The complete digitisation of curricula and the integration of Microsoft's Kinect technology are but a few emerging trends global technology giants expect to see manifest in Middle East classrooms.
Information and communication technology (ICT) in education was the basis for last week's BETT Middle East exhibition in Abu Dhabi, where Gulf News caught up with officials from Hewlett Packard (HP) and Microsoft to discuss forthcoming trends in education.
"From discussions I've had I think we will see an increase of the digitisation of course content with more curricula and books being stored in clouds," said Antoine Barre, vice-president of HP Personal Systems Group for Middle East and Africa. "A second trend I see is ICT will no longer be placed next to or complementary to educational pedagogy but instead emerge within it as the two merge together."
He said course content will develop in a way that will allow for the integration of multimedia technology in order to facilitate student understanding, an example of which could be the ability for students to simulate complete chemistry experiments on their computing devices.
"A third trend I see is increased mobility as students will have their educational data available to them everywhere through any type of device, laptop, tablet or smartphone," he said. "I think this will enable students to be more efficient in how they find answers to whatever questions they have in life … as I think this goes beyond the scope of academic training."
Azza Al Shinnawy, Public Sector Education Lead at Microsoft, said educational institutions in the UAE, whether schools or universities, are indeed expanding their scope of ICT into education.
"The [ICT] expansion is happening at various levels depending on the leeway of freedoms, but the wave is coming at different strengths in both the public and private education sectors," she said.
"Students are probably the most ready and exposed as we talk ICT outside education, but they are in the best position to absorb what comes up in the classroom."
She added, however, that although some teachers are ready to embrace the ICT wave, more effort still needs to be exerted when it comes to teacher training.
"Traditional teaching methods need to converge with 21st century teaching and learning." Both Microsoft and HP are working closely with the Abu Dhabi Education Council with regard to teacher training and other initiatives.