How do you mark the start of the largest experiment to test a nation-wide mobilization of mobile learning in higher education anywhere in the world?
On September 25th 2012 His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister for Higher Education & Scientific Research inaugurated the First Annual Global Mobile Learning Congress 2012 at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain. This congress marked the achievement of the Federal Mobile Learning Initiative (initiated only in April 2012), and has set the three Federal higher education institutions of UAE to introduce iPad-based teaching and learning for entering Foundation Program students this September – starting an exciting programme to explore post personal-computer learning at scale. Something like 14,000 students will use Apple’s new iPad to "learn different".
KMi Director, Peter Scott presented the Open University’s perspective on learning in post-personal computer world at the congress as part of a series of international guest presentations helping both celebrate the launch, and help the UAE team to think carefully about how they will be tracking and evaluating its impact as the Foundation students progress in their work. Other Congress speakers included Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the Founder and President of US-based consulting firm Hippasus, which focuses on transformative applications of information technologies to education; Dr. James Ashby, President and Chief of Psychometrics, CORE Edutech, USA, and who is a leading innovator in research-based education designs for elementary, secondary, and higher education; and Apple Distinguished Educator David Baugh recounting the great success of the School in a Box initiative which allows remote schools, villages and towns in places such as Nepal.
Federal Mobile Learning Initiative Chairman Dr. Tayeb Kamali noted that this event was just the start of an important an ongoing collaborative project from the three Federal higher education institutions to help boost students’ learning outcomes.
It is a very exciting time to be learner in the UAE! And yet more exciting to be a teacher in this new world.