x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Microsoft, Etisalat and Education Ministry join forces to upgrade online lessons

The "Etisalat Education Technology Centre" is a joint venture between the phone company, The Ministry of Education and Microsoft

DUBAI // A unit to help remotely train teachers and pupils alike was opened on Monday in Dubai.

The “Etisalat Education Technology Centre” is a joint venture between the phone company, the Ministry of Education and Microsoft.

The centre is located at the Ministry of Education and features touch-screen smart boards and computers, with a capacity of 60 people via video conference.

The centre is equipped with a production room where educators can make tutorial videos which can be sent to students to provide a useful revision resource.

It is the first of three such centres planned by the partners in a project worth more than Dh20 million.

“The current centre will be a hub for smart education, research and development and experiential educational tools that is located at the Ministry of Education offices in Dubai and across the country connected over Etisalat network,” said Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, the Minister of Education.

“The centre with its state-of-the art equipment is in line with our direction towards the implementation of digital schools and smart learning.

“Etisalat is proud of its strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education, we worked closely with the ministry in identifying the exact requirements and in building the centre with the latest educational technology solutions,” said Saleh Al Abdooli, chief executive of Etisalat UAE.

“Our role is to utilise the best technology available in the world to provide the best to our people and especially the student community. Etisalat is proud to work with the Ministry of Education again as well as technology partners enabling government initiatives and smart education in the country.”

The project builds on the creation of Etisalat Duroosi YouTube channel, where teaching resources and support are posted to cater to the needs of educators and students in Grades 11 and 12 across the UAE.

“The hub is a base for all technology experiments and solutions and acts as a base for training in partnership with Microsoft,” said Amal Al Khoos, director of the Etisalat Foundation, Ayaadi.

“They have a great programme that focuses on educators to increase the level of knowledge in the use of the latest technology. This is the first centre, but once we have more we can connect them. The next one will be in Ras Al Khaimah,” she said.

“What makes this different is the range of features. Duroosi has 600 videos available for students and the multimedia lab supports this platform. So teachers can come and capture the lecture and send them to students. This base enables the educators to reach students easily, just by broadcasting a link or live video. This is all about connecting people.”

Microsoft’s role in the project has been to provide a range of software and hardware for the Hub, as well as access to so-called “cloud” computing, where information is stored online.

“We believe that empowered educators, supervisors and school leaders will help bring innovation in teaching and learning to the students inside and outside the classroom and enable them with 21st Century skills for lifetime employability and entrepreneurship,” said Khalil Abdel Massih, academic programme manager for the Middle East and Africa at Microsoft.

“We have localised the education framework that we have been employing for the past year into Arabic.

“For us, it is a connected learning environment where students should be able to access information from the ‘cloud’ anywhere, anytime and use productive tools needed in the job market.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae