Education UAE - Winter 2021

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WINTER 2021

NEW ED-TECH SECTION THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION

TOUCH-TYPE READ AND SPELL THE DYSLEXIA FRIENDLY APPROACH

ALEF EDUCATION AWARD

Celebrates 71 winners from UAE public schools

10 WAYS TO USE BESPOKE WALL ART BY PROMOTE YOUR SCHOOL


Learn anytime, anywhere…

Live virtual classrooms

unifinity.institute


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OUR BELLS ARE JINGLING!

I

t’s that time of the year again! The atmosphere is brimming with the vibes of joy and excitement brought about by the Christmas - New Year festivities. And for many young people, there is an additional celebration because they are getting an extra half-a-day off school. As the UAE moves to a four-and-a-half day working (and school) week, aimed at improving work-life balance and economic competitiveness, the nation’s schools welcome the move, although it does not come without its challenges. In this issue, we look at how school leaders are acting quickly to change timetables, school hours, and breaks in ‘The Education World and the New Working Week’. We speak to Dr Sarah McGeown, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, about children’s reading development. We also look to the future with Phil Redhead, an independent education consultant based in Dubai and the Director of Education and Innovation at Kinteract, who acts as our guide in the world of hyper-personalised learning, artificial intelligence, and the extraordinary opportunities of the metaverse.

We also speak to Her Highness Sheikha Salama Bint Hazza Al Nahyan about her books, favourite authors, and encouraging children to write their own stories. Educational Technology (EdTech) improvements in recent years have genuinely astonished, with Idea Center, Phantom II Limited’s education arm, having been at the forefront of this revolution for the past 30 years. Read about how they are working with individual schools and teachers to help students prepare for a rapidly changing technological world, including in the creative arts. Unifinity is another intriguing business, not least because one of its many offerings allows students to have the opportunity to fund their own education – but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. There is, of course, as always, much more within the pages of this festive edition of Education UAE, from robots to rugby, but I’ll finish by simply wishing everyone happiness, peace, and prosperity. Have a joyous 2022!

Rod Millington Editor-in-Chief

Rod Millington has been active in the commercial writing sector for over 30 years, with work published throughout Europe, North America, the Far East, and the Middle East. During this time, he has had the privilege to speak to a wide range of fascinating and entrepreneurial people, from captains of industry through to pop icons such as Sir Paul McCartney. In total, Rod has had over 25 million words committed to print across more than 35 publications for clients as diverse as FIFA, Cunard, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and Dubai Municipality.

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TEAM Belinda Breeze Daniel Murad Laura Wojciechowski Rod Millington

CONTACT educationuae@tpg.media www.education-uae.com

SOCIAL MEDIA @educationuaemag @educationuaemag @education-uae

All our publications are printed using recycled paper.

BECAUSE WE CARE


4 Contents

22

The Arbor School provides an education in the best traditions of the British Curriculum.

42

Students able to learn the subject they choose, by the teacher of their choice.

98

A recent study concludes that 20% of principals leave their post due to burnout.


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THE FEATURES IN THIS ISSUE INCLUDE… DID YOU KNOW?

THE NEW NORMAL

8 The Education World And The New Working Week 12 Developing Good Governance In Dubai Schools With Rsacademics 14 Dubai Private Schools See 3.5% Growth In Enrolment 16 GESS Dubai Post Show Report 20 Ways To Use Bespoke Wall Art In Your School 22 Learning With Purpose

58 The Rise Of Online Education 60 Fostering A Love Of Reading Among Young People During Holidays

SPORTS

EXCELLENCE IN

66 The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai Hosts A Oneof-a Kind Rugby Experience 68 Ditch The Desks And Learn 70 New Sports Centre In Sharjah For Children And Adults

Schools

OUR WORLD

26 Brighton College Abu Dhabi Celebrates 10 Years Of Academic Excellence 28 Brighton College Dubai Celebrates The Golden Jubilee By Launching A 100% Sponsored Scholarship 30 Accelerating K-12 Math Learning 32 Swiss International School Marks UAE National Day With Stunning Artwork

Higher education

34 The Value Of An International Medical Degree 36 GBS Dubai The Grand Inauguration 39 University Of Manchester Hosts Part Time Masters Degree Graduation 40 Ajman University’s Research Output, Quality Of Research Show Phenomenal Growth 41 NYUAD Students Named As 2023 Schwarzman Scholars

EDTECH 42 Students In Wonderland! 44 Carfax Education Completes Seed Round At $10 Million Valuation To Build Global Online Learning Platform 46 Revolutionising The Education Sector 50 Touch-type Read And Spell 54 Ai And Machine Learning In Schools 56 Veronica Andrino: Turning Vision Into Value

76 Who Are Mobile Gamers In UAE And How Do They Spend Their Time? 78 Bitesize Leonardo Da Vinci

THE LOUNGE 82 Who Will Be The Next Emirates Skywards Millionaire 84 Leading Emirati Artist goes Back To School 85 The Mindful Teacher’s Toolkit

TRAVEL 86 Why Legoland® Dubai Is A Must This Festive Season 88 Saadiyat Celebrations! 92 Another Day In Paradise

HEALTH AND NUTRITION 98 We’re Facing A Tragic Crisis Of Principal Burnout 100 Obesity:eat Better, not Less

MYTH OR TRUTH 102 Writing to Santa 101


SPECTACULAR FESTIVE MEMORIES The happiest, most loving times of the year are upon us, and we’ve put together the best Festive celebrations to surprise and delight, all with a touch of Jumeirah glamour inspired by island life. Let’s welcome the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display.

To gift exceptional moments this festive season, scan QR Code

For reservations, please call +971 2 811 4342 or email JSIrestaurants@jumeirah.com



8 Did You Know?

THE EDUCATION WORLD AND THE NEW WORKING WEEK It is anticipated that schools and universities across the UAE will follow the UAE will follow the new four-anda-half-day work week from 1 January 2022, with Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday forming the new weekend. Confirming the proposed shift to the new working week, the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) in Abu Dhabi said it has instructed all principals of private schools to change the weekly work system starting next year. In Dubai, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: “The private education sector in Dubai will be open in line with the recent UAE Government decision on the working week. We’ll be working closely with our community to ensure a smooth transition.” RESTRUCTURING Schools are preparing for a busy end of the year as they seek to restructure learning programmes in accordance with the UAE’s new working week. From the start of the new term on 3 January, it is expected that public and private schools will use the new four-and-a-half-day week, which will begin on Mondays and end with a half-day on Fridays. Classes on Fridays must not go beyond 12.00 pm. The exception is Sharjah, where private schools and universities will work four days a week, with a three-day weekend - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These instructions were issued by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, said Ali Al Hosani, director of the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA). LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES As the adjustment to a shorter week is undertaken, school leaders are acting rapidly to change timetables, school hours, and breaks to ensure that students do not miss out on learning. After rising to the challenge of the Covid-19 outbreak, which caused substantial disruption to the education sector, school leaders feel confident

in their capacity to adjust quickly and efficiently. “It may be a matter of maybe 100 minutes a week, but we’re doing some tweaks and modifications to the timetable to make that work. That’s probably the biggest logistical change,” explained Fiona Cottam, Principal at Hartland International School. “I guess the biggest challenge is the sudden change. We just have to be very adaptable very quickly. But, I think that the pandemic has taught us a lot about adaptability and responding to things with speed and with ease.”

Some schools are considering extending the length of the learning day to ensure that students complete their coursework on time. EMBODYING THE VALUES OF THE UAE The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources proposed the new working week following comprehensive benchmarking and feasibility studies, reflecting potential impacts of the move on the economy, on social and family ties and the overall well-being of people in the Emirates. Indeed, there are huge merits to shorter workweeks, with employees feeling happier, healthier and more productive during their working hours. From an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the Emirates with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map.


