Gulf schools innovating classroom design to improve quality standards
by Gulf Educational Supplies & Solutions | 2/6/2016
Teachers to learn from latest innovations in enhanced learning experiences through design and technology
Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 25 January 2015 – Schools across the Gulf region are turning to innovations in classroom design to increase engagement in the classroom.
Changes are happening in a growing number of schools in the GCC who realize the powerful influence of the physical space, which can act as the 'Third Teacher' - significantly improving a student's learning experience.
An interactive life-size installation of the concept will be showcased at GESS Dubai, designed by Office Inspirations, to help introduce the benefits of enhanced learning environments to more schools across the Gulf, which are expected to attend the region’s premier education show. It will feature Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) sessions that include activities as animation and film-making workshops as well as a variety of challenges for primary, secondary and tertiary students to be hosted by LEGO.
'Enhanced learning environments are helping schools in other countries help improve student learning experiences, by capturing and maintaining student attention. Existing new research as well as new discoveries are showing a very strong connection between how much students are able to learn based on how their classrooms are designed,' said Matt Thompson, Project Director, F&E Group, organisers of GESS Dubai scheduled to take place on 1-3 March 2016 at the New Za'abeel Halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Among the featured speakers at the STEAM Challenge Classroom at GESS include Prof Stephen Heppell, who will share his insights on how technology has changed the learning and teaching experience in classrooms.
An internationally recognised expert in the fields of learning, new media and technology, Heppell says technology has re-defined how knowledge is shared in classrooms, with design playing an integral part in the process. 'Learning has extended beyond classroom walls - classes with Skype bars are now common, Mystery Skype is a worldwide meme and yesterday’s pen-pals have become today’s global project teams. Learning can be a much more engaging experience for both teachers and students and we are thrilled to show this at the STEAM Challenge Classroom at GESS Dubai. I am excited to be back and share how we can collectively use technology to make schools even more extraordinary agents of learning,' Heppell added.
In the UAE, Office Inspirations has recently worked with GEMS Wellington Dubai Silicon Oasis School and Swiss International Scientific School to help achieve their student learning objectives by following this concept. 'Traditional classroom environments are not aligned with how the student’s brain works, especially when it comes to attention,' said Liam Flynn, Marketing Manager at Office Inspirations; authorised dealer of Steelcase, a leading global manufacturer of education solutions. 'Following recent research studies by Steelcase Workspace Futures Team & Gallup, we are understanding more about the science behind modern student attention patterns and designing learning spaces to suit'.
A dynamic combination of exhibition and conference, the 9th edition of GESS Dubai is the region's premier showcase for educational supplies and solutions; and also includes an extensive, world-class educational, CPD certified programme to help teachers, educators and academics of all levels develop their skills and gain insight from international experts. Education professionals are free to register with online registration now open at www.gessdubai.com.
Three ways technology has re-shaped the classroom, according to Stephen Heppell
1. Personal tools bring writeable surfaces: Phones, tablets, and other devices, mostly have built in cameras, and where these are embraced and welcomed one huge impact has been the almost viral spread of writeable surfaces in schools: windows, walls, desks, everywhere. From the toughest urban school to posh schools, personal cameras have enabled children to capture their work on writeable surfaces and the advantages include significantly better remembering of work, better awareness of peer performance and more widespread celebration of excellence. Take away the personal cameras and none of this works.
2. Softer and lower walls: With everyone from employers to the PISA tests expecting collaborative problem solving technology has enabled collaboration to extend way beyond the classroom to other timezones, other cultures and of course other children. Classes with Skype bars are now common, Mystery Skype is a worldwide meme and yesterday’s pen-pals have become today’s global project teams. Learning extends way beyond the classroom walls now.
3. Young and younger: anyone who has watched a two year-old confidently finding their way around a tablet can see that they are doing things that were simply not possible even a decade ago. Perhaps this is most apparent in STEM and STE(A)M activity where we now see the youngest children assembling circuits in conductive PlayDoh, programming their Christmas BB-8 droids in Tickle, making xylophones from bananas with their Makey Makey boards, and so much more. An education system build around Piaget's age bands is now struggling to cope with children who are self-evidently running way ahead of where the system expects them to be.
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