Online learning 'transforming education in Emirates'
E-learning is transforming the education sector in the United Arab Emirates. The Khaleej Times reports that teachers are getting rid of traditional textbooks and replacing them with items to support online learning, such as tablet computers and iPads. Students are now being educated in buildings with smart boards, visual aids, immersive learning and surround sound, with this to be enhanced through the unveiling of a new scheme to develop virtual learning environments. In the immediate future, pupils in the Emirates will all be provided with online learning tools through the Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative. This will involve the Ministry of Education providing young people and pupils with e-books and apps to make academia more engaging and interactive. It will cost one billion dirham (£169.17 million) and is predicted to have a transformative impact to the country's education. Chip maker Intel collaborated with the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) to investigate how to modernise the position of teachers and classroom education. Every student at the IAT was provided with an Apple MacBook Pro, while educators created online learning tools by putting videos, training sessions and lectures on the internet in English and Arabic. Attendance, levels of involvement and interest in the subject all saw improvements as a result of the e-learning initiative. Furthermore, peer learning and collaboration between students were also enhanced and supported with the innovations. "There have been positive results with astounding progress made from project-based learning," IAT managing director Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi was quoted by the publication as saying. He noted that laptop computers currently have a "central role in the classroom", with there occasionally being instances where there are no paper copies of the course materials. The representative had previously said: "The iPad is compatible with the preferences and desires of today's youth, it frees them from the heaviness of the school bag and it became one of the necessary tools to enter the stage of the advanced technological education."