9

“I think that the pandemic has taught us a lot about adaptability and responding to things with speed and with ease”

IT IS ANTICIPATED FROM THE START OF THE NEW TERM ON 3 JANUARY, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS WILL USE THE NEW FOUR-AND-AHALF-DAY WEEK

It will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that follow a SaturdaySunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies. Ruth Burke, Principal/CEO at the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai (SISD) is very positive about the change and the effect it will have on the current and future workforce, saying: “This is great news for students, families and staff across the UAE education sector. As a nation

that wholeheartedly champions well-being, family values and work-life balance, these new changes will further support the UAE in truly embodying these values. “Additionally, at SISD we are raising our students to be global citizens, and to be part of a global workforce – these changes will further align the UAE with the wider world workforce.”

“This is great news for students, families and staff across the UAE education sector”


10

Did You Know?

MOE

MOE ATTENDS AQDAR WORLD SUMMIT The Ministry of Education (MoE) has participated at the 4th Aqdar World Summit under the theme ‘Positive Global Citizenship - Empowerment of Sustainable Investment Opportunities’. The global summit continues to spread and enhance the positive values of civilisation, humanity, citizenship and culture, tackling social, moral, security, and health aspects that concern students. By taking part in the Aqdar World Summit and through its innovative programmes and initiatives, the MoE raised the awareness of participants and visitors regarding its progress in digital literacy and related technological development of the education sector in the UAE. It also promoted the capabilities that satisfy the various needs of the students in the modern age, to provide a pioneering, innovative educational system, highlighted by implementing the best scientific and professional standards in the field of education in line with global developments.

H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman Mohammad Al-Hammadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Performance Improvement, said that the strategy of the MoE was to achieve the vision of the wise leadership regarding the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge to boost national capabilities towards a prosperous, more advanced future. He added that this would only be achieved through hard work, knowledge, innovation, artificial intelligence (AI), and investing in education, development, and training to achieve prosperity and happiness for humankind by keeping pace with international developments. He explained that the UAE aimed to achieve that through adopting best practices, achieving high ranking in global indexes, and focusing on educational outcomes, which would enrich human capital to create a bright future, as well as help to face challenges and achieve national aspirations.

THE MOE RAISED THE AWARENESS OF PARTICIPANTS AND VISITORS REGARDING ITS PROGRESS IN DIGITAL LITERACY

KHDA

DUBAI SCHOOLS GEAR UP FOR WELLBEING CENSUS Dubai’s private school students will share insights about their wellbeing and happiness in the fifth annual edition of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census. More than 100,000 students and over 20,000 school staff are participating in the Census run by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). As the world’s largest cross-cultural study of student wellbeing, the Census touches on topics related to relationships at school and at home, student engagement with teaching and learning, and their feelings about the future. Last year’s Census showed students in Dubai were getting more sleep, having breakfast more regularly, and enjoying closer relationships with their teachers.

THE WELLBEING CENSUS MEASURES QUALITY OF LIFE, HAPPINESS, RELATIONSHIPS WITH FRIENDS AND TEACHERS, PHYSICAL HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE AMONG OTHER AREAS For more information about the Census, visit www.khda.gov.ae/en/dswc


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ADEK

ADEK CELEBRATES THE FIRST BLUE TIER SCHOOL The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has celebrated the first school to reach the Blue Schools Initiative top Blue tier for achieving a vaccination rate of 85%+ among its students physically attending school, which allows the school to commence its gradual return to pre-pandemic school operations. Grace Valley Indian School students will now be able to enjoy relaxing some of the Covid-19 precautionary measures. The school’s students are no longer required to wear masks in outdoor areas, physical distancing requirements are removed, all school events including assemblies and graduation ceremonies will be allowed, interschool extracurricular activities with other Blue tier schools including sports tournaments and competitions will be permitted, parents will be able to attend on-campus macro bubble level events whilst adhering to entry requirements, and field trips will be reinstated among other privileges. Commenting on this remarkable achievement, HE Sara Musallam, ADEK Chairman said: “The efforts made by the Grace Valley Indian School community to return to normalcy stand as an exemplary role model to the Abu Dhabi education sector. I would like to personally thank all parents who chose to vaccinate their children; your decision has helped to protect the health and safety of your child’s school community and contributed towards a return to pre-pandemic school operations. I call upon all Private and Charter Schools to continue working towards achieving the Blue tier to safeguard the health and safety of our entire Abu Dhabi education ecosystem”. The announcement of the inaugural school to reach the Blue tier comes as ADEK provides the first Blue Schools Initiative update since its activation earlier this month. Nine Private and Charter Schools have advanced through the Initiative’s four tiers following an increase in student vaccination rates. The update shows that in addition to Grace Valley Indian School reaching the Blue tier, seven schools have progressed from Orange to Yellow tier, while one school has moved from Yellow to Green tier, with those in Green becoming a step closer to achieving the coveted top Blue tier. “Since Blue Schools Initiative’sactivation just two weeks ago, we have seen a prominent increase in student vaccination rates.

GRACE VALLEY INDIAN SCHOOL CELEBRATES A REDUCTION IN PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AS VACCINATION RATES EXCEED 85% AMONG STUDENTS

116,936 34,498 Students Vaccinated (43%)

 Orange - Below 50% students are vaccinated 73.1% of Abu Dhabi Schools  Yellow - 50 - 64% students are vaccinated 17.6% of Abu Dhabi Schools  Green - 65 - 84% students are vaccinated 8.4% of Abu Dhabi Schools  Blue - 85% and above of students are vaccinated 0.9% of Abu Dhabi Schools School community stakeholders, including students, parents, principals, and teachers have worked collectively to make this possible, and it is encouraging to see so many schools advance through the tiers due to an increase in student vaccination adoption. We look forward to celebrating more schools that advance to the Blue tier soon, “said HE Sara Musallam. In line with the ongoing increase in vaccination rates, ADEK launched a survey in cooperation with schools to gauge parents’ opinions on Covid-19 immunisation.

Teachers & Staff Vaccinated (98%)

The survey results highlight 52,000 parents are interested in vaccinating their children, a decision that will allow more schools to advance through the Blue Schools Initiative tiers expediting a return to normalcy. To date, a total of 107,000 students across Abu Dhabi schools have been vaccinated representing 39% of the total number of students; with 94% of students aged 16+, 70% of 12 to 15-year-olds, and 40% of under 12 have been vaccinated against Covid-19. The last category saw vaccination rates doubled in the last two weeks since the activation of the Blue Schools Initiative. The survey results indicate an expected 21% increase in numbers of vaccinated students, bringing the percentage of vaccinated students to 59%. In response to parents’ interest in vaccinating their children, ADEK is coordinating with the relevant health authorities to provide dedicated vaccination locations for Abu Dhabi school students. Vaccination of students under 16 continues to remain voluntary, according to government protocols.

Wondering what tier your school is? Then link to search school here: https://pass.adek.gov.ae/blue-schools-initiative?lang=en


12

Did You Know?

DEVELOPING GOOD GOVERNANCE IN DUBAI SCHOOLS WITH RSACADEMICS Since the start of 2021, schools in Dubai have had the opportunity to sign up for a series of free online training sessions, Training for Dubai School Governors, organised and run by RSAcademics. Developed with the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA) as RSAcademics’ knowledge partner, these popular training sessions were created to enhance governance practices in Dubai schools. Based on established and long-standing governance advisory work by RSAcademics in the UK and internationally, the Dubai sessions were tailored to the local private schools market, with guidance and input from a Dubai-based steering committee, and based on the ‘The Gift of Good Governance’ published by the KHDA in 2018. Fatma Belrehif, Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge and Human Development Authority said: “If we want to see what high-quality school education looks like, we must first look towards leadership and governance. When school

governance is strong, it’s not only students who benefit, but the whole community. We’re grateful to all the school governors who participated in this programme and thank them for their commitment

KHDA

to their schools and to high-quality education in Dubai. It was a pleasure to work with our friends at RSAcademics to bring this programme to Dubai.”

