Back to school: Time to get smart

Published August 29th, 2016 - 12:31 GMT
Many students spend the majority of their time on their iPads. (File photo)
Many students spend the majority of their time on their iPads. (File photo)

With the back-to-school routine in full swing from today, the long hot days of summer will soon be a distant memory. But so too will the days of blackboards, whiteboards, even pen and paper, for many students and teachers in the UAE.

If you've not been living under a rock for the past few years, you'll be fully aware of how the country is going full-steam ahead with the digital classroom approach. Now, whether a lover or a hater of this new education digitisation approach, this classroom reinvention can come in very handy when it comes to readjusting your child back into the school routine. The old saying goes "preparation is key".

So, after a long summer break, it's good to give our kids a quick refresher session to get them back to the studying routine. These sessions don't have to be boring or complicated. After all, they've just had a long summer of fun and play so why not create an enjoyable back to school routine while encouraging them to learn the fun way. As we all know, many students spend the majority of their time on their iPads.

Therefore, it's good to integrate their favourite devices in the learning process. In our column on the left hand side we have listed some iPad apps that can help students keep learning in a fun and interactive way. For many, it will take the sting out of heading back to school. So, whether a staunch traditionalist or a visionary, technology is here, especially within the classroom setting.

As the UAE continues to witness this growth in the usage of iPads and other tablets in the classroom, it has become the staple over pen and paper. And there is no doubt that iPads and other smart devices have proven to be a valuable asset to many teachers and students. Ben Rothwell is the head of Innovation and Technology at Victory Heights Primary School in Dubai. As the leader of technology, this year he will be introducing the Chromebook 1:1 scheme in years five and six.

"I am really excited to begin our new scheme. Used correctly, technology can be transformational in the classroom and I am excited to work with teachers and children to utilise it to enhance learning experiences."

Having had experience with launching a Mac book 1:1 and iPad 1:1 in the UK, he said it will be an "interesting experience" with Chromebooks, but he is confident that the groundwork he has put in will work.

By encouraging your children to integrate this new digital approach into their study time, parents will also be contributing towards making Dubai a smart city.

Smart Dubai was established to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors - and digital education is a huge part of its strategic end-goal.

Benefits of a smart classroom

> Aids people with learning disabilities

> Avoids use of heavy textbooks

> Promotes interactive communication

> Provides unlimited resources

> Easy to use

By Kelly Clarke

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