an opportunity to meet experts from different backgrounds and cultures, to talk to them, collaborate, share ideas and thoughts and learn from them. It was also a pleasure building relationships with colleagues. The last 6 weeks were a worthwhile new experience for me, very enriching! It made me think about my teaching style and strategies. I enjoyed all parts of it, the readings, discussions, chats, collaboration and Live lessons. This course will definitely have an impact on me, it will help me grow as an IB teacher making first steps to become an online teacher. Online teaching destroys the geographical barriers site-based schools impose on us as teachers. Thanks to this invaluable experience, I feel like a global teacher, capable of reaching and supporting students and education everywhere. -Amel L-
I am in the final two weeks of the Pamoja training course, having completed the 6 week starter course and two of the four weeks of the foundation teaching course. All I can say is WOW! Pamoja has come a long way from its early days when it was working with the Virtual High School in the US. How do I know? I was there in the early days and taught one of the first ITGS courses and helped establish and write some of the content and curriculum.
After a few years away, I am glad to be joining back up with Pamoja as I can now see that the technology, the pedagogy and the support structures are all fully in place to really ensure students are successful in their online learning of their IB Diploma courses. The two training courses are now so comprehensive I feel so much better prepared than my first time teaching for Pamoja. Whether it is the Big Blue Button, the chat, the forums, the interactive content – students are going to thoroughly enjoy their experience in the coming years and almost as importantly learn so much for their future lives in their virtual professional careers.
So no excuses now for any student anywhere in the world to not study the best IB Diploma course of all – Information Technology in a Global Society. Just give it a try! -Alan P.-
The Pamoja training course really kept me on my toes! The course was an incredible amount of work and reading, but it was very rewarding, in that I learned so much in the technical realm. I feel that I have a lot of new tools to use in my f2f teaching as well as in the online world. I have had other teachers in my school ask me to give them tutorials on some of the tools we learned in the Pamoja course, such as Jing. I feel that I’m as prepared as I can be for September! -Melisa H.-
This summer I have been lucky enough to take part in the Pamoja training course, learning how Canvas can be used to deliver an online curriculum to students from around the world, representing different countries, different cultures and interests. From the Learner profile to Approaches to Learning, I have been getting up to speed not only with the International Baccalaureate requirements, but also the philosophy and best practices that are employed within the world’s only IB approved online school. Learning how to navigate the BBB was a lot of fun, once I had made 2 – 3 videos and understood how it works and what it looks like for both student and teacher.
Completing all the modules on time, did provide challenges as I did not always have suitable online access due to my summer travels. However the support I experienced was fantastic and whenever I had issues I was supported with understanding, patience and generosity and for that I am grateful.
I am now excited to get started, only then do I feel will I truly get a full understanding of the way the system works. -Steve C.-
The 6 weeks training course designed by Pamoja is really helpful for teachers who are new to online environment. The course modules take you through the processes and systems followed at Pamoja. The syllabus is wisely devised, giving the opportunities to understand the jargon used at Pamoja and also practice the various tools used by Pamoja teachers. It certainly gave me clarity on the teaching process followed at Pamoja and also the hands-on experience of creating assignments, announcements and conducting conferences. I also got to know about various online tools which can be used to give effective feedback in online as well as f2f environment. The faculty advisors were always available to guide and it really was a big support throughout the training course. -Aprajita V.-
‘Intense’, ‘thought provoking’ and ‘extremely rewarding’- these three phrases could encapsulate the true essences of my journey through the Pamoja Education Training in last 6 weeks. I was thrown into the ocean of challenges, which initially looked daunting. But as each week progressed by, I found more foothold. I was quite convinced that online education is the future and I wanted to learn more about how online content could be delivered. Over the last 6 weeks, I didn’t only learn the rope of the game, I also have gone through several cut-throat research papers on education, have seen some of the best videos and have skimmed through some of the most well-designed presentations.
