FocusEduVation's Blog

May 8, 2010

Middle-East’s New Learning Trend – E-learning

Filed under: e-learning — Focus EduVation @ 11:22 am

Global IT giants such as Microsoft are in talks with Middle East governments and educational institutions to bring the latest digital electronic learning systems, known as e-learning, to the region.

“With e-learning, students can learn at their own pace, get immediate feedback and repeat tasks they don’t understand,” says Azza el Shinnaway, who leads Microsoft’s education initiatives in the Gulf. “They’re also free to study in class, the library and at home via the internet or mobile phone.”

The UAE’s Advanced Network for Research and Education is talking to Microsoft to promote innovation and collaboration in the field of education.

The global IT industry is now also starting to turn its attention to education through innovative learning techniques such as using gaming technology to teach complex subjects including mathematics.

The UAE’s Advanced Network for Research and Education (Ankabut) is in talks with Microsoft to promote collaboration and innovation in education. And the whole region is becoming increasingly active in realising the benefits of e-learning.

The Middle East E-Learning Association (MEEA) was launched last February and has so far attracted members from Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Malaysia. MEEA is a non-political, non-profit body that aims to promoting e-learning throughout the region.

Despite the challenges of the global economic situation, Gulf countries are increasing their investment in education. Saudi Arabia, for example, which has a young and growing population, has announced that education budgets this year will rise 13 per cent to US$36.7 billion (Dh134.80bn), accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s entire budget expenditure.

These initiatives are not the result of the Arab world playing catch-up with practices in the US and elsewhere, but rather of using new learning technologies in innovative ways. Key to the success of these initiatives is exploiting the potential of the internet as a communications tool to link students with teachers and teachers with parents.

The ministry began by providing the service to teachers and administrators before extending it to more than 500,000 students. Each e-mail address can store 10 gigabytes of data, several times the usual allocation for e-mail boxes.

Students are also adopting the Social Media way for e-learning. In Social Media they expect an academic environments that allow the same level of interactivity and collaboration as that available on Facebook, YouTube or MySpace.

The next trend expected to hit the Gulf education sector comes from the leisure industry. As well as their interest in sites such as Facebook, many students also spend long hours playing computer games.

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