Evolving Role of Edtech in Reinventing Education in the Middle East

Evolving Role of Edtech

EdTech, has been rapidly evolving and significantly impacting the education sector globally, including in the Middle East. EdTech refers to the use of digital tools, software, and platforms to enhance teaching, learning, and educational administration. In recent years, it has played a crucial role in reinventing education in the Middle East by addressing various challenges and bringing about positive changes. Exploring the same, panelists from diverse backdrop of education world discussed this in an exclusive panel discussion at 25th Elets World Education Summit in Dubai. Edited excerpts:

Alex Gray, Head of Science, Dubai British School, Dubai, UAE (Moderator) shared, “The focus of this panel discussion is on adopting digital technologies in the Middle East, which aims to update and improve the region’s teaching and learning methods.”

James Pastore, Senior Academic Support Specialist, Emirates Schools Establishment, Dubai, UAE shared, “Sometimes, I become overly concerned about the use of screens and worry that I may be taking it too far. This is particularly evident when I enter a classroom and see both the teacher and high school students staring at screens simultaneously. It’s important to exercise caution in these instances. However, when it comes to Robotics, particularly Lego Robotics, where students work together in teams to build and program robots, there is an opportunity to strike a balance between using technology and building personal connections.”

“By having one screen and robot for each group to work on and compare with others in the room, we can encourage collaboration and interaction while still utilizing technology. I believe this approach is crucial, and as schools and teachers returned to full-time in-person instruction post-COVID, we have witnessed an increase in its implementation. Thank you for addressing some of the concerns and drawbacks that we, as teachers, may have.”

Fauzan Qazi, Managing Director, Harvest Private School, Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE shared, “The current generation of students, known as Generation Z, has grown up surrounded by digital technologies such as iPads, mobile phones, the internet, and Google. As a result, incorporating technology into education has become necessary to keep them engaged and prevent them from feeling bored or left out. However, it is crucial to ensure that technology is used strategically and not just for the sake of it. Just like in a business, where the use of technology should align with the goals and objectives, in education, technology needs to be implemented strategically to achieve desired outcomes. During the pandemic, we saw the benefits of technology in education as schools quickly adapted to online platforms to ensure continuity of learning.”

“Online learning platforms provide students with the opportunity to access courses from anywhere and learn from industry leaders and experts. Additionally, emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed-sensor reality provide students with unique learning experiences that help them understand concepts better. Another significant advantage of technology in education is artificial intelligence, which allows educators to diagnose students’ levels and provide differentiated learning experiences. Therefore, strategic implementation of technology in education can bring significant benefits to students’ learning and engagement.”

Sehrish Zafar, Head of Middle & High School, Dubai International School, Dubai shared, “Artificial intelligence is one of the most promising technologies that is gradually being implemented in schools. However, another technology that is coming up and is very promising is digital financial literacy for students. It is crucial to equip students with 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving, risk-taking, and decision-making, to prepare them for future learning and jobs that we don’t yet know about.”

“These upcoming technologies, including metaverse, will help to improve the quality of teaching and learning and reshape education. The focus should be on developing skills in students rather than just teaching them concepts. Adaptive learning will cater to the needs of individual students and personalize their learning as per their needs. However, there needs to be a balance between hands-on activities and digital learning, as we cannot solely rely on digital learning. Therefore, educators need to strike a balance between digital and hands-on activities to ensure that students develop the necessary skills for the future.”

Arpit Dugar, Business Head – International, Next Education Services LLC shared, “The current decade is an exciting time for the Middle East as the region is experiencing a dynamic change through technological innovations. Unlike the Northern continents that have already experienced technology for some time, the Middle East is just beginning to catch up. However, the use of technology in classrooms should go beyond the basics of information and communication technology (ICT). There are fascinating programs available in various fields such as space sciences, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, chemical engineering, audio engineering, and music production.”

“Unfortunately, these programs have not been integrated into the curriculum at the school level, leaving students with limited exposure to them. This lack of exposure continues until they enter graduate programs or the corporate world, which poses a challenge for tech players to make these technologies more affordable and accessible to the masses. Despite these challenges, the implementation of these technologies in education holds great promise for the region.”