Education in a Digital Age is different. And, everyone is convinced. The new dawn of disruptive education is brimming with opportunities that pleasantly interest students. Artificial Intelligence is one such technology gaining a lot of traction alike, from supporters and critics.
A general myth girdling the technology is that Artificial Intelligence in education will replace the teacher. The contradictory truth is – it will not.
It is rather, without question, a hot sector of our economy.
Devoted Teachers and Innovative Machines Make Smart Citizens
Artificial Intelligence can never replace the power of human interaction, personalized teaching, and empathetic understanding and mindful mentoring of a teacher. But it can do what it does the best – carry out tasks smartly.
Ai can accomplish tasks of grading assignments and exam-sheets, customizing curriculum for students, and automating admin tasks. While these may mark the fundamental improvements brought with Ai, the technology further upgrades to do remarkable jobs.
When yielded to its absolute genius, Artificial Intelligence can identify the areas of special need in a particular lesson. This is possible by recognizing a topic in a lesson where students mostly make mistakes. The teacher can then augment learning by giving special focus, thereby building a strong conceptional foundation.
Furthermore, the technology can be harnessed to give results based on student understanding and learning history. Google displays results basis the user behavior, Siri, Alexa and Cortana give personalized experience with user needs and commands, and Amazon suggests products by seeing purchase history. Such intelligent interactions by Ai-driven machines will revolutionize education space as well.
Students who have social anxiety or have cognitive predicaments or disorders to learning can feel more comfortable with an Ai tutor. With the confidence to excel and unhesitatingly explore, they can bid adieu to unnerving experiences. Learning must not be daunting, a student must be curious, free, and eager to explore. This can only happen when they truly involve themselves in education and love their environment.
Artificial Intelligence in classroom also means an avenue for students to indulge in self-guided learning. It also means that teaching will not limit itself to the periphery of the classroom.
VRXOne 2nd Generation is Bringing Ai to Classrooms
Students in the Middle East are benefitting from a revolutionary educational experience. They can visit any landscape of the world, or in the space and in deep blue waters – all with the help of a single device that transforms their classroom experience.
Using the VRXOne kits, around 1 million students in the Middle East have embarked on their exploratory journey of learning.
The second generation VRXOne kit is additionally powered with Artificial Intelligence to strongly augment their lessons. With an Ai-backed device, the students experience overwhelming, increasingly interactive, and highly engaging lessons including Google Expeditions, MEL Science and more. With a DIY vision and voice kit, the kit empowers student autonomy and they can guide themselves to learning.
Munfarid VRXOne kits take a big leap in experiential learning, turning the attention towards the Middle East EdTech Space.
UAE’s Appointment of Minister of Artificial Intelligence
The region raised the paradigm for innovation research and implementation when the UAE appointed Omar bin Sultan Al Olama as the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence. It sent across a strong message that the Middle East is a strong proponent of technological development.
According to Al Olama,
“With the internet, we’ve seen a generation that has so much knowledge,” he said. “I don’t think the future will have tests, exams, or strict memorization. AI will help us actually make a more collaborative and personal learning process.”
Making his stance clear on whether Artificial Intelligence would be a boon or a bane, he said,
“AI is not negative or positive. As with every technology on Earth, it really depends on how we use it and how we implement it,”
“It will help us be able to identify what each person is good at, and then allow us to determine how to make sure that everyone has the information delivery method that they need in order to excel”, he concluded.
The true vision of a productive classroom can be achieved by leveraging the positive traits of machines and teachers. The conversational nature of Ai and its supportive assistance to a teacher will soon make it ubiquitous.
2018 will be an important maturation period for the digital tools in the classroom. The educational experience of the future seems promising.
At a young age, she has bagged laurels and already inspired budding entrepreneurs around the world through her feature in ‘Dear Female Founder’. Bryony Cooper is a serial entrepreneur who has founded 3 companies and is now leading the charge as Head of IoT Program at Brinc.io, the world’s first end-to-end integrated platform designed for IoT entrepreneurs. She presently sits in the investment committee at Brinc and will soon be moving to the European leg of the branch with an exciting new opportunity.
Having a way with words, Bryony is deeply involved and extremely talented in mentoring early-stage startups. With the start-up culture deeply engraved in her experience, she has been a quality contributor to several panel discussions and committees like Web Summit, MWC (4YFN), UNIT, Meet ICT, German Trade & Invest
What inspired you to join Brinc.io?