I appreciate the prompt responses and feedback provided by the trainers and my wonderful colleagues. PJE faculties showed patience when I had to juggle my time between my IBEN commitments, moving house and family holidays and not being able to submit an assignment on time. Thanks PJE for giving me the opportunity. I am looking forward to delivering the course soon! -Tanusankar C.-
The Teaching Foundation Course provides the opportunity to connect and reflect with our future colleagues, both new and leaders, as we go deeper into the workings of Pamoja courses. It was particularly useful to participate in or listen to the recorded conferences, as that was a great opportunity to be a part of the Pamoja community. Our leaders also used the conferences to give us detailed answers to specific questions — and it’s great to hear a voice with a name.-Kris K.-
The PAMOJA training gives an extensive knowledge of the web based tools. When I started with the training I was under the impression that whatever I was going to learn would be restricted to the “Online Classroom” but I have learnt a lot of teaching strategies and ideas which would help making the classroom teaching very focused, innovative and interesting.
What came across as a very interesting aspect of the whole teaching was the idea of sharing knowledge and building upon it with the help of your colleagues rather than being on your own. Every week there was something new that I learnt and it’s a great feeling treading a great distance with PAMOJA TRAINING COURSE. -Sonia S.-
The Pamoja Training course 2016 was very well organised, effective and very useful. Although I was familiar with most of the tools, the course has introduced a strategic way of using all of them in order to help the student.
All the Pamoja colleagues made their best to train us and helped us to feel comfortable during the whole process.
Finally the Canvas environment is perhaps one of the best tools to be used for this specific purpose of online teaching. -George K.-
I found the Teacher Foundation training course to be be very helpful in developing the virtual ‘mindset’ of the teaching environment I will be expected to work in as a Pamoja educator. The course is a simulated class similar to what the students will experience. I found this opportunity to be very helpful. Our advisors held us to similar standards as a Pamoja student with helpful support and check-ins. This modeling got me thinking about my role and responsibilities as a Pamoja educator. The opportunities to practice the tools and interact with colleagues was invaluable as well. -Angelia C.-
I have recently completed the Pamoja Education induction course which I found to be challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. The biggest thing that I took away from the course was the quality of the tools available and their ease of use. I do not claim to be an expert, but I feel that I have all the skills I require to go on and start working with the software on a near daily basis. I find the videos are enormously helpful and I know that help was and is just around the corner, or a few clicks of a mouse anyway. -Christopher J.-
Pamoja Education 2016 summer induction course certainly kept us engaged as busy and productive bees. We learned by doing, interacting and modeling from our own instructors. In other words living the XXI century UNESCO Education mandate with innovation for quality and inclusion. Whenever we felt confused, there were always many ways to receive feedback and clarification. If ever we had experienced stage fright, we certainly conquered it by rehearsing or repeating our recorded scripts until we managed our objective. Once the screencasts were published a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction took over. Every bit of information turned out to be worthwhile, especially if our goal is to become online facilitators.
Best six weeks training in a long time: looking forward to the real hands-on adventure with IB students from many different countries! -Clara G.-
I think this course is the best practice of a modern multimedia online learning and teaching course.
Designed with a simple, straightforward with informative video tutorials and explanation that allow students to flow easily between topics and modules, along with the discussion board are some of the best features of this course. Really enjoy the learning experience. -Yanfen S.-
During six weeks of teacher orientation I have seen just how much my novice skills for integrating technology has been revamped and redesigned to that of advanced-beginner for long-term memory storage. The facilitated training was very intense coupled with PJE mentoring was genuine, creative and motivating. But all my deliberations would be for naught if my PJE teachers did not have the patience, availability and open communication dedicated for my success. –Julius W.-
The teacher training course is a bit hectic but rewarding, I learnt so many pedagogical skills. Honestly I realized that teaching on line is fun, the collaboration that is facilitated by canvas makes teaching and learning fun. I have always been looking for a way of emphasizing international mindedness, Pamoja and its online education gives me this experience as I will get this information straight from the students coming out of a diversity of cultures. -Charles S.-
I found very useful tools for teaching online. The PLC can help us a lot, we can learn from each other. Even if we belong to different subjects. Pamoja has a superb learning environment, to concentrate in teaching the student and not the subject. BBB is an extraordinary way of communication. Being able to use blogs, wikis, etc. can be very helpful for the student to share information, and points of view. The student has to be committed but we have plenty of pathways to engage them. -Elisabeth V.-
I have found the Teacher Training course a real challenge as well as very useful. I managed to complete all the assignments even though sometimes I was a bit overwhelmed by the expectations but as I made it I realized I am a risk taker….I felt had a lot of help and support all though the course and I am very grateful for this.
