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HCT Reinforces UAE's Smart Technology Initiatives at 3rd Annual Mobile Learning Conference

HCT Reinforces UAE's Smart Technology Initiatives at 3rd Annual Mobile Learning Conference

Over 1,000 educators and technologists share expertise on mobile learning technologies

DUBAI, 6 April 2015: The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the UAE's largest higher education institution, showcased its leadership in the integration of mobile learning and technologies in education, when it inaugurated its Third Annual Mobile Learning Conference at the HCT-Dubai Men's College this week. 

This year's conference, held under the theme of Towards a Smarter City, focuses on the impact of mobile technology on learning and society, and was convened with the full support and involvement from the Dubai Smart Government and the Watani Al Emarat Foundation. The opening day was comprised of 50 highly informative sessions and workshops.

The highly interactive event saw over 1,000 educational and technology experts from the HCT gather with representatives of UAE-based schools and post-secondary institutions, agencies and allied industry professionals, trainers and managers to share and discuss ideas and developments relating to the practical implementation of mobile and technology-based learning in the region.

The conference featured the GCC's first ever mini MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).  This will be online from April 6-9, 2015 and is free and open to the world.  The HCT's mini MOOC will consist of online workshops and discussion boards presented and moderated by mobile learning experts from around the globe. It was implemented by HCT to actively illustrate the changes in mobile learning and explore what is being achieved by the online courses. The mini MOOC can be accessed at calmdwc.com/lbd/lms/

The speakers for the conference's opening day included:

  • HE Ahmed Bin Humaidan, Director General of Dubai Smart Government

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  • Jon Bergmann, Chief Learning Officer of Flippedclass.com

  • Peter Ingle, Head of Sales for Panopto, EMEA

HE Ahmed Bin Humaidan spoke about the programmes being developed by Dubai institutions to process transactions with the public and also introduce smart solutions in all government dealings, in line with the vision and initiative of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to provide a world-class smart government in Dubai. 

In delivering the conference's welcoming address Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of the HCT, praised the UAE's strong leadership in promoting a knowledge economy. "We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Dubai Smart Government and for the leadership and encouragement of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai," he said.

 "This year's conference highlights all the technological developments that are useful in enhancing the experiences and skills of HCT students. Students globally demand innovative practices of teaching and learning and we must follow our Government's lead and keep pace with developments in technology," Dr Al Shamsi added.

The HCT Vice Chancellor noted that the conference reflected HCT's ongoing commitment to excellence in education and focus on successful student learning outcomes in technology and innovation. "This commitment to the integration of mobile learning pedagogies have touched the interests and passion of the so called the 'iPad generation' which makes learning more exciting and therefore increased student engagement and retention," he said.

"We are very proud of our commitment to providing our students with a technology-enhanced learning environment equipped with cutting-edge devices and practices. It is important that we continue to seek out and implement best practices in education, including mobile learning," Dr Al Shamsi said.

"It is pleasing to see that this conference is taking the next step in information delivery by offering the workshops online throughout the conference - allowing for learning and interaction wherever people are located, which is very important for students," The Vice Chancellor added.

In his plenary address Jon Bergmann, who is considered one of the pioneers in the Flipped Class movement and is a co-founder of The Flipped Learning Network , showcased the international contemporary vision for transformation into smart learning in the classroom and programmes designed for promoting student interaction. A highlight of Mr Bergmann's presence during the conference was his presentation of a bespoke workshop on flipped classrooms for HCT's Emirati faculty members in the first afternoon session.

Peter Ingle, a distance communication expert, spoke in the second plenary session about the experience of Oxford University in the use of distance communication and the use of 500 other universities and colleges.

The conference's 50 sessions and workshops, held on the first day, shared ideas and experiences in relation to the practical implementation of mobile technologies in education and society in general. Some of the session topics included:

  • Blogging in the Classroom

  • Create Websites and ePortfolios in Minutes on Your iPad

  • Creating "Live TV Style" Educational Video Podcasts

  • Paperless Classrooms

  • Using Video Streaming as Powerful Means for Enhancing Learning              

  • Using e-Texts in Blackboard Learn to Enhance Student Engagement

  • Classrooms on the Go

Dr Saoud Al Mulla, Director of the HCT-Dubai Colleges, said: "The HCT believes that smart cities and a smart business environment emerge from smart learning. This is why the conference focuses on the factors that led to the prevalence of mobile learning worldwide. The conference will discuss the new concepts and features in the fields of academic technological advancements, in addition to the advantages of their utilization by UAE companies and institutions. The conference also gives proposals for overcoming challenges in this rapidly growing field."

The conference also witnessed enthusiastic and active student participation from students enrolled in the HCT's Faculty of Computer Information Science, both as delegates and as workshop presenters.

About the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)
Founded in 1988 with four colleges, the Higher Colleges of Technology have grown to be the largest of the higher educational institutions in the UAE, gaining a well-respected reputation for innovative learning. Over 22,000 students attend 17 modern, technology-oriented men's and women's campuses throughout the UAE. HCT offers a wide range of English-taught programmes in the Faculties of Applied Communications, Business, Education & General Studies, Engineering Technology & Sciences, Foundations, Health Sciences, Arabic & Emirati Studies and Computer Information Sciences. These programmes are all relevant to the UAE's fast growing and evolving economic sectors and embody HCT's Learning by Doing philosophy.  All programmes and courses are designed in consultation with business and industry leaders to ensure that the skills students learn are job-relevant and to high standards. They are constantly monitored to ensure they are at the cutting edge of industry standards and technological change. Visit www.hct.ac.ae. Follow us on Facebook  hctuae and Twitter @hctuae

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Paul Lancaster (HCT Communications Department)
Mob: +971 506160964.
Email: plancaster@hct.ac.ae

Firas Naasan (DMC Media & PR Coordinator)
Mob: +971 505301516.
Email: fnaasan@hct.ac.ae

© Press Release 2015

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