I’m a former tech startup founder myself, and I wanted to continue working in the startup ecosystem in a role where I could share my learnings and experiences. Around 1.5 years ago, one of the Brinc founders, Bay McLaughlin, gave a talk at my workplace; he was so passionate and enthusiastic, that I had to check this company out!
It turns out that Brinc is an ideal platform for me to connect with inspiring entrepreneurs and support them through the early stages of their business, and it’s a perfect fit for my background and expertise.
I relish the idea of energizing the budding entrepreneurs and thoroughly enjoy the creative process of grooming their startup and eventually seeing them grow.
What does your current job role entail?
Since last year, I have been running the IoT Accelerator Program for Brinc MENA in Bahrain. We support global IoT entrepreneurs by accelerating their startup, right from the ‘concept’ to ‘sustainable customization’. It has been an amazing journey, highlighted by significant benchmarks; the next big milestone awaits.
I will soon be transferring to our European branch for an exciting opportunity to launch a new fund! I can’t disclose any more just yet, but I will be Chief Acceleration Officer and serving on the board.
You were featured in a critically acclaimed book ‘Dear Female Founder’. Tell us about it.
The book is a collection of letters to the next generation of female entrepreneurs – to inspire, encourage and highlight some of the challenges faced. I have always been passionate about gender diversity in the workplace, and seeing more women in leadership positions. I met the editor, Lu Li, at a tech conference, and was invited to contribute my story to the book. I felt very honoured to be able to share my startup story, and hope it resonates with other young women.
As an experienced startup mentor, how do you help the startups to connect with bigger organisations/investors?
The great thing about Bahrain being a small country is that it’s much easier to get to know the right people; we were quickly able to integrate into the startup community and establish ourselves here, forging relationships with corporates and investors alike. We have a dedicated partnership with Batelco, and we also invite mentors from large organisations to come in and coach our teams. We make introductions to our wide network where we see fit, and make sure our founders are armed with the tools they need to take those relationships forward, with clear objectives to work towards.
Besides the financial, legal, and networking aid, we help them reflect and learn on their progress. We add real value in our mentorship program through a bright and focused view.
What is the scope of IoT entrepreneurship in the Middle East?
At the moment, there is not a large amount of IoT entrepreneurs in Middle East (compared to software startups, for example). However, the first step to developing this market is to lay down the foundations, and create an ecosystem of support. Brinc is the first dedicated IoT accelerator in the region, coming from 5 years experience in Hong Kong and China, where we specialise in product development and manufacturing expertise.
Not only do we offer that bridge to China for manufacturing, but we also attract talented IoT entrepreneurs from around the globe to come to Bahrain and set up their business here. Now, IoT startups can access funding, coworking space, mentorship, a makerspace for prototyping and a full accelerator program at Brinc; we are focusing in particular on the GCC and MENA region.
Which industries in the Middle East will be impacted the most by “Internet of Things” (IoT)?
We are beginning to see the unleashed potential of Internet of Things through IoT products and applications in many sectors like health, education, manufacturing, retail and transport.
Going forward, I see a huge potential for IoT innovation in multiple industries in the Middle East. Some of our first portfolio teams have shown its impact on Agriculture and Contract-based sectors.
Sensors can transform Date Palm Agriculture and Contractor projects such as construction, oil and gas can be hugely optimized through IoT. The concept of Smart Cities will also majorly thrive on the Internet of Things. Another sector that could be greatly optimised is Transportation, for example, to save energy, reduce congestion and road accidents.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
My proudest achievements have given me the courage to continue and constantly expand my horizons.
Raising $90,000 seed investment on my first ever startup pitch, and going on to raise over $2 Million in our cloud startup T Dispatch was a testament, that hard work always pays back multiplied. Another achievement that enthralled me was winning clients on every continent. Also, I recorded 3 albums working as a professional singer before I broke into the tech business.
You have been advocating for gender diversity in tech and at board level. What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you?
#WomenInTech is important because it celebrates the contribution of knowledgeable figures in the industry and addresses the causes that affect women.
This movement highlights the need for female role models in leadership positions which encourages others more women to tech. Despite the progress we’ve made in the last century, there is still a long way to go before we see true equality on a global scale. It means more than equal pay and equal opportunities; it’s also about changing the attitudes and behaviours that women are subjected to on a daily basis – especially in ‘bro cultures’, which is sometimes found in tech startups.
Who are the inspirational women in business that you admire?
Many of the influential people in the industry I have met are women, making great strides in their field of work. Two of those women have left a lasting impression whom I wish to quote here.
