DUBAI //Students in more than 30 public schools will be learning from e-books by the end of the year as part of the federal education authority's push for more Information Computer Technology in the classrooms.
The Ministry of Education has started the E-Learning Gateway project which will see all 425 public schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates connected to high speed Internet services and technology infrastructure within six years. This will enable schools to conduct all teaching, learning and student management online within six years.
The pilot project that began last year in 10 schools will be rolled out to 20 more schools in the academic year that beings in September.
The aim of the initiative is to make lessons more interactive and boost student performance said Badria Yousif Hussain, IT director at the ministry.
"It is to let teachers and students collaborate online and take advantage of much more material than what can be presented in the textbook," she said.
"We also want the students to be independent learners and so the teacher will only guide them while they research and develop their own projects by using the online resources."
At schools that are part of the programme, students and teachers will be provided with a user name and password that gives them access to more than 7,000 subject modules, including mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and geography. This year, the ministry has also introduced e-content in Arabic and social studies. Teachers have been told to hand out assignments and interact with students through social networking platforms like wikis, blogs and chat forums.
Currently, the authority's focus is on high school students but material will eventually be created for all grade levels.
"We are doing this in phases because we need to first create the infrastructure required to support the programme at these schools as well as train the teachers in using the tools," Ms Hussain said.
The gateway is not only for the curriculum but got school management to help teachers track students' progress as well, said Rana al Khatib, the project head at the ministry.
"They can measure students' performance during the year and also track their attendance. If a student is absent or has missed a class, the teacher responsible can immediately send an SMS or email to the parent."
The computerised system will help schools address issues of low turnout, she added.