THESE POPULAR TRAINING SESSIONS WERE DEVELOPED TO ENHANCE GOVERNANCE PRACTICES IN DUBAI SCHOOLS

SPEA

SPEA CONCLUDES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WEEK The Sustainable Improvement Department at Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has completed the Professional Development Week, organised in cooperation with the Sharjah Education Academy, with the participation of 300 education leaders and teachers in schools, aiming at providing development opportunities for different groups. The Development Week was in line with the directions and strategy of SPEA to continue

SPEA SEEKS TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO RAISE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL WORK BETWEEN SCHOOL LEADERS AND TEACHERS

developing the performance of educational work for all parties in the educational field, to achieve work efficiency of educational leaders and teachers in private schools. Through the Professional Development Week, SPEA seeks to create opportunities to raise the quality of educational work between school leaders and teachers, in addition to providing a platform that allows the exchange of experiences and the sharing of best educational practices in 120 private schools in the Emirate of Sharjah

that offer 10 different school curricula, which provides an opportunity to review successful experiences and share with other schools. Dr Muhadtha Al Hashemi, Chairman of the SPEA, said that the authority believes that the keys to success stem from providing a stimulating work environment that enables administrative, teaching and technical staff and students to develop and enhance their capabilities, which leads to the academic outputs of international standards, including all parts of the educational system.


13

ADEK

42 ABU DHABI OPENS UP APPLICATION SERIES FOR 2022 42 Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s innovative and disruptive coding school will host six pre-selection events in 2022 as part of ongoing efforts to drive student intake and further fuel the emirate’s global coding capital ambition. High school graduates, university students, employees, and those looking for work across all industries with an interest in upskilling or reskilling are encouraged to apply irrespective of coding experience, and there is no upper age limit. A high school certification and a minimum age of 18 are the only stipulations.

THERE IS NO UPPER AGE LIMIT

ADEK

UAE TEAMS COMPETING IN WORLD ROBOT OLYMPIAD INTERNATIONAL 2021 FINAL TRIUMPH SEVEN UAE TEAMS REPRESENTED THE UAE IN WRO INTERNATIONAL FINAL 2021

Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) congratulates the seven teams who completed four days of intensive online competitions representing the UAE in the final of the World Robot Olympiad 2021 (WRO) which was held 18-21 November. This year, a line-up of over 200 national teams from 65 member countries took part in the international competition under the theme ‘Powerbots; the Future of Energy’. The

Seven UAE teams, selected following a national qualifying stage hosted by ADEK, were put through their paces across the competition’s Open, Regular, and Future Engineers categories. A trio of winning teams achieved Top Ten rankings in two categories, with SEC Open Elementary - 01 team achieving fifth place in the Elementary Open Category, team SEC-Eco Station took ninth place in the Junior Open Category, while team Apollo won seventh place

in the Future Engineers category. The teams were each tasked to create their own innovative intelligent robot models to solve real-world energy challenges which increased in complexity depending on the team’s age category. The finalists were required to present their projects to a panel of WRO judges who evaluated their robot model as well as their project methodology.


14

Did You Know?

L A I T N E EXPO-N

KHDA

DUBAI PRIVATE SCHOOLS SEE 3.5% GROWTH IN ENROLMENT

THE EMIRATE NOW HAS 215 PRIVATE SCHOOLS, 21 OF WHICH WERE OPENED IN THE LAST THREE YEARS

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Since the start of the last academic year, Dubai private schools have added approximately 10,000 pupils, representing a 3.5% rise in enrolment. Dubai now has 215 private schools, 21 of which were opened in the past three years, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Dr Abdulla Al Karam, directorgeneral of KHDA, said that growth, strength and possibility have long been hallmarks of Dubai’s private school sector, commenting: “The growth in student enrolment shows the confidence that parents have in the ability of Dubai schools to provide high-quality education in all circumstances. The sustained development of the emirate’s school sector reflects the energy, resilience and dynamism that Dubai has been able to maintain. Consistent with the Expo 2020 theme of opportunity, our education sector continues to offer families and investors new possibilities.”

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16

Did You Know?

GESS DUBAI POST SHOW REPORT Six thousand educators from 67 countries networked and participated in a variety of conference sessions, as well as being inspired by 250+ of the biggest educational businesses, at the 14th edition of GESS Dubai, which took place from November 14 to 16, 2021. The value of live engagement and face-to-face interactions was highlighted by the 2021 edition of GESS Dubai, with 68% of visitors likely to conduct business with an exhibitor as a result of their attendance at the event.

For the past 15 years, GESS Dubai has been the epicentre of education in the Middle East and beyond. The exhibition gives educators access to products and solutions that fit the needs of today’s classrooms and help students learn more effectively. GESS Dubai is a complete event for the education industry, with an entire conference programme and awards ceremony running concurrently with the exhibition. As a representative of Lexima, the digital software agency, commented: “I visited GESS Dubai without any expectation, but returned home with a dozen potential clients or resellers.” Massrat Shaikh, Educational Psychologist, Al Ahlam Training and Higher Education Services, was equally as positive, saying: “As an educator, I have always enjoyed participating in GESS events. GESS has given me a platform to be a part of the educational community and grow my network. The event provides a fantastic opportunity to share your ideas with like-minded people. GESS has also allowed me to learn about the latest educational products through its exhibition, and its conference always brings forth the best educational practice.” In fact, 87% of visitors stated that GESS is important to the development of their school or organisation, while at the same time 88% of exhibitors were successful in meeting their overall objectives.


17


18

Did You Know?

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS Expert speakers and education professionals gathered at GESS Dubai’s world-class conference to share expertise and best practices on a wide range of vital issues. Curriculum development, teacher training and recruiting, EdTech, well-being and leadership methods, and many other topics were covered. There were 140+ speakers from 25+ countries, with over 150 CPD accredited sessions. An attendee from NetSupport said: “GESS has been and continues to be the cornerstone of our engagement with customers across the Middle East. Not only does it provide a fantastic blend of conference content and innovative speakers alongside the

87% OF VISITORS STATED THAT GESS IS IMPORTANT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR SCHOOL OR ORGANISATION

product showcases but it continues to attract the right profile of attendees from education that are either able to influence or are the decisionmakers in their schools. I would highly recommend the event to any Educational Technology vendor looking to meet the right people in the region.”

Faisal Al Balushi, Chairman, The Omani Society for Educational Technology, agreed, explaining: “GESS Dubai has been one of the main meeting spaces for school leaders, educational professionals, EdTech experts and technology providers in the Middle East. It delivers unique learning and networking experiences for the members of the educational community.” GESS Awards

THERE WERE 140+ SPEAKERS FROM 25+ COUNTRIES, WITH OVER 150 CPD ACCREDITED SESSIONS


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“THIS IS BY NO DOUBT ONE OF THE PROUDEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE. I’VE DREAMT OF THIS FOR A LONG TIME”

BOOK YOUR STAND AT GESS DUBAI 2022

15 – 17 November 2022 SHEIKH SAEED HALLS, DUBAI WORLD TRADE CENTRE STAND RATES 2022 

Early bird* Space only: $660 per m2

Standard space only: $720 per m2

Early bird* shell scheme: $695 per m2

Standard shell scheme: $750 per m2

*Early bird rate valid until 1st April 2022

SHOW PROMOTIONAL PACKAGES AVAILABLE TO BOOST YOUR PRESENCE AT GESS DUBAI 

Showcase individual products and services

 Share rich digital media assets, including videos with the GESS education audience  Generate inbound sales leads and receive direct requests from prospects and potential partners The 8th annual GESS Education Awards celebrated the education industry’s leading educators, schools, suppliers and products. The ceremony, held on the second day of the show, welcomed over 150 finalists to an evening of networking opportunities and celebration. There were 29 awards presented, with over 800 entries coming in from 50 countries throughout the world. The CEO of one of the winners Sven Maikranz, Upstrive Education from Mind Motions LLE, proclaimed: “This is by no doubt one of the proudest moments of my life. I’ve dreamt of this for a long time”

 Create news releases and product updates BOOK YOUR STAND OR MAKE AN ENQUIRY: Jonnie Wicks (UK)  +44 (0)788 466 4938  jwicks@tarsus.com facebook @GESSDubai instagram @gesseducation linkedin @gess-education twitter @GESSeducation www.gessdubai.com


20

Did You Know?

