College in Savai'i embrace online learning
The Principal, teachers, and students of Amoa College in Savai'i have welcomed the launch of a new online classroom platform developed by the Samoa Information Technology Association (S.I.T.A) with open arms.
Amoa College is among the first few schools in the country to trial the platform.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, the Principal of the School, Papali'i Fa'aiutaua Anderson, said such a platform is essential for learning.
"Communication and connectivity are very important when it comes to learning," she said.
"Looking ahead, this (platform) will ensure that our students still have access to all the learning materials and resources available online for them if, for instance another dangerous disease reaches our shore.
"It will mean that they (students) will not stop learning even if they do not come to the classrooms. So even if there are going to be any other lockdowns in the future, this platform will connect us (teachers) and the students online and enable us teachers to reach out to our students."
Papali'i added that S.I.T.A offers an opportunity for the teachers to connect with the students during the weekends and holidays.
"With the lockdown that we had previously, there was a bit of slack with our students learning and being up to date with the syllabus.
"Even though we worked something out by sending them homework during the lockdown, they still need a lot of catching up to do. However, with S.I.T.A, this will provide an opportunity for our students to have access to whatever they need for their assignments even during the weekend and after school hours.
"Most of the students spend too much time on unnecessary things during night time, and we are hoping that they will use this opportunity wisely so they can continue to learn.
Planning ahead, according to Papali'i, is another plus of the newly developed platform.
"With Moodle, the teachers can put up notes and activities of the whole week online for the students. That means before the students come to class, they will have a fair idea of what is going to happen in class.
"They already have read the notes and will be able to stay connected with the teacher on what goes on inside the class.
"It can also help with the problem of procrastination and last-minute assignments.
"Another advantage of moodle is that it provides a platform for all the students of Samoa to communicate and share ideas on various subjects that are taught in class.
"It also connects us (teachers) from Savai'i with the teachers in Upolu and shares our ideas on how to help our students with their learning.
"Not only that but it's good exposure for both teachers and students. It's vital in learning as I mentioned earlier."
Papali'i also used the opportunity to thank the President and members of S.I.T.A for responding to their request.
The Head Boy of Amoa College, Neli Pola, was all giggles and smiles when asked about his opinion on S.I.T.A and the newly developed platform for schools in Samoa.
"What a time to be alive," the 17-year-old told the Samoa Observer.
"I'm excited and grateful that something such as this was launched in our time.
"As a final year student, I am happy that we were exposed and introduced to this before moving on to University.
"It makes learning very interesting and exciting, in my opinion."
Mr. Pola said they are still at the early stages of how moodle works, but he is optimistic about the future.
"This will help us learn more and makes learning so much easier and fun.
"Not only that but just like what they say, tomorrow is not promised. We do not know what will happen tomorrow or next week and other unpredictable factors can cause a delay in learning.
"However, with this platform, it means that we will still have the chance to learn and be up-to-date with our studies even if we do it from our homes.
"Another advantage of this is that, by the time we get up to University (God willing), we will have a fair idea of how moodle works and will not have any problem trying to familiarize ourselves with getting updates from teachers and submission of assignments online.
"We are grateful to those who came up with this platform.
"We are all looking forward to using it and it will without a doubt help us a lot with our studies."
S.I.T.A has conducted virtual meetings with schools in Savai'i such as Amoa College, Mataevave College, and the E.F.K.S Vocational and Technical College to introduce the platform to these schools.
Last week, the Minister of Communication, Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai, delivered a keynote address at Itu o Tane College after the school had joined the programme.
In his keynote address, he pointed out the importance of the Government's vision to utilise technology and get ready for a digital educational transformation.
According to the Minister, schools between Upolu and Savai’i are on a level playing field and are now very unlikely for students to miss a class as they are now able to access quality education, via technology.
Afamasaga said that it is very important for students to use the opportunity wisely and spend more time learning than on social media. Afamasaga concluded by thanking the principals of schools who joined in Savai'i for making use of the opportunity and to the President of S.I.T.A, executive, and members for developing this E-learning platform.
Seven schools have registered in the program.