Ayah Bdeir, Founder and CEO of littleBits has built a fun way for kids to learn about electronics and create their own inventions.
Looking closer to home, I was recently lucky enough to have Amina AlHawaj on my ‘Women in Tech’ panel at Women Power Summit’; she’s doing some great work in the Med Tech space, and has won more awards for inventions and innovation than I can count!
As the world prepares to celebrate Teacher’s Day on the fifth of October, UAE starts its tribute to teachers today at Sheraton Hotel, Sharjah. In honor of their services to the nation, the ‘Future of Education’ event has been held today, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
A learning enthusiast all his life, the presence of His Highness at the event was indeed inspiring for the educators. The formation of international Supervisory Educational Authority is the evidence of his vision for teaching profession in the UAE. Whereby the authority will supervise and improve all aspects of the educational process in private schools in the Emirates. “This body is working under my personal guidance to improve education, and will take care of everything going on in the classroom of the teacher evaluation and methods of teaching”, Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi said in an interview.
The Future of Education event today was an acknowledgement of the valuable contributions and dedication of the Arab teachers to the nation. Additionally, it also highlighted the role of innovative technologies in the classroom. How the classroom learning and interaction are being affected by the technology. How can teachers help to incorporate technology in the school curriculum for better academic outcomes. The participants were also enlightened about how the future classrooms will be impacted by immersive technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
The government is most focused on transforming the landscape of the entire economic development based on modern education techniques. This is a mission that can only be accomplished through dedicated efforts of the teachers. In line with the same vision, the Teachers Association UAE has done tremendous work to improve classroom education. As a hub for teachers’ development, the association is a platform for education professionals to connect and improve teaching practices. Present at the event was also MunfaridVRXOne, one of the mentor organizations to empower local Emirati teachers through methods in deep learning. VRXOne has pioneered the transformation through innovation in immersive, experiential learning using AR, VR and Ai programs.
Artificial Intelligence is taking hands-on learning to next level both within the classroom and without. As Ai uses students’ performance data to improve classroom instruction and education, it also makes the curriculum much more versatile. The versatility means that the curriculum can be customized to a student’s learning tendencies. This way, Ai helps develop an impactful student-teacher relationship through personalized education strategies.
Automation of processes, for instance grading, frees up time for teachers to invest helping students to develop important life skills. The lessons in robotics and machine learning, such as Google Ai programs, help teachers in getting students to understand concepts better. Moreover these programs push students towards developing innovative thinking and entrepreneurial aptitude. Ai technology in classroom ensures that all the students have access to high-quality education.
This is something that educators today are fast realizing and see as a challenge that must be addressed. Sreejit Chakrabarty, the robotics manager at Gems Dubai American Academy sees huge potential for Ai as a core subject, saying, “Naturally, this Ai literacy brings in and helps students to extend their knowledge of English, Maths and Coding. For example, by seeing how their programming strategies are reflected in the learning and behavior of a machine, they can better grasp abstract concepts such as cause and effect. They can also get immediate feedback from the machine and iterate their ideas based upon this. These are powerful opportunities for learning in a cross-disciplinary way.”
The head of curriculum at the Kindergarten Starters, Gauri Meghani goes a step further in her approach to adopt Ai in classrooms. She would like Ai integrated with all other subjects simultaneously. In her view, a blended approach towards student-machine interaction is way more beneficial for children. She explained, “Our grades 3, 4 and 5 have learnt to Program LEGO Education Wedo 1.0 and 2.0. They have used all the sensors, motion and display blocks to make their robots do different tasks, like sailing a boat, for example. These activities have instilled a deeper understanding of math and science concepts and evidence-based reasoning.”
The use of technology makes schools much more efficient and innovative learning environments. Students today have the opportunity to actually explore and get involved with the educational experience. And this is only possible when teachers are empowered through technology to enhance their pedagogical performance and communication.
Shahad Alzaki is the CEO and Creative Director of Mievento Hub, a creative agency based in Bahrain with special expertise in Marketing, Web Media, Public Relations, and Event Management. She is a professional architect who was drawn towards entrepreneurship and is recognized for her specialization in understanding the market.
Shahad has used her entrepreneurial, leadership, and people management skills to substantially contribute and add value to a market defined by the young audience. Her purpose and passion can be clearly seen in her teammates, who excel in their respective domains and most of whom are deservingly women.
She strongly associates with the societal concerns and is deeply involved in spreading awareness through online campaigning, one issue at a time. Through art and fashion, Shahad rejuvenates herself and explores the world in new ways.
