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By 2020, all UAE public schools will integrate smart learning

Published: 16/05/2014 04:26:15 PM GMT
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014Dubai: By 2020, all 440 UAE public schools will integrate smart technology in their classrooms, the Director- (more)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dubai: By 2020, all 440 UAE public schools will integrate smart technology in their classrooms, the Director-General of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme said.

Eng Mohammad Gheyath, Director-General of the programme, also said they are testing out the programme in a special needs centre. “We have set up [the programme] in Al Amal Special Needs Centre. We provided them with the needed tablets and tools as well as training. Based on the outcome we hope to set up the programme in more special needs facilities.”

Speaking at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme Award Ceremony held on Tuesday, Gheyath said the smart learning programme provides students with a more interactive environment than traditional learning.

The award ceremony celebrated the success of the programme after one year of implementation, by honouring education districts, schools and partners who helped integrate the programme in UAE public schools.

So far, grade seven students from 123 schools have been integrated in the smart learning programme, which was launched in September 2012. The 123 schools include 11,402 students, 440 classes and 1,480 teachers.

In 2015, 123 more schools will be integrated and the programme will include all grade eight students. The total cost of this programme from September 2012 until September 2015 will Dh253 million.

Gheyath said all 440 schools will be integrated by 2019 or 2020.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Humaid Mohammad Al Qatami, Minister of Education, said: “The programme is not about iPads and smart boards. It is about utilising these tools to provide an environment where students are happy and learn in an interactive way,” said Al Qutami.

Elaborating on the mechanism of the programme, Khalid Al Hammadi, Research and Development Adviser of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme, said: “When we set up in a school we don’t only provide the technology, we also make changes from A to Z, such as enhancing the school’s infrastructure, providing the teaching material and teacher training.”

Al Hammadi said the training mostly focuses on changing the teachers’ perception. He also said the programme helps students overcome their shyness. “Using the smart board (a screen-like board where teachers can show videos, make Power Point presentations, send work to students and even write on it) has been especially effective. Since it is more interactive we see students overcoming their shyness and presenting more confidently.”

During the ceremony, four schools were awarded for best leadership, best student practices, best teacher practices and people’s choice.

Gulf News spoke to some school staff who were awarded at the ceremony.

Shaikha Al Sharqi, Principal of Al Fujairah Basic & Secondary School for Girls, which won the people’s choice award, said: “The programme has truly been an educational transformation for our school. The students are more enthusiastic, the teachers are challenged and engaged. We are looking forward to the future when more classes are included.”

Salamah Al Ka’abi, maths teacher from the Al Mzayree Basic & Secondary School for Girls, which won the Best School Leadership Practice award, said: “We won because of the leadership of our school. They successfully delegated tasks and had an effective role in communicating what needed to be done.”

By Noor Nazzal Staff Reporter

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