10 WAYS TO USE BESPOKE WALL ART IN YOUR SCHOOL

WELL DESIGNED WA ART IN YOUR RECEPT AREA CAN MAKE TH ALL-IMPORTANT FIR IMPRESSION A GOOD O

Schools are full of plain and tired walls and surfaces that could easily be brought to life using inspiring Wall Art. Below are 10 tips for using bespoke wall art to the best effect in your school.

INSPIRING WALL ART CAN STIMULATE CURIOSITY AND INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT MATTER BEING DEPICTED


WALL TION HAT IRST ONE

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1

TO WELCOME The first of our school wall art tips is a simple one – Wall Art on your school’s exterior walls and fencing gives a window into life at the school and makes it an inviting place to visit. First impressions and the way you present yourselves count. Well designed Wall Art in your reception area can make that all-important first impression a good one. A friendly and welcoming reception area will make your visitors feel comfortable and at ease and more likely to be keen to come back in the future.

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TO INSPIRE Impactful Wall Art with interesting and ageappropriate content will encourage children’s natural curiosity and inspire staff. Wall Art can be effectively used to raise pupils’ ambitions through carefully chosen, aspirational wording and images.

3

TO INFORM Bespoke artwork that showcases curriculum information can act as visual resources to support your pupils’ learning and encourage engagement in subject knowledge. For example, using timelines of historical events can reinforce class-based learning and open pupils’ eyes to the impact of key figures and events in history. Themed areas representing various environments can widen children’s understanding of the world around them.

4

TO SPARK THINKING Inspiring Wall Art can stimulate curiosity and interest in the subject matter being depicted. Themed and curriculum-based areas can encourage investigation and deeper thinking as well as spark imagination. Stimulating wall graphics can be used to initiate conversation and discussion between groups of pupils and with their teachers.

PLAY VIDEO

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TO MAKE YOUR SCHOOL MORE ACCESSIBLE Using Wall Art to zone areas, such as a computing themed corridor leading to the computing department/suite, is a great way to assist pupils in finding where they need to go, and it also helps to get them into the right frame of mind for a subject as they wait to go into lessons. Including way-finding information designed into the graphics can further support pupils and visitors.

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TO PROMOTE YOUR VISION AND VALUES Celebrate your school and everything that you stand for through visual boards that communicate your values and vision. Values-based Wall Art is a great way to illustrate the meaning of your vision and raise the profile of how you aim to help children to learn, grow and develop.

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TO REDUCE WORKLOAD AND ADD EFFICIENCY Maintenance of your walls and creating displays can be both time consuming for teachers and use more of your school’s budget than you may first think. Professional, bespoke wall graphics last many years; therefore, reducing maintenance costs as well as giving more time back to teachers, allowing them to focus on what they do best.

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TO COMMUNICATE YOUR BRAND IDENTITY Branded Wall Art is more than just your logo. Branded Wall Art tells the world outside of your school who you are and what you stand for. In addition, it creates a sense of unity and belonging and can motivate staff, children and parents towards a shared goal.

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TO ADD A ‘WOW!’ FACTOR In school, we are always looking to create awe and wonder moments for the children. A well designed Wall Art can add a ‘wow!’ factor to your walls and separate you from the rest.

10

TO RAISE A SMILE A stimulating feature wall can help to make school feel like a fun and positive place to be and cheer up any drab and dreary area. Most of all it can just make pupils and staff feel happy to be in school. Using your walls effectively is an important way to communicate your school’s message to your pupils, staff, parents and other stakeholders. The value of a school’s walls is often underestimated and is an improvement area that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Bring your schools walls to life and explore our bespoke wall art options. Visit: www.wallart.school/eduuae


22 Excellence in schools

LEARNING WITH PURPOSE

THE ARBOR SCHOOL WILL LAUNCH ITS SECONDARY YEAR 10 PROGRAMME IN SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARBOR SCHOOL PROVIDES A PURPOSE-DRIVEN EDUCATION THAT HONOURS THE BEST TRADITIONS OF THE KNOWLEDGE-RICH BRITISH CURRICULUM WHILE APPLYING IT TO REAL-WORLD LOCAL AND GLOBAL ISSUES. ITS SECONDARY CURRICULUM, WHICH IS DEDICATED TO FOSTERING LONG-TERM TRANSFORMATION, IS BUILT ON THE NOTION THAT PEOPLE ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO ONE ANOTHER AND TO NATURE.


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VISION The Arbor School is a community of learners who are developing the knowledge, understanding, skills and dispositions needed to be innovative and capable leaders, with a strong set of ethical values, anchored by a deep sense of Ecoliteracy, sustainability and environmental justice. Student Character Strengths: Strength of Will. Strength of Mind. Strength of Heart.

KEY INFORMATION Students/teacher ratio: Low

Average class size: 22 students

Curriculum: British Curriculum Tuition Fees range: Visit: www.thearborschool. ae/admissions/school-fees Location: The Arbor School, Al Furjan PO Box 413898, Dubai

EVER-EVOLVING An international, ecological school, currently offering places in Foundation Stage 1 through to Year 9, the Arbor School will launch its secondary Year 10 programme in September 2022. The school will offer a broad portfolio of traditional GCSE options, providing familiarity and security to families and students; A-levels will follow soon after. With superb facilities and knowledgeable staff, the Arbor School will have a focus on sustainability and science subjects, design and technology and the visual and expressive arts. The introduction of the bespoke ‘Global Impact Certificate’ supplements the core subjects and continues the eco-literacy journey of the Arbor School’s secondary students into Year 10. This individualised approach recognises the future’s unpredictability and will prepare students for it by focusing on universal competencies through diverse but interconnected disciplines. Students will have the opportunity to expand their creative capacities and discover their purpose and passion thanks to a strong emphasis on trans-disciplinary studies. The school will also offer the BTEC and ASDAN programmes, as well as unique options from a selection of carefully curated alternatives that will stimulate students’ curiosity and help them to evolve from problem solvers to change-makers.

THE CURRICULUM The Arbor School’s curriculum is a necessary response to changes in the nature of education, society, and the environment. It has been established to ensure that the subjects, programmes of study, and outcomes are delivered to the highest standard while ensuring that children are engaged, challenged, and reflective. It is based on the National Curriculum for England. The school believes that real-life projects and themes provide meaningful context and purpose for children, allowing for projectbased, cross-curricular topic approaches that foster independent learning. Literacy and numeracy are given particular attention. The Arbor School then adds to the curriculum with specialised sessions in languages and creative disciplines, with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. ECOLITERACY OVERVIEW Ecoliteracy, sustainability and environmental justice form the three pillars at the core of the Arbor School vision, ‘Enough for all, forever’. Ecoliteracy provides an overarching way of thinking about the world in terms of its interdependent natural and human systems, as well as the consequences of human actions, while sustainability and environmental justice give framing contexts for deep and ethical thinking, learning, and action. More than just content or subject matter, Ecoliteracy is a way of life. It’s how we plan a meaningful and long-term path that values the environment as the common foundation for all human social and economic interests and activities. Human well-being and growth are compromised without globally healthy and fully functioning ecological systems, and our vision of a society where there is enough for everyone forever is unattainable. Despite the immensity of the task, the Arbor School remains optimistic and has opted to define its learning curriculum in Ecoliteracy terms.

