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Research Indicates Technological Shift In Schools Of Dubai And UAE – 2015

The future of education can be best described as disruptive innovation as research findings suggest that adapting of new technological platforms are revolutionizing various education segments which not only includes the K-12 schooling, but also higher education, vocational and corporate online training segments as well.

There is a global movement towards helping children develop 21st-century skills, including the ability to create and maintain positive interpersonal relationships, adaptability, creativity and technological know-how. Today, the teachers are focusing on steering children [in the right direction] as they develop self-confidence and learn social values and etiquette.

In line with the global movement, Dubai government is determined to become a knowledge-based economy as well by calling for modern teaching methods. The latest report by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) advised schools to reduce the over-reliance on textbook-driven teaching strategies. Instead, the authority called on schools to increase the opportunities for students to reflect and work independently.

Similarly, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has also adopted the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program (MBRSLP), which aims to transform all 440 public schools into smart schools by equipping them classrooms with smart technology by 2020.

The initiative, which was launched in 2012 by H.H. Shaikh Mohammad, is part of the country’s national agenda. The program is not only about providing schools with the technology but also about training teachers and school management on how to best integrate and use these tools for the benefit of the students.

Establishing a connection between real-life situations and teaching methodologies is a must for schools whereby the scope of knowledge needs to address pressing socio-economic realities of today. Hence, it is important to prepare present-day learners how to face the challenges posed by environmental changes and the demand and supply inequality in tomorrow’s job market, which is created as a result of explosion of technological solutions.

Nonetheless, modern methods are used in Dubai schools which have technology-driven classrooms, to continuously evaluate and encourage, inquiry-based learning, emphasis on understanding of concepts, linking curriculum with life, BYOD – Bring your own device, flipped classroom, problem-based learning, and integrative and social responsibility and civic engagement.

Educators in Dubai believe that having a curriculum framework defined by international age-related expectations and comprehensive education is required as the rise of technology urges students to be prepared with the necessary skills. On similar lines, schools in Dubai are also constantly reviewing and revitalizing their policies and syllabus to enable them based on feedback given by KHDA.

More schools in UAE are adopting smart learning; the MBRSLP has deployed 2,263 laptops for teachers and 800 smart boards in each of the program’s classrooms, reaching 12,926 students across 146 schools in the UAE in 2014. Classroom innovation, as in smart interactive boards are used in schools to enable better learning and greater comprehension; it provides exceptional education in a range of learning styles, particularly kinesthetic and visual.

Private Schools in Dubai are also keen to use latest technologies in education; for example, The Universal American School (UAS) in Dubai has been named the first SMART Showcase School in the United Arab Emirates. Kings’ Dubai School also equips cutting-edge campus with SMART Board interactive whiteboards.

Research Konnection spoke to Ms. Zulekha Wasi, a teacher at Gems Winchester School Dubai. She pointed out that Teachers are embracing many online video interactive platforms to teach students, as these online platforms excites, engage and involves students in a more comprehensive manner. She also mentioned two websites that are used by many students for after school learning, which include Maths Wizz and myon.com; online platforms that creatively engage students to eliminate deficiencies in Maths and English.

It can be concluded that as a result of many initiatives, children in Dubai and UAE have become digital natives of a high order, using diverse technological platforms from a very young age. Summing up, this means that the education sector regulators in the country are not only encouraging children to optimize the benefits of technology in classrooms, but they are also urging them to tap their innovative impulses in their use of technology. The constantly shifting goals of education are necessitating change and moving the goal post from teacher-centric output to student-centric input.

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