Alvin Toffler defined change as “the process by which the future invades our lives.” Today, this definition reinforces itself as we witness the impact of the mobile revolution in education and in our daily lives. The emergence and rapid adoption of new and innovative methods of teaching and learning through the use of tablets, especially iPads, as well as other mobile devices, is creating a new paradigm in education. While the debate continues as to whether these mobile devices can provide as comprehensive an experience as Computers or Laptops, all UAE Higher Education Federal Institutes have embraced iPads for their Foundation programs. The mobile learning initiative is creating an interplay between Pedagogy, Technology and Content, and is transforming teaching and learning environments. An early indication of the initiative’s success is demonstrated by the increased adoption of Challenge Based Learning and Flipped Classrooms among teachers. The mobile journey has begun and its impact can be felt as you read through the journal. This year’s edition includes articles and education technology reviews that reflect the changing technological landscape amongst teaching and learning communities worldwide.
2012, Volume 3
Welcome to the 3rd edition of the eJournal. All UAE Higher Education Federal Institutes have embraced iPads for their Foundation programs. The mobile learning initiative is creating an interplay between Pedagogy, Technology and Content, and is transforming teaching and learning environments. An early indication of the initiative’s success is demonstrated by the increased adoption of Challenge Based Learning and Flipped Classrooms among teachers. The mobile journey has begun and its impact can be felt as you read through the 3rd eJournal edition.
Table of Contents
Open Educational Resources (OER) are growing rapidly across the globe. Open and freely accessible content, available to anyone anywhere and through digital media, has the capacity to re-shape the educational landscape in the UAE and GCC States. OER are not a panacea for resolving all the issues in education relevant to access, the cost of content, and the teaching, acquisition and application of knowledge through educational media. Rather they are resources that broaden the content continuum for educators to use for designing innovative and engaging teaching approaches that produce improved and rewarding learning experiences for students. Educational institutions in the UAE and GCC states may need to assess their local knowledge base about OER; how OER capacity aligns with the institution’s mission and teaching and learning infrastructure; the cultural, social, and linguistic issues relevant to OER; and what organizations may be potential partners for OER collaboration. The importance of creating OER in Arabic will be a critical learning resource for institutions in the UAE and GCC States regardless whether an institution’s instructional language is Arabic and/or English. Colleges and universities new to the OER movement may find it useful to establish a task force or working group to examine the potential of OER for the institution. OER are a brave new world of educational content for colleges and universities in the UAE and GCC member states.
Rubrics are invaluable tools which can ensure quality assessment and evaluation of student achievement. This article provides a brief overview of the use of rubrics in higher education; explores the use of rubrics as both instructional and assessment instruments; discusses benefits for instructors and students; and acknowledges some limitations of rubrics. Overall recommendations for using rubrics as and for learning are presented, along with tips for using the electronic rubrics tool in Blackboard Learn 9.1.
This paper explores a few implementation strategies for teachers at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the UAE who are planning for the use of Apple iPads in their classrooms in September 2012 in the Foundations Program. It focuses on how to use the iPad to facilitate an effective cloud-based document management system, thus providing high availability of learning resources during the academic life of the student. It also proposes how to integrate a few core apps to create an effective workflow and provide a paperless alternative to common paper-based tasks in the classroom.
Playful approaches to work have been suggested for speeding innovation and productivity in organizations (Meisiek & Hatch, 2008). Integrating conceptual frameworks of science and technology through a Play with Purpose paradigm has shown success in primary to adult learning environments (Hargis, 2001). A concurrent development in education is to encourage students to apply stages of design thinking (Brown, 2008) and share evidence of their learning as creators, including as builders and media developers (Kennedy, Boyer, Cavanaugh & Dawson, 2010). Design thinking practices closely mirror the characteristics of a constructivist learning environment (Jonassen, 1999). These trends converge in the fabrication lab (Fab Lab) as a studio for serious and playful design and construction by learners in disciplines including engineering, business, education, and media. Fab Labs offer numerous benefits in higher education including as an interactive studio for practicing professional skills and creating new approaches to problems of the domain not possible elsewhere. This paper explores the foundation for this convergence and proposes an interdisciplinary Fab Lab that supports learning outcomes in a range of professional degree programs.
