Leadership, clear digital strategy essential to effective learning technology integration in Mid East

Leadership, clear digital strategy essential to effective learning technology integration in Mid East

28.04.2013: Photo caption The Learning Technologies MENA conference takes place from 13-15 May 2013 at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina.




Photo caption The Learning Technologies MENA conference takes place from 13-15 May 2013 at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina.


Experts pinpoint key challenges in technology adoption facing regional schools and universities ahead of Learning Technologies MENA conference


Experts in learning technology have pinpointed leadership commitment, change management, professional development and clear outcome targets as the biggest challenges that face schools, universities and colleges looking to utilise technologies to improve learning outcomes in Dubai and the wider Middle East.


Discussions carried out with leading institutions, advisors and device manufacturers highlighted the need for educators to purposefully integrate technology into teaching and learning environments, to adequately equip students with the skills and behaviours that are required for successful educational, career and social development in the 21st century. 


However, effectively selecting, implementing and importantly engaging the whole school community with new technologies is essential to getting the greatest benefit out of digital learning adoption and ensuring that the significant expenditure is justified and has a real impact – a risk that many schools face in an increasingly competitive environment.


Adopting a pedagogically sound digital strategy that tackles each of these challenges is key, and the subject of the ‘Learning Technologies MENA’ conference, taking place on 13-15 May 2013 at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina.


Adapting teaching styles to incorporate the use of new technologies is vital.  Jon Bergmann, the pioneer of the FLIP Classroom Movement (USA) will speak for the first time in the Middle East about how teachers can flip their classrooms to transform learning outcomes. 


“There’s been a lot of hype about the flipped classroom and how it can revolutionise and change classrooms,” said Bergman, who will deliver a keynote on the session at the Learning Technologies MENA conference on 13 May. “The FLIP Classroom is reinventing the classroom when you remove direct instruction from the group level and move it to the individual space – assisted by the latest technologies available.”


Stephen Cox, an Independent Education Director, and another speaker at the three-day conference, added:  “The greatest challenge we face in adoption of new technologies is not the content or device challenge but the people challenge. From leadership down to the classroom creating a coaching culture through an effective well evaluated professional development that focuses on personalised learning is key to success. It is easy to change your devices but not so easy to develop a risk taking culture with people who work in your organisation”. 


“It is vital that we invest in our people before investing in the project, otherwise it’s very easy for the project to lose its way,” said Phil Redhead, Senior Advisor Digital Learning at GEMS Education.  Redhead and Mark Stone, Digital Learning Coach and IT Systems Leader at GEMS Royal Dubai School will share how schools can adopt peer to peer coaching models to address this challenge. 


GEMS Royal Dubai School students will also demonstrate live how to use iPads and iMacs to produce high quality work, with full curriculum integration, real depth and lasting impact in schools today. 


“Giving teachers the opportunity to be open to experiment, and willing to learn new technologies is also vital,” added Joseph Nettikaden, Chief Information Officer at ESOL.


“Remembering to start small and do one thing well, instead of trying to do everything all at the same time”, suggested Cindy Crannell, Elementary Technology Integration Coach at the American School of Dubai, who will give a live demonstration of how Google Apps can be used to improve teaching, learning and administration in schools.


The Learning Technologies MENA conference will also feature international leaders including David Whyley, Head Teacher of Consultant Learning Technologies at Wolverhampton City Council (UK), and Chris Poole, Director, Lookred (UK).  It will also feature Tatweer Company for Educational Services, the Ministry of Education Kuwait, The Jordan Education Initiative, Hamdan Bin Mohammed E-University, Manchester Business School, INDEMAJ and many more.



. Lindsay Johnston, Total Communications Dubai - also photo

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28.04.2013 / MaP

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