MORE THAN JUST CONTENT OR SUBJECT MATTER, ECOLITERACY IS A WAY OF LIFE

Ecoliteracy differs from previous environmental education approaches, which saw humans as a destructive force in nature and saw education as a means to mitigate that destruction. Ecoliteracy is a teaching method that educates students on how to think about ecological and human social well-being in their daily lives and in community decision-making.


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Excellence in schools

THE CLIMATE-CONTROLLED BIODOMES AND LEARNING GARDENS PROVIDE IMPORTANT SPACES FOR CHILDREN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR ECOSYSTEM AND SURROUNDINGS FACILITIES Complementing this approach to learning, the Arbor secondary school offers unique facilities designed for a transformational experience. Each learning space is inspired by nature, blended with cutting edge design and functionality. The result is a range of learning and recreational spaces which allows students to connect to their future. Embracing students’ creativity, the open and airy Market Space provides an area to reflect and study, socialise, present to colleagues, or display artefacts produced in the atelier, from design, fashion, textiles, and fine art to digital media. State of the art science laboratories, computing and sound sites have been carefully curated to help develop students’ STEM skills. ‘Six climate-controlled biodomes; three large geodesic domes that sit at the centre of the Arbor School Bio Park, two of which serve as a full tropical ecosystem available for Ecoliteracy education throughout the year, are among the school’s ‘living classrooms.’ The climate-controlled biodomes and learning gardens provide important spaces for children to learn more about their ecosystem and surroundings.

As a result, the school can immerse its students in environments that they would not otherwise encounter in Dubai.

Providing organic, low carbon footprint lunches and snacks, it provides its children with the highest quality food, created in a sustainable kitchen.

Even in a desert setting, the Arbor Biofarm demonstrates how a high-yield organic approach to cultivating fruits and vegetables can give a healthy, bountiful harvest.

At the heart of the secondary school, the Wahah is a hub for networking, and homes facilities such as Arbor’s farm-to-fork organic concept canteen, theatre presentation area, sixth form common room, wellness platform, counselling spaces, and clinic, all representing the centre of the Arbor School community.

The Farmhouse at the Arbor School creates a link between the well-being of students and the direct farm-to-table experience.


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LEADERSHIP TEAM Principal Mr Brett Girven brings a critical eye for detail, an in-depth understanding of the Dubai and UAE educational climate, and a relentless drive to ensure a high-quality education is provided for every child. He has developed a passion for the environment and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Science, majoring in Zoology. Mr Girven continued on to study Environmental Science at postgraduate level, and throughout his teaching career has always enjoyed the Ecology and Environmental Science side of teaching Science and Biology. Mr Girven ensures that the future development of the school is carefully balanced to ensure the holistic growth of all learners, leading to academic excellence. He believes that it is important for the Principal to be visible, meeting and greeting children and parents as much as possible. He also believes that a smile is an important start to each day.

Head of Middle School Ms Mandi Kirby is Head of Middle School, with nearly 30 years of teaching experience, including 15 years as a senior leader in the Middle East. She has a Bachelor of Education Honour’s degree from North Riding College in teaching the 3-13 age range with a specialism in Mathematics. Ms Kirby also gained Master’s degrees from The Open University and Warwick University in Education and Educational Research, with a focus on gender equality. Head of Primary School Mr Daniel Nichol gained a Master’s in Education and Educational Leadership from the University of Bath. His BA in Geography and Environmental Education will ensure he keeps the Arbor ethos and vision at the heart of his leadership. He believes passionately that each and every child has the potential to bring something unique and special to the world in which they live.

THE ARBOR SCHOOL’S CURRICULUM IS A NECESSARY RESPONSE TO CHANGES IN THE NATURE OF EDUCATION, SOCIETY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Head of Inclusion Mrs Rachel Smith-Green has responsibility for establishing outstanding systems for the identification and education of Persons of Determination, gifted and talented students, and pupils with English as an additional language. She studied at Goldsmiths University in London where she gained an honours degree in Education and Art before embarking on her career in teaching. Head of Psychology and Well-being Ms Esra Uzsayilir is a UK trained Educational Psychologist who has been working in education for more than 15 years. Esra works holistically with children and families offering psychological assessment, consultation and therapeutic work; she has trained in Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy.

ARBOR SCHOOL  +971 (0) 4 581 4100 facebook @ArborDubai instagram @ArborDubai twitter @ArborDubai linkedin @arbordubai youtube @The Arbor School Dubai www.thearborschool.ae


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Excellence in schools

BRIGHTON COLLEGE ABU DHABI CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE BRIGHTON COLLEGE ABU DHABI IS CELEBRATING AN INCREDIBLE MILESTONE IN THE MIDDLE EAST’S EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE THIS MONTH; THE LEADING ENGLISH NATIONAL CURRICULUM SCHOOL MARKS 10 YEARS OF PROVIDING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE TO OVER 4,500 PUPILS SINCE OPENING ITS DOORS IN 2011.


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N

amed amongst the top 100 private schools in the world by Spear’s Schools Index this year, and sister school to the ‘UK’s School of the Decade’ as named by the Sunday Times, Brighton College Abu Dhabi has achieved amazing success over the past 10 years and has cemented its name as a leading English National Curriculum school in the United Arab Emirates. From being rated outstanding by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) since 2018 to recently being awarded the Schools Compared Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts 2021-22, to achieving the Top Schools Award for Best School for Music in 2019, Brighton College Abu Dhabi continues to prepare its pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve excellent GCSE and A-Level results, which ensures that the College’s alumni go on to study at leading universities around the world. Head Mistress at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, Helen Wilkinson commented: “The future looks very bright for Brighton College Abu Dhabi as it continues to thrive and our results continue to be

the best in the city, enabling our pupils to access some of the world’s best universities. As our pupils grow and transition through the next 10 years at the College, we want to give them a bigger role in helping us to shape the future of our learning environment so we can continue to be a space where pupils feel confident to try new things and to embrace challenges. We want our pupils to have a sense of social responsibility and to leave the world in a better place than when they found it.”

Al Menhali was announced as a member of the first Emirati Children’s Parliament in 2020.

Looking to the future, she added: “I want to encourage our pupils to develop into tomorrow’s leaders and world shapers. I want them to go out into the world thinking about how they can help others whilst also succeeding in their own right. Our graduates will be future-ready, emotionally intelligent and consciously active global citizens. The College isn’t just a place to study, it’s a state of mind and we are all proud to be a part of it.”

Chief Executive Officer of Bloom Education, Nilay Ozral commented: “Reaching this historic milestone shows Brighton College Abu Dhabi’s consistent excellence in all that it does and will continue to do for its pupils. Bloom Education’s goal for the past decade has been to nurture our pupils in an opportunity-rich environment so they can reach their highest potential and Brighton College Abu Dhabi is a stellar example of our vision coming to life.”

Since 2011, the College has welcomed 4,691 bright young pupils through its doors and a fond look back over the 10 years discovers that 330 pupils have graduated from the College since the opening of its Sixth Form in 2014. This year, the College reported that 82% of its Sixth Formers who are studying in the UK are attending Russell Group universities such as the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and the University of Warwick. Pupils who have shone during their time studying at Brighton College Abu Dhabi include; Hyochan Chowho was ranked first in Maths for the International Olympiad Foundation, the UAE’s largest Olympiad competition in 2020, and Maitha Al Hajaj, who was selected from 351,000 participants to take part in the Arab Reading Challenge and received an award for her involvement from Sheikha Jameela Al Muhairi, the Minister of State for Public Education. Sirine Messaikeh also scored the world’s highest mark in the Pearson Business GCSE in 2019, and Mohamed

Year 12 Pupil Georgina Keen, who has studied at Brighton College Abu Dhabi for 10 years, said: “I joined Brighton College Abu Dhabi on the first day it opened in September 2011 and over the past 10 years, I have been privileged to see the school grow and have many happy memories that I will look back on for years to come.”

