More Gulf institutions turning to education technology

A shift from lecture-style classrooms to active-learning environments not only increases student engagement but also improves retention and recruitment rates, say experts

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Staff Report

Technology is playing a key role in transforming the learning process in the Gulf region as educational institutions are investing heavily to shift from lecture-style classrooms to active-learning environments, say experts.

According to Patrick Hayes, Director at British Educational Suppliers Association, “The strategy not only enhances the knowledge of the students via increased engagement but also improves retention and recruitment rates at the end of their studies.”

“Technology benefits schools and students many ways. Some of the technology may not directly drive education but reduces the workload of teachers. If we have happy teachers it’s all about benefiting children. Technology benefits schools that’s the reason UK educators spend half a billion pounds per annum on technology,” said Hayes, who was attending the Global Educational Supplies & Solutions (GESS) exhibition in Dubai.

Stressing on the importance of the role of technology in boosting the learning experience in the classrooms, Venkatasubramanian Hariharan, Business Unit Director B2C, Canon Middle East, said, “It has been reported that by 2020 there will be 175,000 class spaces coming up in the UAE. At Canon, we believe four walls of the classroom is not just education, it’s beyond the four walls. The way technology is moving you see right from education intelligence to big data and interactive displays, there are multiple things coming more and more in the schools.”

Highlighting the benefits of technology in the classrooms, Duncan Kemp, International Business Development Manager, pi-top, said, “Technology, used correctly, makes lessons and learning better. By correctly I mean teachers and educators who have the confidence and skills to coach and mentor students and bring different subjects to life through technology. Technology has allowed educators to access new ways of teaching that weren’t possible previously. It allows students to become more creative, whereby they can create products or use code to solve the real world problems that matter to them.”

Speaking on “Online Learning: A Case for Flipped Classrooms in the UAE” during the Future Learning session at GESS 2019, Claire Hazenburg, Classroom Technology Teacher, Australian International School, Sharjah, said, “Technology benefits teachers in terms of efficiency. We get contents to students more quickly through technology and it helps students build their capacity through digital literacy. About 80 per cent of students are happy with the technology use and 20 per cent are reluctant to participate that’s might be a challenge for the time being.”

On being asked if increasing the role of technology is making education expensive for students, Osama Mohammed Idrees of Mohammed Bin Hamad School said, “No. It does not make it expensive since schools have high numbers of students.

Mona Al Laham from Saudi Arabia also agreed with Mohammed. “Well books are not cheap as well. So, it’s kind of in the middle,” she said.

Ali Akbar, a teacher from India-based Attalim School said, “Five years ago, the education technology was considered expensive for schools. But it has gradually become affordable.” – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com