Hear Heather Castaneda-Ponce's story about designing and managing classroom projects with 400 students in less than two weeks using the Project Pals...
Deborah Almond Shares How Project Pals Supercharged Her Tutoring Service
Deborah Almond, founder of Realme Education in South Africa, shares how she uses Project Pals to empower her students to enter the digital workforce.
Deborah Almond is the founder of Realme Education, a tutoring and training service located in Bedfordview, South Africa.
Prepare teenagers for a technologically advanced future—an issue that's especially important in South Africa, which ranks 60th out of 64 economies in terms of digital competitiveness.
Deborah is quick to point out these problems to parents on her consulting site. But she also offers a solution: a changing world must be met with a change in education.
By providing her students with an individualized education tailored to their interests and packed with technical and 21st century skills, she can empower them to excel in the digital workforce.
And Project Pals is helping her do it.
An Interview with Deborah Almond from Realme Education
We asked Deborah about her attraction to project-based learning and experience with tutoring her students on our platform. This interview is the latest in our Highlighting Our Amazing Educators series, which shares interviews and testimonials from our teachers.
Please introduce yourself and a little bit about your tutoring business!
I'm Deborah Almond from South Africa, and we are a learning centre of 25 learners and 3 facilitators. Learners work on their own or in groups at a pace that works for them. The facilitators aid the learners when they need help. We encourage learners to take responsibility for their education and 21st century skills are introduced to them.
Learners listen a facilitator at Realme Education (Source: Realme Education Facebook)
What about project-based learning (PBL) appeals to you?
I love the idea of PBL as it helps learners to develop communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills. It allows them to share ideas amongst themselves and then see if they can bring the idea into reality.
How have your students responded to PBL on Project Pals?
The majority of the learners are boys and at first I thought they would not be keen to use the platform for PBL. They surprised me with the feedback I received. They got very involved in the projects and enjoyed the fact that it is really easy to create their projects. I was amazed at how well they responded in using all the tools provided on the platform.
We used the platform for projects during the lockdown, as Project Pals works in real time for the whole team, and it made it so easy to manage the teams.
What’s something you’ve been able to achieve with Project Pals that you couldn’t have done before?
I know that Project Pals is used more for team projects. It was great using Project Pals templates that had already been created to keep them busy during lockdown and I needed to monitor their academic work.
I was looking for a way that I could set out the work program for each individual learner and have them write their work on it, instead of sending emails etc. While I had used Project Pals for projects, I decided to try using the platform to achieve this.
I created a template for each subject and added each learner as a class, placing whichever subject they were doing into their class. This has worked like a charm. If I needed to know what work they had done for that day, I would just go click on their name, then the subject and I could see all their work as well as mark and comment on it. We are not in lockdown anymore and I have decided to continue working this way with my learners at the centre.
Students collaborate using technology (Source: Realme Education Facebook)
How has Project Pals affected your experience with distance learning?
Project Pals was the best thing that happened when we all had to go online. Project Pals has managed to create a platform that made distance learning feel like we were all together in one place still.
Project Pals has made our experience with distance learning easy, enjoyable and user-friendly.
Project Pals added school templates + a student orientation project based on user feedback. How would you improve our platform?
At this point I am very happy.
What are some of your favorite student projects?
Global Problem Solvers (GPS) Session 1
This is a Cisco program created for teachers to help educate learners about global problems. I used the information and guidance from the platform to create projects for the learners to do in teams. The idea is for them to learn about the Session 1 problem and research a global problem that they would like to solve.
Students are introduced to the GPS series characters and their superpowers
Each team member lists their strengths and role models in a mind-mapping session
Students use text boxes, images, and relationships to unpack one of the GPS problems
Hear Deborah Share Her Experience Using Project Pals