Dubai: Dubai schools plan to trial a solution to reduce teacher workload and paperwork by using an online platform for lesson planning, delivery and assessment, Gulf News can reveal.
Working with Dubai Future Foundation, the UAE’s Taaleem education group will pilot the use of the London-based ‘Teacherly’ digital platform in some of its schools to deliver customised lessons online.
The project will reduce the need for text books, printouts of assignments and projects, mark sheets, school dairies or whiteboards used in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
Once logged in, teachers will be able to create lessons or use existing templates for the class. They will be able to add learning objectives, quizzes, and extracurricular activities. Teachers will also be able to make teacher groups and digitally share the lessons or resources – such as images or videos – on the platform.
Teacherly says it allows teachers to track each individual student progress more easily, flagging up areas where extra help is needed, as inputs from students are digitally compiled and analysable by software.
Saeed Al Falasi, executive director at the Dubai Future Foundation, said: “With education being one of the key sectors affected by the rapid changes in technology we at Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) realise the potential lying in innovative start-ups utilising technology to solve challenges facing this sector. The partnership between the Dubai-based education company Taaleem and Teacherly is a testament to our efforts in connecting startups with government entities and corporates to co-create the future.”
Gavin Walford-Wright, chief human resources officer at Taaleem, told Gulf News that teacher workload is a constant balancing act.
“Assessment, tracking of students’ progress, report writing and collaborative planning meetings – these all impact on the daily workload of teachers. Along with these demands are professional development, after school activities, parent meetings and responding to daily unplanned events that occur because of the ‘human’ element of the job; these all have a huge demand on teachers’ time,” he added.
Although Taaleem schools “are well-resourced and seek expert advice to adopt and adapt tools, strategies and resources that support teachers in their daily work”, the group as a whole is turning to new technology to make teacher workload management even easier, said Walford-Wright.
Sharing best practice
“Teacherly provides a platform and resource that is hugely beneficial when it comes to teachers’ planning and time management. The aim is to improve learning outcomes and make teaching better for all by [digitally] sharing content, best practices and professional development resources. We believe that providing such a platform and resource will relieve a huge burden from teachers and free up time for other important tasks.”
Pilot phase of the project
Norm Dean, chief education officer at Taaleem, said in the pilot phase Teacherly will be trialed in schools using different curricula frameworks to ensure compatibility and adaptability before going mainstream.
“The ‘intelligent’ adaptive nature of the tool will provide tailored planning options for teachers that will reduce workload, and at the same time provide developmentally appropriate scaffolding of lessons toward identifiable goals and learning standards,” he added.
Atif Mahmood, Founder and CEO of Teacherly, said the company is working with DFA and Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority “to help digitise and centralise the process for dissemination of best practice in schools and to help centralise the distribution of lessons in schools by working with a number of schools that showed interest in Teacherly”.