x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

No app for that

iPads are no substitute for good old-fashioned teaching and learning.

Technology is intended to make our lives better. It simplifies our tasks and gives us easy access to information. Who doesn't take recourse to Google when some stubborn fact eludes them? And the result? We appear smarter, but critical thinking and retention of what we learn may be dying arts.

Educators in the UAE have been looking for ways to further engage pupils in subjects, such as maths and science, and help them build lifelong learning opportunities. Truth be told, traditional teaching materials such as whiteboards and textbooks are often failing to keep digital-age pupils engaged.

Part of that effort is the Abu Dhabi Education Council's iClass initiative, launched in 2010. Students now use iPads and laptops in schools and universities as part of their study requirement. The purpose is to aid learning, but as The National reported yesterday, educators now believe the opposite may be happening.

Technology only helps if it is well-managed. And a recent study by the Pew Research Center finds that many teachers worldwide fear that technology does "more to distract students than to help them academically".

That may prove what we already knew: when it comes to education, no app can replace hard work.