Technology Integration in UAE Schools: Current Status and Way Forward

Technology Integration in UAE Schools: Current Status and Way Forward

Rana Tamim (Zayed University, UAE)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1984-5.ch002
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Abstract

Research has supported the assumption that computer technology is beneficial for students’ performance. Nevertheless, knowing that technology is beneficial is not sufficient on its own where teachers remain the key stakeholders in the success of the process. Teachers need to be aware of various issues, challenges, and ethical aspects when using technology for teaching, with such aspects being alleviated further in a young country with a conservative society such as the UAE. The chapter offers an overview of the Net Generation and computer technologies’ impact on student performance. It provides a briefing about the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its educational system while highlighting formal initiatives launched by the government to support the educational reform and introduction of technology into the K-12 classroom. Finally, the chapter presents preliminary findings from a research study that investigates teachers’ perceptions about technology integration and their current practices in a UAE private school.
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Introduction

No one can deny the current importance of computer technology and the level to which it has pervaded our daily lives. Its impact on different aspects of our communities is escalating on a daily bases and is being sensed more than ever before. The domains in which technology is getting to be significant and fundamental are highly varied and include entertainment, knowledge retrieval, governmental services, transmission of information, business transactions, health services, and communication across various areas around the globe.

Within the educational context, computer technologies’ impact is increasing on a continuous basis. Research has supported the hypothesis that computer technology is beneficial for students’ performance. However, the naïve assumption that introducing computers into the classroom and providing the technological infrastructure will lead to the successful integration of technological tools into the teaching and learning process has not been reflected in reality. While the actual impact of the teachers’ role is not fully understood, the plethora of research conducted worldwide indicates that the actual success of technology integration is highly dependent on the teachers’ perceptions, skills, and ability to utilise technology within pedagogically adequate frameworks. After all there are various issues, challenges, and ethical aspects that are to be considered when the decision is taken to introduce technology into the K-12 classroom. Such aspects are augmented further in a young country with a conservative society such as the UAE.

This chapter will offer an overview of the net generation and computer technologies’ impact on student performance. In addition, it will provide a briefing about the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its educational system while highlighting formal initiatives launched by the government to support the educational reform and introduction of technology into the K-12 classroom. Finally, the chapter will present preliminary findings from a research study that investigates teachers’ perceptions about technology integration and their current practices in a UAE private school.

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