Digital Essay Proposal
“Always learning, everywhere, anytime” (Lindsay, 2018)
Around the world schools are starting to adopt online learning practices to overcome educational barriers (Barbour, 2014 ). In the United States online learning is being used to afford opportunities for at-risk students (Wicks, 2010) and in Australia it is being used reach students in rural and isolated areas of the country (Barbour, 2014 )..
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) face their own challenges. Pennington (2015) highlights that students are spending less time in school compared to the global average. In addition, during Ramadan schools are required to adhere to Ministry regulations to close classrooms early, reducing in class learning time by 40 hours (Masudi, 2017). Combined with the significant drop in attendance rates seen over Ramadan and the below average yearly instruction time, how are teachers catering for student learning when so much time is being lost?
Selwyn (2016) suggests that we need to be cautious not to continue to assume that technology can be used as a “digital fix” to a problem. With this in mind, the essay will look critically at the possibilities, limitations and barriers of the use of online learning practices in the UAE to maximize learning opportunities and extend learning into homes. The essay will focus on exploring various platforms (Google & Moodle) and digital tools (Padlet, Zeetings, Kahoot & Scribble), whilst comparing pedagogical frameworks such blended learning, virtual and flipped classrooms. This essay will aim to promote and inspire educators to provide flexible teaching and learning options for students in the UAE.
Putting things into context
Barbour, M. (2014 ). A History of International K-12 Online and Blended Instruction. Sacred Heart University. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1202&context=ced_fac
Lindsay, J. (2018). Module 4: Topic 4.1: Always learning everywhere. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_34205_1&content_id=_1941496_1
Masudi, F. (2017, May 22). School hours reduced to five for Ramadan. Gulf News. Retrieved from https://gulfnews.com/news/uae/education/school-hours-reduced-to-five-for-ramadan-1.2031109
Pennington, R. (2015, March 10). Number of academic days in UAE public schools below average. The National. Retrieved from https://www.thenational.ae/uae/education/number-of-academic-days-in-uae-public-schools-below-average-1.45262
Selwyn, N. (2016). Is technology good for education? Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Wicks, M. (2010). A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning. International Association for K-12 Online Learning. (2) Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED514892.pdf