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.
As the start-up drive proliferates in the Middle East, government and citizens come together to magnify tech growth with an emphasis on community betterment.
The United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to shape the nation’s future, has shown a keen desire to instill creativity in youth. In the ongoing month of February, the country celebrates inventiveness with the organization of ‘UAE Innovation Month 2018’. The month is dedicated to the enterprising spirit of UAE’s visionary leadership. It is a manifestation of UAE’s plan to equip and nurture a culture of innovation. The program has seen hearty participation from citizens across the seven emirates where activities, programs, and conferences showing various innovations in UAE are being conducted in full swing.
Most prominent universities and schools are hosting innovation programs to prepare the students for real-world challenges. Education technology takes the center-stage everywhere given the massive potential and proven results. The purpose of investing in an Edtech Revolution is apparent. The aspiration is to raise an Emirati workforce that can enjoy good living standards through increased productivity and high-wage jobs.
In an initiative to hail inventive and creative thinkers, the Google Innovation Hub UAE was launched in the first week of February at the UAE University’s Science and Innovation Park. The first of its kind center in the Middle East can cater up to 120 students daily and train them for essential skills in 3D printing, Makers Space, laser cutting, machine learning, app development, robotics, etc. The Makers Space courses can be undertaken by students aged 8 to 16 whereas the Machine Learning and App Factory courses, comprising coding in virtual reality and lessons in robotics can be taken by students aged 16 to 24. The center for technological excellence is poised to steer innovation in education in UAE.
The prime focus of innovation hub is to amplify the progression of science and technology and equip the students with the best of Google resources. The tech hub is a venue for aspiring developers and tech enthusiasts to engage directly with companies and training partners like Google. Essential parts of the innovation center will be technology-related events, workshops, and coworking spaces.
The inauguration ceremony was graced by the Lt-Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior UAE. His Excellency was escorted by other Government ministers and representatives of Google throughout the launch event. During the event, H.E. was seen interacting with the participants, also showing an avid interest in demonstrations, especially of the wearable technologies like Virtual Reality.
The Chairman of Al Bayt Mitwahid Association, Saif Ali Al Qubaisi was delighted at the inaugration of the hub, “I’m extremely proud that we’ve opened the Innovation Hub Powered by Google. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that will allow students to participate in valuable high-tech classes, which will benefit the next generation of talented minds here in the UAE.”
“Alongside UAE University (UAEU), the Abu Dhabi Department of Education (Adek) and Google, we aim to achieve the long-term vision for the UAE by developing the innovative and technological skills of the country’s people.”
Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Adek, Chancellor of UAEU and member of the Executive Council shared a similar optimistic emotion, “This is an agenda that aims to enhance awareness of the importance of innovation and digital creativity.
“Artificial intelligence is the engine driving forward the Fourth Industrial Revolution; it encourages companies around the world to design innovative products by using artificial intelligence.”
Such initiatives and establishments are the templates for urban success. They drive us to believe that innovation is a work ethic and a way of life.
Transition to a knowledge-based economy is fortified by the establishment of these innovation centers focussing on STEM subjects. The drive also supports overall internet ecosystem in the country.
Elementary and middle school students gain immense confidence when receiving hands-on training. This fact has been emphasized enough by EdTech trainers and child psychologists. The observance of UAE Innovation Month cannot be accomplished without laying considerable focus on EdTech, which comprises many pro-student technologies.
With the UAE Innovation Month, the country aims to recognize innovation as an institutional culture that has a far-reaching effect on the society. The ongoing activities also seek to enhance the working curriculum in government departments and promoting the entrepreneurial spirit in Emiratis. A unified and progressive system where both the divisions work in symbiosis will exponentially increase the progress and development of the country.
When every Emirati is well-equipped during academic and working years, a global recognition and flowering of tech clusters will follow. A burgeoning economy requires the support of dynamic, forward-thinking citizens. Initiatives like the UAE Innovation Month show a clear intention of the government’s resolve to develop and the citizens’ desire to work hard and thrive.
A few years ago, a session of World Economic Forum commenced with a declaration. The declaration was a “New Era of ‘Talentism’, which stated that human imagination and innovation are the driving forces behind economies”.
Imagine this scenario.
Every school across the globe has an innovative education system whose reach is far beyond report cards. Students don’t have to acquire ‘job-ready’ skills after they pass out. The skills are inculcated subtly throughout their academic years. A holistic future school where talent is truly valued. Our future generation, our most precious resource, stays abreast of the changing time.
Yes, it’s possible and devoted nations like UAE are working on it.
In the ongoing month of February, the UAE government and Emirati citizens have come together to celebrate innovation. With a month full of activities, people are participating in competitions, exhibitions, and other activities. The innovation program is being observed across the seven emirates to cultivate innovation and ingenuity in the society. The countrywide celebration that kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the 1st of February will be reaching other emirates throughout the month.
The thoughtful slogan for the month is – “Innovation Starts with You.”
The theme of this innovation month is inspired by the vision of the Honorable late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. “The UAE Innovation Month will focus on four aspects inspired
from our founding father — the innovative leader, the creative thinker, the change maker and the inspirational thinker”, said Her Excellency Huda Al Hashimi.
Contributing to the success of UAE Innovation Month is a proud Bahraini EdTech influencer and entrepreneur, Dr. Sana Farid, who is a Virtual Reality strategist, Middle East Women of Wearables Ambassador and President, VRAR Association Co-Chapter President for Middle East, and has been ranked among top 101 women in ARVR globally, emphasizes the role of innovation and the never-ending need to evolve.
The EdTech trainer who had previously flagged off the ‘Go To School’ Program in UAE last October is currently helping the emiratis keep up the momentum of this Innovation Month.
Dr. Sana is demonstrating the many uses of Virtual Reality in Education at the UAE Innovation Hub Dubai. Google Innovation Hub is a revolutionary step to harness innovation in students and enhance their digital creativity. The fair and innovative program inspires youth to transmute their tech obsessions into successful businesses. The first of its kind center in the Middle East, the Hub can host up to 120 students daily to impart skills in 3D printing, laser cutting, machine learning, app development, robotics, etc.
Besides the overwhelming feedback from visitors and government delegates at the innovation hub, the Bahraini entrepreneur Dr. Sana had a proud moment of being visited by UAE’s Minister of Interior, H.E. Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan. His Excellency, who was there for the launch of Innovation hub, seemed to be deeply immersed in exploring Virtual Reality. Throughout the event, he was seen interacting with the participants, especially the younger members, which gave a major boost to their confidence. He was escorted by other Government ministers and representatives of Google.
When asked about her experience in Reality Technologies and the outcome of such events, Dr. Sana said, “When government and citizens join hands, catching the bus to an innovation-led future is easy. We must acknowledge the changes occurring around us and adapt for a sustainable tomorrow. A successful transition with time will take us ahead and keep us going.”
Dedicated investments in building a human empire have life-changing benefits. The Middle East countries are steadily proving this while wisely investing in their human resource.