Head Master of Brighton College UK, Richard Cairns commented: “We are extremely proud of our sister school Brighton College Abu Dhabi on its 10th anniversary. The achievements of this outstanding school are testament to the excellence of the teaching staff, within a community where curiosity, confidence and kindness are championed. Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Brighton College UK work closely together for the good of all our pupils and we are delighted to have such a strong relationship. We wish the school many more years of success.”

NAMED AMONGST THE TOP 100 PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THE WORLD BY SPEAR’S SCHOOLS INDEX www.brightoncollege.ae


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Excellence in schools

BRIGHTON COLLEGE DUBAI CELEBRATES THE GOLDEN JUBILEE BY LAUNCHING A 100% SPONSORED SCHOLARSHIP In honour of the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations, leading British curriculum school Brighton College Dubai is giving exceptional scholarsa life-changingopportunity, as it launches an incredible 100% scholarship for its Sixth Form.

In an unprecedented first, one outstanding applicant will be selected to receive 100% tuition funding for both their Year 12 and Year 13 studies at the Dubai campus of the United Kingdom’s ‘School of the Decade’. Applications are now open, with the College taking on the successful candidate as soon as January 2022. Alongside this coveted place, there are two further Sixth Form scholarships which include both a 50% and 25% fee remission.

we can’t wait to welcome our new pupils.” Brighton College Dubai offers pupils a vibrant and challenging learning environment, and a distinctive British independent school ethos, which reflects the values and dynamic culture of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. The Sixth Form offers a tailored approach to support every pupil to reach their full potential, whilst growing academically and emotionally. Brighton College Dubai has a reputation for providing an outstanding

THE UK’S ‘SCHOOL OF THE DECADE’ IS ALSO LAUNCHING A 50% AND 25% SCHOLARSHIP FOR ITS VIBRANT DUBAI SIXTH FORM intellectual experience, and endeavours to provide its pupils with the opportunity to go on to access the world’s very best universities, from Oxford and Cambridge to Harvard and Stanford.

Head of Sixth Format Brighton College Dubai, Joe Hall commented: “We wanted to do something truly exceptional to celebrate the UAE’s historic milestone, so launching a 100% scholarship seemed more than fitting. We know that there are exceptional pupils in the UAE who will thrive in the right learning environment, and these scholarships will give them an opportunity like no other.” Simon Crane, Head Master at Brighton College Dubai added: “The launch of these incredible Sixth Form scholarships shows Brighton College Dubai’s commitment to providing the very best educationalopportunities to the promising young people here in the UAE. We are proud to be living and teaching in the Emirates, a place of opportunity and forward-thinking. We prepare young people to go on and study at the leading universities around the world, and these scholarships could change the course of someone’s life. They are truly a fantastic opportunity, and

For more information and to apply for the scholarships please visit: www.brightoncollegedubai.ae/admissions/sixth-form-scholarships


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SEVEN-YEAR-OLD RUTVA CREATES TWO WORLD RECORDS IN TWO LANGUAGES IN ONE ATTEMPT! Rutva Nikhil Pore, a seven-year-old extremely talented Indian girl, has created two world records in one attempt by reciting 91 facts about the solar system in both English and Arabic. This impressive achievement took place via a virtual live event and was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. Rutva recited all 91 facts in English in two minutes and 46 seconds and Arabic in four minutes and 39 seconds, becoming the first in the world to create ‘world records’ in this new category. Rutva has had a great interest in space from the age of five years and has been collecting information through various sources, such as the Internet and a variety of books. Her interest in space came primarily from her father, while her mother encouraged her to tackle the world records. Realising Rutva’s great interest in the subject, her parents contacted Mr Sushant

Mysorekar, founder of Brain Rhyme Pte Ltd, Singapore, and an internationally certified Intelligence Coach, during the summer vacation, and he agreed to work with Rutva. Rutva’s world record journey started around three months back with the support of her mentor, Mr Sushant, who has been training her on memorising the content through various memory skills, tools and techniques. Initially, the plan was to recite facts in English only, but after a few sessions, seeing Rutva’s keen interest in the Arabic language, a second journey was initiated. Finally, it was decided to translate all 91 facts into Arabic as well as English. Rutva’s Arabic recitation started with support from her school – Ambassador School, Dubai - and her Arabic teacher Miss Walaa Ahmed Hassan El Sheikh, who helped her in translation and pronunciation. Miss Walaa’s way of teaching and her confidence in her pupil to grasp the language quickly

RUTVA RECITED ALL 91 FACTS IN ENGLISH IN TWO MINUTES AND 46 SECONDS AND ARABIC IN FOUR MINUTES AND 39 SECONDS “I AM A NON-ARABIC GIRL, BUT I LOVE THE ARABIC LANGUAGE”

made Rutva’s Arabic learning a lot smoother. During the initial days, it took around 15 minutes to recite all 91 facts in Arabic, and it involved learning all of the complex terminologies and pronunciations. However, with support and consistent practice over 15 days, Rutva was able to recite the same in less than five minutes. “You need to persevere, be curious and should have the spirit to learn new things. Once you get an opportunity, you can create a world record with learned and practised ability. I am a nonArabic girl, but I love the Arabic language and find it very interesting because of my teacher Walaa ma’am who made it more interesting by her teaching approach,” Rutva explained. Among her plans for the future, Rutva wants to work as a space scientist at NASA and become a black belt karate champion. We fully expect her to achieve these goals too!


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Excellence in schools

ACCELERATING K-12 MATH LEARNING Thousands of teachers in the United Arab Emirates and the United States will now have access to powerful data to inform maths instruction as the result of a new partnership between the global K-12 education technology company Alef Education and MetaMetrics®. The Alef Platform, which leverages artificial intelligence, will now report MetaMetrics’ Quantile® measures from its math diagnostic assessments, providing teachers with a measure of ability to guide future learning. The Quantile® Framework for Mathematics provides a scientific approach for matching students with ability-appropriate resources. Quantile measures help differentiate instruction and monitor growth in mathematics.

ALEF PLATFORM DIAGNOSTIC TESTS WILL REPORT QUANTILE MEASURES, SUPPORTING DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

TWO STAR EDUCATION BRITISH CURRICULUM SCHOOLS IN THE PRESTIGIOUS TYCOON ENTERPRISE COMPETITION Star Education has announced its participation in the world-renowned Tycoon Enterprise Competition. In an attempt to help stimulate enterprising culture in the young minds at Star International School Al Twar and Mirdif, the schools have entered the competition led by Peter Jones CBE, a prolific British entrepreneur, businessman and reality TV personality. Each participating team of students has the opportunity to create a business plan, be lent money, and start a business, trade, and compete against other

STAR EDUCATION’S PARTICIPATION IN THE COMPETITION ALLOWS FOR ITS STUDENTS TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF BUSINESS

student companies through the Tycoon kickstarter style platform in a controlled environment. Over the years, Tycoon Enterprise Competition has accomplished a number of achievements through its platform; it has helped over 14,500 students pursue their business aspirations, helped over 94% of students feel more employable after participating in the competition, given 96% of students the sense of financial awareness through the program, and created businesses of which 85% have achieved profitability.


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STAR INTERNATIONAL MIRDIF INTRODUCES REMARKABLE, NEW FACILITIES

Star International School Mirdif, a bespoke British curriculum school in the heart of Mirdif, has announced its newest facilities, including its state-of-the-art STEAM+ Makerspace, Art Room, and Science Labs, alongside the launch of its GCSE/IGCSE and BTEC programmes this academic year. As technology evolves, it remains vital for schools to offer a curriculum that provides an advanced learning environment, technology support, and design education. Along with its latest facilities, and as part of Star Mirdif’s ongoing strategy to maintain its position as a leading educational institution, the British curriculum school has launched its IGCSE and BTEC education programs and STEAM+ curriculum. Since the launch of the STEAM+ curriculum, the students have delved into subjects such as ecosystems, pollution, and recycling, and are in the midst of developing fascinating prototypes with the sole purpose of collecting waste from polluting the oceans. The + represents the ambition to go beyond and offer a STEAM curriculum with enterprise, innovation, and life skills embedded into it.

