Abu Dhabi: Around 1,500 mobile devices will be provided to first-year bachelor degree students at several universities in efforts to take bold step towards paperless classrooms and learning environments in the capital.

The move, which begin next month, will see the introduction of mobile technologies as learning tools for all Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) first–year students starting from the second semester in order to join more than 6,000 HCT foundation programme students, who are already using the tablet learning devices.

“The introduction of the technology to students beyond the foundation programme was designed to assist with the gradual integration of mobile learning education into curricula as well as student’s learning experience,” said Dr. Mark Drummond, the provost of HCT, on Sunday.

“The success of the initial mobile learning project, which has witnessed the introduction of about 6,370 mobile technology in the form of Apple iPads, has been the catalyst to include the technology for all first year bachelor programme students, starting in the second semester next month.”

The expansion of mobile technology was one of the most effective initiatives in engaging students and improving their educational experiences, as well as assisting the HCT faculty to adapt to the new methods in teaching.

“The integration of the mobile technologies will not replace teachers in the learning process,” said Dr. Tim Hegstrom, vice provost of academic affairs of HCT. “In fact, the teachers’ roles will be more significant to help in facilitating the students’ engagement with the new technologies, supervise the learning process and provide assistance and direction.”

The new initiative has been welcomed by students and faculty alike.

“I have noticed increased concentration during reading, as well as more students working with others to solve problems,” said an English teacher in the foundation programme.

A common response was the portability of the learning tools and environment and the savings on paper.

“It replaces books, pens, notebooks and laptops so the students come ready to class,” said another teacher. “The students like it. It is easy to carry everything around on one device.”

When asked about major benefits of the new applied learning programme, a teacher said: “I have learned a lot more about my students’ interests and skills. I am learning from students and there is much more creativity and critical thinking going on.”