Information Technology and the Future of Education in the United Arab Emirates

Author/s: several co-authors
1st Edition Year: 2013
Edition: First edition
Language: English
Available Languages: العربية
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Description

The UAE has taken concerted steps in order to ensure economic diversification of its key sectors as a means to ensure it is not entirely dependent on an oil/petroleum-based economy. Underpinning this diversification has been the commitment to the creation of a competitive knowledge-based economy, which, unlike agricultural and industrial economies, is not one that relies on natural/physical resources, but instead on a greater reliance on intellectual capabilities. All these requirements are dependent upon an effective education system. Various countries around the world have had great success at matching their education system to the demands of industry and society as well as incorporating the latest technology to improve education.

However, exploiting the digital revolution does not stop at secondary education, and the tertiary level of learning can benefit enormously from such digital developments. As technology develops there are new ways to undertake learning and research and more flexible delivery of learning or faster and more sophisticated academic processes. The ubiquitous nature of the internet means that the use of this technology is part and parcel of our everyday life both in our personal and working life; therefore, it is an inevitability in education. Digital infrastructure can be defined as including technical services, technical standards, software tools, supporting policies, practice and regulatory frameworks. It allows for the appropriate creation, management and exploitation of information, resources and services to enable effective and high quality research and education. While more and more people involved in the educational process accept the notion that ICT has become part of our everyday life, and recognize the value of ICT as an enhancer for teaching and learning, there is an increasing demand for educators to have expertise in both their specific subject areas and competence in ICT. The essence of digital information and services, such as the worldwide web, means a whole new mode of operation and production of information, learning and research. It means there are new possibilities and a lot still yet to be imagined. Digital information can be replicated perfectly many times; add a network to that and it can be shared and accessed the world over; add the web to that and it can be viewed, annotated and linked to by anyone anywhere.

Information technology not only facilitates how information is imparted in the learning environment, but also alters the relationships between participants in schools, colleges and universities, whether they by teachers, technicians or parents. Not only can more exciting and innovative forms of learning be created, but also the inclusion of all stakeholders in the learning process can be encouraged, which leads to greater understanding, encouragement of other ideas to stimulate learning, and ultimately a more rounded and educated individual and society.

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