UAE schools start tablets at KG: report

The role of teachers will soon be transformed into that of necessary motivators. [Image via Shutterstock]

Technology at schools in the UAE is being adopted at a very age and tablets are being introduced at kindergarten levels, a new report by IDC and Intel has revealed.

The report also points out that laptops continue to dominate the higher level class rooms as it is more suitable for content creation. About 60 per cent of the devices comprise of laptops while the rest are desktops.

“We found that over 90 per cent of the educational institutes interviewed utilize laptops, tablets and 2 in 1. The GCC's education sector is witnessing significant growth and a focus on delivering quality education has driven institutions to adopt technology at every level,” said Frederico Carvalho, META Regional Business Director at Intel Corporation Technology.

According to the report, the next two years will also see classroom adoption of latest technology and devices peak with almost 100 per cent utilization.

What’s more, the role of teachers will soon be transformed into that of necessary motivators.

Overall only fifty per cent of devices used in schools are owned by schools. The remaining are student owned.

Adriana Rangel, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions Director at IDC pointed out that in the UAE alone every student from Kindergarten to 12th grade will be carrying a tablet to school by the end of 2017. “The education sector in the GCC is expected to increase its device utilization to 100 per cent in the coming two years,” she said.

“Technology is already rapidly transforming pedagogical practices within institutions. Our study also pointed out that education sector accounted for 10.3 per cent of all tablet shipments to the Middle East region during the first half of 2014,” she added. In 2013 it was just 2.2 per cent.

Educational institutions have also been trying to upgrading their learning modules, hardware management consoles, classroom management software, and cloud and mobility systems.

According to the report the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept has also proved popular with institutions with over 60 per cent of those interviewed have a BYOD policy for students using their own devices for learning purposes. The rest of the institutions provide support for student’s devices but do not have a formal BYOD policy in place.

Currently less than 30 per cent of the institutions use interactive whiteboards for teaching. Many of them have LCD or LED panels that are connected to the instructor’s tablet or laptop to display teaching material. All of the institutes reported utilizing video projectors to promote audiovisual learning for certain course material.

The report also points to a growing shift in teaching methods employed by institutes, with courses taught virtually through online collaboration.

“This will help mobilize the student community and also introduce scalability to the classroom, with teachers able to educate their students virtually,” the report adds. As Rangel points out, “Teachers  will mainly be necessary motivators.”

The report also notes that future investments in technology will be heavily influenced by government initiatives. “The Gulf region is also very much active in this space, with the Smart Learning Initiative in the UAE and the e-Bag project in Qatar serving as two notable examples,” it said.

Launched in 2012, the UAE's Smart Learning Initiative aims to provide tablets to students at all K-12 government schools by the year 2017.

At present, 10,000 students across 123 government schools have been equipped with tablets.

In Qatar, the e-Bag project plans to provide tablets to every student and teacher in the country. Around 16,000 tablets have already been delivered to 40 schools as part of this initiative.

The UAE's m-government initiative also aims to enhance mobile learning within higher education.

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