What was your mission at the outset of Mievento Hub? Has any of these mission(s) changed?
The digital sphere is an indomitable ball of energy that is transforming the online experiences, which is why I was drawn towards this vibrant field. My mission since the inception of Mievento Hub was to establish the 1st Youth run creative agency that will allow young creative minds to bring fresh new ideas in this market and to our clients.
At the same time, we have always worked towards expanding the client’s mindset from offline marketing to an inclusive marketing plan which comprises online marketing as well. One of our missions is to reveal the power of digital marketing and its benefits like great customer satisfaction and enhanced Return on Investment from it as a business.
None of these missions has changed till now and we are working towards excellence while achieving them.
The team at Mievento hub is led by women. How do you think more involvement of women has better positioned your company?
It is great to see women as leaders and the worthwhile impact of this advancement in the society. My current team is 90% comprised of women and while throughout the years the exact figure may have changed, the majority was always women which is just by chance.
The women I have had the privilege to work with add tremendous value to our business, in terms of communication, creativity, and so much more. Their commitment to work is such that our clients have repeatedly appreciated the ease and smoothness of dealing with the team. They always felt we understand their needs quickly and work towards achieving them.
In general, I’m very proud to have a team full of women leaders and I’m very happy to see the growth of the company in their hands.
What is the main thing you keep in mind while devising services for the youth; youth being an important audience for Mievento?
Engaging audiences today can be challenging and hence, it is imperative to deploy activities that are stimulating, enjoyable, creative and extremely personalised to them. Hence, one of our methodologies in terms of business approach is that we are flexible with our services and concentrate on their relevance to the audience. With our vision and values at the guiding helm of every project, we keep upgrading and brainstorming to improve and remove things because we believe, the key to success in serving the Youth Market is by staying up-to-date with their needs, wants and how the market is at that moment.
One of the main attributes that help our team is the fact that it is comprised of young who contribute the most in understanding how to tailor our services to the youth market.
As per you, what is the key to successful entrepreneurship?
There are many aspects that I believe blend together to shape a successful entrepreneur. I am sharing below the most important ones, not in order though; these are:
choosing the right team of talents
having skillful mentors network around you
having planning skills and being able to visualize your goals & always reflecting on it
networking, networking & networking, as this is one of the most important aspects to succeed as an entrepreneur. You will always need to network – either to position your business or to gain new business leads.
The last thing, in my opinion, I would say is reading about anything that benefits one as an entrepreneur or enhances knowledge in their line of work.
Event planning & marketing are parts of a very competitive market. What do you think is the main trait a customer looks for?
Every customer deserves a premium value from the brands they trust. A proactive team will always seek new ideas to elevate the event or the marketing plan to harness their experience. The key component that matters is the ‘Return On Investment’ (ROI). Customers will always be eager to know what exactly they are getting in return for the investment they are paying and will mainly look for the quality of work being delivered. They will always cherish the way you make them feel.
What do you think are your societal responsibilities as the founder of a company?
It is one of our core commitments to do good for the society. We applaud the growing initiative of aligning the enterprise’s missions with social good programmes and have been positioning our services for relevant causes. As a responsible citizen and founder of a company, I undertake
Contribute to the youth development & growth. We do that by offering free educational and networking workshops & events on a quarterly basis.
support the young talents. We always provide our services at discounted rates to startups & support talents through a program we have called “MIEVENTO CONNECTORS” through which we connect talents with clients to work together.
Also, we adopt one cause every year and raise awareness about it by sponsoring online. In our maiden year, for example, we created awareness through a breast cancer campaign.
Is there anything you weren’t aware of but have learnt/realized during your entrepreneurial journey?
Succeeding at entrepreneurship comes with starting the day and ending it with a constant attitude to learn. One has to embrace an open mindset with a vision to learn something from anywhere & everywhere.
I come from an Engineering background as I am a professional architect. Being an entrepreneur taught me a lot of things about financial management, business planning, marketing strategies & how to especially manage a team of very different talents and personalities.
Besides that, every day I explore new thing about myself; it is definitely an experience that strengthens my personality. I am proud of considerably progressing in time management and communication skills.
Who is a famous women entrepreneur in the region that inspires you?
While there are many women on an international level that I look up to, when I look closer to home, I am specifically inspired by a leading woman in Bahrain – Sonya Janahi. She is the owner of Maya chocolate and the drive with which she took a family business forward in an extremely competitive market is purely remarkable.