The Higher Colleges of Technology demonstrated it is at the vanguard of mobile learning integration in education, when it hosted the Mobile Learning (mLearning) Festival 2013 at the HCT-Dubai Men’s College on December 17.
The one-day, paperless festival, held under the theme of Sharing the mobile learning experience, saw over 1000 educational and technology experts from the Higher Colleges of Technology and other UAE-based institutions gather to discuss, share and deconstruct ideas, developments and best practices relating to mobile learning (mLearning) in the United Arab Emirates.
This learning forum was a continuation of a series of highly successful instructional and collaborative training and instructional events that took place over the 2012/13 academic year, which involved the UAE’s federal higher education institutions.
In keeping with the concept of those previous events, the mLearning Festival was a venue for educators to share their experiences and ideas, through conversations, case studies, workshops and panel discussions about using mobile technology for teaching and learning.
The festival featured a series of over fifty, 15-minute and 45-minute interactive workshop sessions throughout the day which are centred on the integration of the mobile technology into teaching and learning. The 15-minutes sessions, called Speed Geek Tracks, will consist of quick demonstrations of mobile-based Teaching & Learning strategies in a fun and interactive manner. The 45-minute interactive conversations will be detailed case studies, workshops or panel discussions.
The sessions were set up within close proximity to each other at the venue to facilitate quick movement of delegates from one session to another. Overall, the 15 minutes formats were highly popular among the delegates.
The purpose of the interactive sessions was to share concepts and experiences surrounding teaching and learning with mobile technology. Some of the session topics discussed included Boosting student productivity in iPads, Using iBooks Widgets to engage students, Mobile Learning in Language Education: An Impact Study and Differentiated Learning in Foundation Level Classes.
The event also highlighted HCT’s connection with various technology and education industry partners including Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Blackboard, Gartner, Pearson, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press, BMW- Atlas Knowledge and Ellucian who participated and presented in the conference. There was a showcase of the BMW Road Safety Awareness Program, which is being undertaken by HCT Foundation students.
A feature of the festival was that no conference or programme papers were given to the delegates. All conference information was provided on the conference website and a specially created App continuously provided updates and changes to the delegates.
Furthermore, all sessions were recorded either on Tablets (iPad and MS Surface). Another feature was the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) nature of the event, where all presenters supplied their own tablets while HCT provided the projection devices, such as projectors, Smart boards and plasma displays.
Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said the MLearning Festival was a perfect follow-up from the 2012 launch of the Federal Mobile Learning Initiative, as it continued the forward momentum of mobile learning.
“The Higher Colleges of Technology have achieved so much in the field of mLearning and the integration of the mobile technology into our teaching and learning pedagogy. This dedication to mobile technologies demonstrates our ongoing commitment to excellence in education, which has a strong focus on successful student learning outcomes in technology and innovation,” Dr Kamali 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, so that they can enter the workforce with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in this increasingly technology-focused world,” he added.
Dr Kamali thanked all the industry and corporate partners who greatly contributed to the success of the mLearning Festival.
Himanshu Joshi, HCT Chief Education Technology Officer, said the event was a huge success for HCT’s mobile learning initiatives. “This shows our faculty commitment in the mobile learning implementation at HCT. This festival will be an annual event on the HCT calendar, aimed at keeping HCT at the forefront of mobile technology integration,” he said.
The online edition of the UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning, published by HCT, was also launched during the event. The theme of this 4th edition was ‘Redefining Mobility: From eLearning to mLearning’. The articles can be downloaded from the website www.ejournal.ae