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GETEX matches teachers with technology

The use of IT in education is on the curriculum at the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX), being held this week in the UAE.

The use of IT in education was on the curriculum at the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX), being held this week in the UAE.

Providers and end users of learning technologies met up at the Dubai World Trade Centre for a three-day event to discuss new solutions and approaches to education.

Professor John Collins, director of training and quality assurance at GEMS, an education provider in the UAE, spoke about the importance of selecting appropriate resources.

GEMS manages nearly 25 schools in the UAE, as well as schools in Qatar, Jordan, Libya, India, and will soon have a presence in Egypt. It uses Microsoft Office software and hardware from Acer and HP.

“We have specific subject-related software,” said Collins. GEMS is currently in talks with developers to produce in-house elearning solutions for the continuous professional development of its teachers.

“We’ve got four people we’re trying to work with and we’re in the pilot stage of deciding who we’re going to use, but two of them are from India,” he added.

Beat Jost, director general of the Worlddidac Association, said: “There is a big trend towards interactive white boards and the coming together of games and educational applications.”

He added that simulations were important for educational purposes because they were increasingly being used by businesses.

Referring to MIT’s project to produce an affordable computer for developing countries, Bob Turner, chairman of the programme committee for International Conferences and Exhibitions, which organised the event, said: “With the combination of the US$100 PC and open source, it looks like the way is clear for education to make some very interesting advances.”

Speaking on IT project management, Sharifa Hajjat, elearning training specialist at Dubai Women’s College, said that last year the college managed to double the number of IT projects it completed, through better project management. The college has increasingly used elearning technology for examinations, such as its laboratory safety module.

“Every single student in health science should go through this course and take the tests,” said Hajjat. “If the student doesn’t pass, she can’t use the lab until she has passed.”

The school also provides Arabic touch-typing lessons and an introduction to business management through elearning.

Ferruh Gurtas, education manager for Intel in the region, told the audience that Intel has spent US$100m investing in education and has trained more than three million teachers in over 35 countries. The three millionth teacher was from Jordan.

Intel provides an online tool for students of science and mathematics, www.skoool.com, which will soon be available in Arabic.

“We are changing from a resource-based society to a knowledge-based society,” said Gurtas. “If countries are getting their money only from oil and not developing their knowledge economy, the economy is going to suffer. Dubai is a good example of an economy that is aware of that.”

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