HCT moves towards paperless learning for all students
- United Arab Emirates: Sunday, January 13 - 2013 at 12:06
- PRESS RELEASE
The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) will take a bold step towards paperless classrooms and learning environments, starting from the second semester, as its 17 colleges reinforce the system-wide learning by doing philosophy in 2013.
They will join over 6,000 HCT Foundation Programme students who are already using the tablet learning devices.
HCT Provost Dr. Mark Drummond, said, "The introduction of the technology to students beyond the Foundation students was designed to assist with the gradual integration of mobile learning education into HCT curricula and the students' learning experience."
"This is a further extension of the learning by doing philosophy that all of our colleges are emphasizing in their daily practices," Dr. Drummond said.
"We will see a seamless transition, using mobile technology, from the Foundations Programme right throughout the Bachelor's Programmes. Our Foundations students will have the untold benefit of using tablet technology as a learning tool right through their education at HCT," he concluded.
At the start of the 2012-13 academic year, in September 2012, the Higher Colleges of Technology introduced mobile technology, in the form of Apple iPads, to about 6,370 Foundations Programme students across its 17 campuses. This next roll-out of the mobile devices will be to approximately 1500 new year-one Bachelor's degree students.
"This is a wonderful way in which to celebrate our 25th Anniversary - an institution renowned for its cutting-edge and innovative use of technology in the classroom," Dr. Tayeb Kamali, HCT Vice Chancellor said.
"The success of the initial mobile learning project, with positive feedback from both students and faculty, has been the catalyst to include the technology for all first year bachelor programme students, starting in second semester next month," he added.
Dr. Tim Hegstrom, HCT Vice Provost of Academic Affairs reiterated the mobile technology's benefits to the learning by doing philosophy. "We have extended the scope of the mobile technology as we have seen that already its use has greatly enhanced student learning capabilities and engagement, as well as assisting HCT faculty adapt to the new methods and pedagogies in teaching and learning," Dr. Hegstrom said.
Dr. Hegstrom added, "The expansion of mobile technology to the Bachelor's programmes was one of a series of initiatives to engage students, improve their educational experiences and reinforce the HCT's strengths in its learning by doing philosophy. Other steps include the Curriculum Conference & Curriculum Institute, held in November 2012, which brought together experts in the fields of e-learning and looked at a greater shift to more interactive projects for students through the use of mobile technologies; and faculty e-learning training events."
However, the integration of the mobile technologies will not replace the teachers or faculty in the learning process. In fact the teachers' roles are vital as they will facilitate the students' engagement with the new technologies, supervise learning and provide assistance and direction.
Since September 2012, the utility of the mobile learning technologies has been closely monitored by Dr. Hegstrom and his team, with the result being overwhelmingly positive feedback. Some primary indicators have been that HCT's students are motivated to learn with it, more engaged in learning; and able to learn autonomously and at their own pace.
Faculty members using the devices have reported there is greater scope for blended learning, or an 'immersion environment' - provided with more opportunities to deliver content in different and engaging ways.
"I have noticed increased concentration during reading, as well as more students working with others to problem solve. The students are starting to find out ways to answer their own questions without automatically asking the teacher," said one Foundation Programme English teacher.
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's easy to carry everything around on one device," said a colleague.
One of the major benefits to the project has been the engagement of faculty in the new learning paradigm. "I have learned a lot more about my students' interests and skills. I am learning from the students and there is much more creativity and critical thinking going on," a teacher replied to a survey.
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