Dubai-UAE: 13 March, 2017: As part of the first UAE Public Policy Forum currently underway in Dubai, a session titled “Celebrating Innovation” saw experts discussing the rapidly evolving role of innovation and technology in education.
The session included Dr Krishnadas Nanath, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and Data Scientist at Middlesex University Dubai, Dr Soly Matthew Biju, Associate Professor at the faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong Dubai, Professor Sufian Forawi, Senior Lecturer of Science Education at the British University in Dubai and Dr Tarik Ozkul, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the American University of Sharjah.
Highlighting the role of technology in the classroom, Dr Krishnadas Nanath said: “With technological advancements there has been an increased interest to apply these learnings to the classroom. Through our research, we have concluded there is no single best platform for education. Students' technological preferences for education vary depending on their learning styles. In other words, it is important to match the technology, whether it be blogs, cloud or social media platforms, with each student's learning style to allow for greater academic growth.”
For her part, Dr Soly Matthew Biju, spoke of an approach she developed to teach advanced students. She said: “The biggest challenge that I face as an educator is that students today have difficulty engaging in traditional learning styles. A solution that has proven to be beneficial to my students is the adoption of a hands-on incremental approach to teaching. First, students are asked to solve a problem at the beginning of class and then discuss their answers amongst their classmates. Following this, the teacher goes over the theoretical aspects of the problem and then students are encouraged to include what they have learned in their term projects. Through this style of teaching, we have found a tremendous improvement in grade results.”
Sufian Forawi, who stressed the importance of developing a theoretical framework for effective STEM education, said: “In recent years STEM has become one of the main priorities for governments around the world. However, we are yet to agree on how to create the best curriculum to teach these grouped disciplines. The biggest challenge lies in coordinating the learning objectives amongst the different departments. The key to success is for countries to understand the different theoretical frameworks that can deal with the STEM integration process in order to determine what best suits their particular political, social and cultural history reflected within their educational structures.”
For his part, Tarik Ozkul focused on how patent enhanced learning can increase innovation and motivation among university students. He said: “Increasing motivation and innovation is one of the primary goals of all educational institutions. Over the years many techniques have been developed to allow students to be innovative through a deep understanding of the subject. At our institution, in some selected courses we teach students how to write, read and search patents. Later students use this knowledge to research ‘industrial case studies' related to the topic of the course.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the two-day forum features various panel discussions among leading local and international education experts and specialists, as well as top decision makers in the field. Themed ‘Future Directions of Education Policy', the event is looking into the challenges and opportunities for education policies in the UAE.
The UAE Public Policy Forum has partnered with several organizations, including UAE Ministry of Education, GEMS Education, Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance and United Nations Development Program, to develop the framework of public education policies.
The forum will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre's Sheikh Maktoum Hall from March 12 to 13.