The definition of mobility is changing: It is no more about owning a mobile device. It is about moving in a mobile-infused ecosystem that comprises highly efficient personal devices, ubiquitous special purpose clouds, lightning-fast internet and ‘Just in Time’ Apps which can be downloaded and used in a matter of seconds. Mobility is bringing disruptive innovations across businesses as well as in Education, transforming classrooms and teaching styles of educators. Most importantly for us, Mobility is engaging the students in the learning process and empowering them to become lifelong learners.
This edition of the journal is a collage of carefully selected articles from the leading educators of the region who are innovating the teaching and learning domain with their smart work and agile approach in technology integration with the curriculum.
Video Games have long been considered a deterrent in the learning process. Parents and teachers often complain about how children indulge in playing for long hours, forgetting the world around them. Every educator’s dream is to engage students in the learning process in a manner similar to video games. Sarah, in her article ‘Educational Use of Video Games in the ESL Classroom’, introduces a ‘gamification’ approach of teaching and learning and shares strategies that have made students love classrooms.
The textbook industry is also witnessing disruptions due to mLearning which is rapidly replacing print with digital media. Innovative authoring tools are enabling teachers to create their own eTextbooks in simple and more user-friendly formats. However, creating effective eTextbooks needs careful attention to the pedagogy and local context, as is captured in the article ‘Principled Design in Locally-Produced E-Textbooks for Language Learning’. In this article, Jay provides a meaningful insight into the design principles of eTextbook creation combined with the project-based learning approach. The article is a valuable reference for any teacher who is planning to create eTextbook in language learning.
Mobile phones are generally prohibited in classrooms for known reasons, but some teachers are breaking this tradition by utilising personal phones to engage students. These teachers are the main contributors in the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) revolution. Pedro and Mamie, in their article ‘Designing an Effective Mobile Learning Experience in a Marketing Research Course’, provide an interesting case study about how students’ personal mobile phones can be effectively used for a research-based course at the Higher Colleges of Technology. It outlines a fresh perspective about general misconceptions surrounding mobile phone usage in classrooms and highlights the possibility of a new learning trend.
Independent Learning Centres (ILCs) provide innovative learning spaces which have always been an important aspect of Educational Technology at the HCT. ILCs have helped in creating engaging learning environments for students. Peter and John, in the article ‘Abu Dhabi Men’s College Independent Learning Centre’, provide a detailed understanding of ILCs at one of the largest HCT campuses and how carefully designed technology based activities for students helped them in achieving success.
This year has been a transformational mobile journey for the Federal Institutes in the UAE. As a result of this, new pedagogical, technological and content models have been adopted by teachers throughout the country. Teachers have now transformed into Facilitators and Classrooms into Engaging Areas. This has been possible due to the ‘Flipped’ mLearning strategies which empower students to take control of their learning. Nick, in his article ‘A Flipped Approach to Vocabulary Teaching in HCT’, explains about mobile compatible, short videos created by teachers that are shared with students before the actual classes. The ‘flipped’ classroom provides time to discuss student experiences.
Heidi, in the article ‘A Delhpi Method Study on Triggering Transactional Distance to Improve Students’ Learning’, has taken a systematic approach in measuring the effectiveness of teaching and learning beyond the summative assessments. Based on her research outcomes, she has designed a rubric on the Instructor Engagement which teachers will find helpful while implementing new teaching strategies.
Portfolios are a reflection of learner progress and a source of continuous encouragement to excel. Thanks to the mobile technology, several tools are available to create highly effective ePortfolios. ePortfolios not only provide an employability advantage to students, but are also used as an assessment tool and even cater to the accreditation needs of the institution. Christine, in her article ‘Evaluating Institutional ePortfolio Options’, delineates the process of implementing effective ePortfolios and provides comparative analysis of various ePortfolio tools. A rubric suggested by her for the ‘institutionalised eportfolio’ is a valuable reference for implementing ePortfolios.
The technology integration in curriculum leads to adoption of various effective tools that become essential for teaching and learning. Digital Text Editors, Worksheets and Presentations have become integral parts of teaching and learning, and are used effectively in classrooms either as shared files or digital recordings. Guy, in his article ‘Screencasting’, describes a variety of tools that can be used by teachers to create engaging videos for Flipped Classrooms.
UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning