Expect more high-tech tools in UAE schools from this year on
As virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain take over the world, the education sector is seeing major changes when it comes to technology.
Khaleej Times has previously reported about how teachers are using virtual reality to take students to historical events and famous landmarks. Some schools have also introduced AI-powered teacher assistants.
If many classrooms have already become so advanced, what’s in store for 2019? Digital transformations are happening around the world and classrooms are no exception.
The director of teaching, learning and innovation at Gems Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis (WSO), Helen Loxston-Baker, said students at her school are using digital notebooks to store all of their work.
“At WSO, we are continuing to focus on how to develop our approach to blended learning, and we have launched the use of Microsoft Teams and OneNote. In conjunction, we want to create a classroom space for students to collaborate digitally as well as record all of their learning in one place in their digital notebook,” she said.
“Teachers can also mark students’ work live, giving instant feedback. Accessibility tools for students with different learning needs now come as integrated features, such as the immersive reader in Microsoft products. These products help personalise the learning experience for all students. Let’s hope we see more features to support personalisation in the future.”
However, caution should be exercised, she said. It’s not about what technology is being used, but how teachers are ensuring that new digital products are being used to transform learning.
Virtual, augmented reality
Lena Bell, head of innovation at Gems International School in Al Khail, believes more virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) will continue to influence classrooms this year.
“Younger students’ VR/AR creation apps will become increasingly available and more diverse. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become such an important part of our daily lives. I believe IoT will continue to transform classrooms Develop their understanding of tech as a tool Help personalise learning experiences
digitally as it plays a major role in personalising learning experiences,” Bell said. “It allows digital classrooms to become flipped classrooms and increases the potential for immediate feedback with real-time applications and online collaboration between students and teachers.
“Schools will continue to develop their understanding of technology as a tool and not as a toy, which will Give them instant, real-time feedback from teachers Provide new space to collaborate with others
empower students to succeed in an unknown future.”
Responsible digital citizenship
Another focus for this year is teaching students how to be more digitally responsible, especially when it comes to social media.
Bell added: “With social media playing an ever-increasing role in society, students of all ages are quite familiar with its various platforms. Those with different needs learn better with new tools
In primary school, it has become increasingly important to spend time developing students’ digital citizenship and critical thinking skills. This is not a new topic by any means, but as its importance and prevalence increase, teachers need to set an example on how to be responsible with social media and provide safe platforms for students to collaborate and share ideas.” Integrating technology into the classroom provides access to an incredible number of opportunities. A technologically driven class gains more importance as it helps develop digital citizenship skills where students learn how to use technology responsibly, and prepares them for the future.
Class to the future
Schools will continue to develop students’ understanding of technology as a tool and not as a toy, empowering them to succeed in an unknown future.”
Lena Bell, head of innovation, Gems
International School in Al Khail
Schoolchildren are introduced to new technologies that prepare them for the future and help them become responsible users.