WE LOVE READING AT ISP SCHOOLS On the International Day of Literacy this year, International Schools Partnership (ISP) launched its first annual ISP Reading Challenge. The month-long challenge for its schools in the Middle East encouraged students to read as much as possible in English and Arabic. Children in the younger years received a Reading Challenge Treasure Map or a Reading Challenge Passport to record their reading, while children in the secondary years uploaded their Reading Challenges using a digital link. Throughout the month, ISP had the privilege of welcoming a number of authors to visit its students virtually. The children’s authors read books, spoken about the importance of reading, and shared their own journeys.

ISP HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF WELCOMING A NUMBER OF AUTHORS

THE BRITISH BOARDING SCHOOLS SHOW RETURNS TO THE UAE The British Boarding School Dubai 2021 returned to the UAE for its ninth edition, bringing together over 25 of the most prestigious and well-regarded British schools under one roof, offering educational advice and information to parents and prospective pupils after one of the most profound and fundamental times of change in the educational world in the past century. After a period where the lid was lifted onto the complexities of schooling, with students around the world forced to be homeschooled, the nature of independent education has been thrown into the spotlight. At the show, parents witnessed the true value that British schooling can offer, specifically the nature of critical thinking and rigour of independent analysis that are so vital for future employers and success in the modern workplace. It is estimated that the UAE sends around 15,000 children for overseas education per year, a number that is rising around 3-4% year-on-year. The UK has traditionally been the most popular destination country for Emirati degreeseeking students, accounting for an estimated 30% of the student body.


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Excellence in schools

NO PENS WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES AT BRIGHTON COLLEGE ABU DHABI Brighton College Abu Dhabi pupils celebrated ‘No Pens Wednesday’ by taking part in a range of exciting pen-free activities. Inspired by research that has found that pupils are more likely to become enthusiastically involved in their education when teachers support and enable the effective use of speaking and listening, the hands-on, fun-filled day was organised by the College’s Inclusion Department and this year included activities such as story-reading in Pre-Prep, a shadow theatre performance that chronicled achievements of the UAE over 50 years by the Senior pupils, and Prep pupils learnt how to use sign language to express themselves.

THE FUN-FILLED DAY WAS ORGANISED BY THE COLLEGE’S INCLUSION DEPARTMENT

SWISS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL MARKS UAE NATIONAL DAY WITH STUNNING ARTWORK

THE IMAGE TOOK 10 HOURS TO MAKE

Swiss International Scientific School, Dubai, joined in nationwide celebrations of the UAE’s 50th anniversary with an enormous art project, a bas-relief image comprising 153 individual canvas panels, each featuring tissue paper and PVA glue to create relief lines, which together form a striking image of a falcon. The falcon, a powerful symbol of the nation’s strength and courage, was chosen by pupils in Grade 6 and 7 (11 to 13-year-olds) during their visual arts classes. The pupils were inspired by a marble carving of a falcon they saw during a visit to the EXPO 2020 Vision Pavilion. The image took 10 hours to make and measures 3.4m by 1.8m. It is now hanging in the school’s secondary auditorium area, for students, staff and parents to enjoy.

GOLDEN CELEBRATIONS AT NIBRAS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

THE STUDENTS AND STAFF SHOWCASED THEIR TALENT WITH CULTURAL PERFORMANCES OF SONG AND DANCE

To commemorate the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, the school community of Nibras International School, part of International Schools Partnership (ISP), dressed in traditional Emirati clothing and in the colours of the UAE flag. The students and staff showcased their talent with cultural performances of song and dance, and the weeks of practice was rewarded with long applause. In celebration of the UAE’s spirit, the school team created a ‘Mini Souq’ within the school’s premises, serving traditional Emirati delicacies and exploring the country’s rich history with henna art, and giving students the chance to interact with camels and falcons – animals routinely associated with the country.


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ONE OF ABU DHABI’S OLDEST SCHOOLS TO RELOCATE One of Abu Dhabi’s oldest schools, American Community School, is moving to a new campus after almost 50 years. The emirate’s only American non-profit community school will be relocating to a state-of-the-art facility housed on six hectares on Saadiyat Island, which is expected to be ready in the autumn of 2023. The school, built on land donated by the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, will include a new Arabic Institute of Excellence to promote fluency among its pupils and in the region. Designed by international architectural firm Broadway Malyan, the campus will be double the size of the current site and will be able to accommodate 1,600 pupils.

EXPECTED TO BE READY IN THE AUTUMN OF 2023

AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL OF ABU DHABI RECEIVES AED 1 MILLION GIFT FROM RAYTHEON EMIRATES The American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) recently received a generous private-sector donation of Dh1 million from Raytheon Emirates Limited (REL). As an ACS partner since 2016, Raytheon’s gift deepens support of educational initiatives that will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and business professionals. Raytheon Emirates’ investment will help ACS embed technology in every aspect of learning to encourage critical thinking, creativity and teamwork and will enable ACS students to further excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. By leveraging Raytheon’s expertise and investment, ACS will engage students in new ways with a focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and machine learning. “I am grateful for Raytheon Emirates’ ongoing support of ACS,” said Monique Flickinger, ACS Superintendent. “Raytheon has demonstrated a long commitment to the school, including support of our award-winning Innovation Labs and other high-tech initiatives. Now, as they join a select group of cornerstone partners, ACS can leverage Raytheon’s exceptional local talent and cutting-edge technology to equip students with the skills needed to thrive in a complex and competitive world.”

BRIGHTON COLLEGE AL AIN WELCOMES NEW HEAD MASTER FOR 2022 Brighton College Al Ain is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Scott Carnochan as its new Headmaster who will continue to lead the school towards a bright and successful future that is recognised not only in the emirate but also globally Mr Carnochan said: “I am very much looking forward to joining Brighton College Al Ain, a school that champions the same values of kindness, selfbelief and aspiration as my current school. I am confident that my love of education coupled together with the school’s excellent College Leadership Team and teaching staff will continue to deliver an outstanding education.”

MR SCOTT CARNOCHAN HAS OVER 11 YEARS OF HEADSHIP EXPERIENCE AND IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENGLISH NATIONAL CURRICULUM, GCSES AND A-LEVELS


34 Excellence in Higher Education

THE VALUE OF AN INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL DEGREE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE TO PREPARE THEIR MEDICAL STUDENTS TO FACE THE REALITIES OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL WORLD. UNIVERSITIES THAT ARE WELL EQUIPPED TO OFFER GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN HELPING STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR FULLEST POTENTIAL IN TERMS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AND TRANSFERABLE SKILLS SUCH AS COMMUNICATION AND TEAMWORK.

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he exposure to diverse faculty and peers in the setting of an international university shapes the cognitive and interpersonal skills of students and breaks down the barriers that would otherwise exist in a less diverse setting. A culturally diverse learning environment is essential for teaching, learning, and research, and the educational environment is enhanced and enriched by a true blend of voices and experiences from across all cultures.

DR MARIOS LOUKAS, MD, PhD, the Dean of the School of Medicine at St. George’s University, Grenada, addresses the true value of an international medical programme.