It was really interesting to be an online student in order to sympathize with my students in the future when I’ll be their online teacher. It gave me a good insight of the difficulties they will encounter.
At the end of the course I felt quite proud and more confident. Thanks for this opportunity. -Myriam I.-
I came into the training a tad scared for I was not very comfortable with online education. However, now I feel that this is such a powerful medium for learning. Not only is it more engaging, it also provides a gateway to all the rich digital content that is there on the internet. Besides, the help that one gets from the community is just unbelievable. I never found such camaraderie from men and women in flesh and blood in any of the schools that I taught in. I am really looking forward to welcoming my first batch of students and to having a great year at Pamoja. -Gautam K.-
I have had an extremely busy summer break. At the very last minute I was invited to take part in the 2016 Orientation for Teaching Online. I had already booked a summer holiday with the family in The Philippines. I spent two weeks searching for cafes on the island of Palawan for an internet connection so I could complete the first 2 modules. Once home I had to start packing, as this summer I changed jobs and moved from Cambodia to China. By the time the orientation course had finished I was living out of a suitcase in a hotel looking for somewhere to live in Shanghai. Just as I settled in Shanghai the 2016 Teacher Foundation Training course started and I found myself working through the modules as I also started work at my new school. I hope the coming months are not as hectic. I look forward to teaching online for Pamoja. I have been an online facilitator for HL mathematics for the past 6 years and have enjoyed mentoring and challenging my peers online. Teaching students will be a big change and it is something that I think will be very rewarding. I look forward to the new Pamoja academic year. -Peter M.-
The Teacher Training course was really effectively organized in all aspects but also very student friendly- in this case teacher friendly! It was also well balanced with links to videos and resource materials and each module was carefully thought out and planned and really fulfilled the aim of motivating teachers to this new method of online teaching! It is also designed to facilitate easy reference for later on in the course when further questions may arise. Congratulations to Pamoja for this course which was very productive and inspiring! -Sally F.-
I would like to point out a couple of things that I found most remarkable about the course. One is the technologies that Pamoja uses, which are, in my opinion, state of the art in Education; and the other is the access to a community of practice where teachers (and students) can share and collaborate with peers in the same course, which is not always an easy task in the IB due to its international nature. -Requel P.-
I enjoyed every minute of my training at so many different levels. First of all, the Pamoja team felt like a family. They were there every step we took to help us, support us and encourage us. I felt so supported, welcomed and cared for by all the Pamoja team.
Also, the training gave me the opportunity to get to know tools that will be help students learn better. We were given the opportunity to use these tools and familiarize ourselves with them.
Finally, we were introduced to the expectations on collaboration and communication at different levels.
Thank you so much to the Pamoja team for making this an amazing experience. -Loreto A.-
I started the Teacher Training Program this June, very apprehensive and unsure if I would survive it. I was a computer dinosaur, and very stressed about having to learn new computer skills. Today, we are into the last week of the 10 week course, and I could not be more self satisfied. I am so much more computer savvy now, and the whole process could not have been better. Meeting colleagues from around the world, and working with amazing FAs, mentors and Help Team, what more could I ask for. I started out a hard core believer of f2f teaching, having done it for 20 plus years, but today, I am not so sure, and I may be a convert. The whole learning environment has been encouraging, positive and very collaborative. I am so glad I talked myself into doing it. I think that as a result of this training, I will be able to bring more to my f2f teaching. -Hemalatha R.-
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”