Even as virtual worlds recover from their ride on the ‘hype cycle’, they have become more accessible to the average computer user than ever before. Developments in technologies that support these worlds have enhanced their value for supporting communication, collaboration and experiential learning. However, the educational promise of these worlds continues to be balanced by their limitations. Creating an identity and learning the physical and cultural rules of a virtual world requires an investment of time, money and a certain amount of trust that participation is worth the effort. Most critically, the more open the world, the more likely it is to expose participants to inappropriate content and interactions. On the other hand, virtual worlds are a precursor of the more immersive online environments forecast for the near future; engaging with them now will give educators a head start on supporting the next generation of learners.
With Evernote, modern college students have the chance to take notes, do homework, complete classwork, and even save class handouts in their digital notebooks without having to use a pen, paper, heavy files or copybooks. Teachers will no longer hear excuses like “I forgot my homework at home”, “My computer crashed”, “I didn’t have Internet connection at home” or even the famous line, “I didn’t know”. With Evernote, no such excuses exist; students do not miss a beat with Evernote. Evernote is great for all subject areas; students can share their class notebook with their teacher, so that the teacher can access their work 24/7. At the same time, the teacher will never have to take notebooks away from students for grading purposes. Teachers can also share a digital notebook with students, including audio files, videos, snapshots of notes taken from the whiteboard, handouts, and even class announcements.
This paper will focus on a specific online project management tool – Teambox – and its use as an assessment tool for student group/project work; it also deals with the subject of individual student contribution and accountability. It includes the types and importance of group work and the challenges it poses on assessment by teachers. This paper also focuses on the free online project management application used for team productivity; the feature’s built in it, and its application for student group work/projects. This tool can also work as a deterrent to the phenomenon of free riders that take advantage of others’ effort in the group project and also encourage team participation.
Online learning at tertiary institutions has traditionally been delivered using learning management systems (LMS) such as WebCT, Blackboard and Moodle. However, despite these LMS having some advantages such as allowing faculty to manage students’ online learning and to quickly publish course content, there are also some disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that traditional LMS-based courses are closed in nature, being both time bound and walled off. One solution to this problem is to use web-based blogs to deliver online courses, but this solution also has some associated problems such as privacy issues, intellectual property concerns and assessment challenges. A way to address the above problems is to combine open, web-based components and closed, traditional LMS-based components in a blended LMS. One such blended LMS, used in the Liberal Studies programme at the Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates, is featured in this paper. The paper describes in detail how the blended LMS has been created by using a locally-hosted, WordPress multi-site blog to deliver the open, web-based component and a traditional LMS, Blackboard 9, to deliver the closed component. The benefits of this system are discussed, as well as the problems encountered during the design and implementation stages.
The use of blogs—a computer-mediated communication—is explored for implications in teaching and learning business in an Arab World English as foreign language (EFL) environment. Review of current practice and research from a variety of contexts revealed a theoretical connection to systems theory, technology acceptance model, collaborative learning theory, and the ideas, connections and extensions classification model. Exploration through research produces an analysis of current teaching practice in an EFL and business teaching environment, including why blogs are useful in education and provides examples of how teachers have implemented blogs. A detailed method describing the technical implementation of a blog for a Year 3 Bachelor of e-Business class in the United Arab Emirates, is given as an example.
Online learning, Blogs, United Arab Emirates higher education, Technology-enhanced learning, Formative assessment, Peer-to-peer learning
The advent of Web 2.0 brings in endless possibilities to enhance collaborative learning in the classroom. In this paper a website that holds much promise for classroom application, voki.com, was analyzed and is recommended for teachers to use in a Learning Management System (LMS). In our opinion, adopting Voki in an LMS will enhance students’ learning experiences, as the teacher becomes an enabler and learning facilitator, thus enriching the learning experience for the student. A few examples are presented to show how we used Voki in our LMS, Blackboard Vista, at Dubai Women’s College, to enhance student learning of targeted content vocabulary.