GEMS to unveil new learning experience in Feb

Will begin deployment of its customised virtual learning environment (VLE) to UAE schools later this month

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By  Imthishan Giado Published  February 2, 2009

Education specialist Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) is set to begin deployment of its customised virtual learning environment (VLE) to UAE schools later this month. The UAE-based education provider manages more than 20 schools in the country and more than 85,000 students in its worldwide network of institutions.

Mukund Patel, chief officer for educational infrastructure at GEMS explains how the VLE will work: “I’ve just come back from the UK where we are talking to a number of vendors for the curriculum material we will be putting in the VLE.”

“Once that’s implemented, all our students, teachers and parents will have their own password and will be able to access it, as well as their own homepage. From that, they will be able to access lot of curriculum materials, reference materials and will be able to work on projects together. The collaboration between GEMS schools worldwide will really grow exponentially. Eventually we hope to be doing podcasting and build up a library of videos on it,” he says.

The system is based upon Microsoft’s Learning Gateway platform, but according to Patel has been heavily customised for GEMS Education by local integrator ITWorx. Phase one of deployment will begin by the middle of February.

In November last year, GEMS announced that it would invest $5.4 million in the IT infrastructure of its network of schools within the UAE, outfitting classrooms with projectors, broadband internet connections, and providing laptops for teachers. Patel adds that the VLE is part of this investment, but may well require more funding in the future.

“I think we will need to inject more capital into it as we acquire more software and more curriculum material. That ($5.4 million) was the original figure but I see that the costs are going to grow,” he states.

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