When studying in an international environment, medical students become exposed and comfortable with powerful multicultural experiences that change preconceived perspectives and build maturity. These students are equipped with the assets, tools, and flexibility to provide better patient care by thinking outside of the box, an important skill in the ever-changing

medical field. Students attending an international medical school abroad will also become more familiar with the local health concerns, which may differ significantly from the ones they are used to seeing. At St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine, we have believed in a global outlook towards medical education since our founding in 1976, when we pioneered the concept of international medical education. To this day, we are a medical school with a worldwide mission. SGU draws students, graduates, and faculty from more than 150 countries and has contributed over 19,000 physicians to the global physician workforce. This long, proud, and verifiable history of success is supported by implementing a curriculum that is built on fostering diversity, and one that is taught across the globe. Students at SGU have the opportunity to start their studies in Grenada, the UK, or India, and can complete clinical rotations at one of over 70


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SGU draws students, graduates, and faculty from more than 150 countries and has contributed over 19,000 physicians to the global physician workforce

affiliated hospitals in the US and UK. Working and learning in these different healthcare systems provides a unique perspective on conventional problems being faced in medicine nowadays. By creating an inclusive support network - with international students and faculty being the majority, not the minority - universities instil these international beliefs and offer an invaluable sense of comfort to their students. The process of moving abroad to study can be more relaxed when students are sharing the experience with peers in the same position and are supported by faculty that are also away from home. As each new cohort of future doctors starts at St. George’s University, they are surrounded by like-minded individuals who have chosen to broaden their horizons with an international medical education.

These students will set the precedent for our future generations of doctors and join our network of graduates who have practised in more than 50 countries, making them perfectly poised veterans in this rapidly changing world. The job of a doctor is not only to treat people but to help make society a better place with an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. International medical schools that fully embrace a global approach to health and education empower students to strive for this throughout their careers. This attitude enables students to be better students, and ultimately, doctors to be better doctors.

A culturally diverse learning environment is essential for teaching, learning, and research ST. GEORGE’S UNIVERSITY  +1 (631) 665-8500 ext. 1380 facebook @StGeorgesU instagram @StGeorgesU linkedin @st.-george’s-university twitter @stgeorgesu youtube @StGeorgesU www.sgu.edu


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Excellence in Higher Education

GBS Dubai LARGEST PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER THE GRAND INAUGURATION OF THE GLOBAL BANKING SCHOOL (GBS), ONE OF THE FASTESTGROWING HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDERS IN THE UK, TOOK PLACE 11 NOVEMBER 2021 AT THE CONFERENCE CENTRE OF DUBAI KNOWLEDGE PARK HOME TO ITS VIBRANT AND FULLY EQUIPPED DUBAI CAMPUS AS GLOBAL BUSINESS STUDIES (GBS).


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he Inauguration ceremony was addressed by Mr Stanley Johnson as the keynote speaker; Mr Johnson is the Chair of the Global GBS Advisory Board, and spoke about the good work in the field of education carried out by the GBS group in the UK. He wished good luck to the first campus outside the UK and promised all support to the GBS Dubai team. He also mentioned the importance of the UAE as an international educational hub in the making. The other speakers on the occasion were Professor Ray Lloyd Chief Academic Officer and CEO of GBS, who briefed the audience about the activities and progress of GBS in the UK in such a short time wherein the group achieved 93% approval ratings of students in the NSS survey; speaking on the occasion, Dr Vishwajeet Rana, Group CEO and Chair of the Executive Board of GBS, thanked Stanley Johnson and all the dignitaries for their presence and support, while Professor Amitabh Upadhya, President GBS Dubai, spoke about the programmes, courses, facilities and the futuristic and inclusive approach that GBS Dubai is following in preparing students to be future-ready. Prominent invitees who attended the event included Sheikh Saqer Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi from the private office of Sheikh Saqer Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Mr Adnan Al Noorani, Chairman of the Board and CEO, H.E. Mr Majid al Midfa Chairman Emirates Environmental Group, Shri Ramkumar Thangaraj, Consul (Education, Passport & Attestation) from Consulate of India, Sunita Mirchandani, UAE Lead Adviser for Education and Training from British Embassy Dubai and Principals of prominent schools of Dubai, Captains of Industry and Businesses and Corporate Leaders. GBS is a decade-old institution with over fifteen thousand students distributed across eight UK campuses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, and two campuses outside the UK that are in Malta and Dubai. GBS offers flexible, quality further and higher education vocational and academic programmes in the fields of banking/finance, computers, teacher training, construction, and healthcare management – designed to fit into the lives of students with family and other work commitments. GBS aims to continue its mission of ‘changing lives through education that makes a fundamental difference to living standards and access to learning throughout the MENA region. The organisation has taken great care to provide industry-relevant courses that maximise the chances for students to achieve their dream career, start a new business or expand an

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GBS aims to continue its mission of ‘changing lives through education that makes a fundamental difference to living standards and access to learning throughout the MENA region.

 STANLEY JOHNSON, CHAIR OF THE GLOBAL GBS ADVISORY BOARD, LAURA WOJCIECHOWSKI, EDUCATION UAE PARTNER AND MEDIA DIRECTOR, AND DR VISWAJEET RANA, CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD GBS

existing one. GBS Dubai in its commitment to providing quality education in the UAE is offering special scholarships to Emirati and expatriate youth to allow them to fulfil their aspirations to acquire international accredited applied knowledge and contribute to the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the UAE. ‘Making a difference to local communities’ is an important value that GBS pursues. GBS DUBAI IS BASED IN DUBAI KNOWLEDGE PARK Dr Viswajeet Rana, Chairman of the Executive Board GBS, discussing the vision and mission of group GBS underlined its commitment to offer high-quality education for aspiring students from different parts of the world. Dubai, which is considered as the ‘melting-pot’ for the East and the West, has always been one of his preferred educational destinations as a global city that offers world-class infrastructure, safety, security, and a conducive atmosphere for learning, research, internship, and job opportunities for the graduating students. Realising the disruption of the global environment in all sectors of life and business, Dr Rana believes that social and sustainable decisionmaking need to be weighed for planning the future of the aspirational youth of tomorrow. Further, Dr Rana emphasised GBS values that include care for students, cherishing diversity, ethical and

professional operations, entrepreneurial spirit, and willingness to learn and improve themselves. He also emphasised that GBS Dubai will be working towards promoting applied international education amongst Emirati students in pursuance of one of GBS’s important values - making a difference to local communities - and encourage the young aspirants through its scholarship programmes.

GBS is a decadeold institution with over fifteen thousand students distributed across eight UK campuses GBS DUBAI  +971 4 818 3400  admissions@gbs.ac.ae facebook @gbsdubai instagram @gbsdubai youtube @GBS Dubai www.gbs.ac.ae


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Excellence in Higher Education

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM STUDENTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR SMART CAMPUS The University of Birmingham has selected Siemens to create an intelligent campus app that will help make its Dubai campus one of the smartest and most sustainable environments for higher education in the world. Under their agreement, Siemens will deploy the customised app to bring the benefits of digitalisation to the mobile phones and computers of students, faculty, staff and visitors alike, enhancing their experiences at the University’s new campus in Dubai. With the app, the University can achieve a higher level of student and staff experience and better collaboration, and demonstrate more efficient use of resources than other campuses. Professor David Sadler, Provost at the University of Birmingham Dubai commented: “As a global civic university we have a strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Our partnership with Siemens, both in Dubai and Birmingham, aims to deliver the campus of the future, using cutting edge technologies to make our campuses among the smartest, most intelligent and sustainable globally. This will enhance our student experience, research, education and wider campus community, strengthen our engagement with industry, in addition to significantly reducing our carbon footprint.”

“OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH SIEMENS, BOTH IN DUBAI AND BIRMINGHAM, AIMS TO DELIVER THE CAMPUS OF THE FUTURE”

BUSINESS AND STUDENTLED COURSE DESIGN WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION Higher educational institutions need to work more closely with businesses and students to develop courses, increasing employability and opportunities to succeed. This is according to Professor Katie Normington, the Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester, speaking to a global audience at an Expo 2020 panel discussion on the future of higher education.

“A BIG PART OF THE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE IS TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS OTHER PEOPLE” “At DMU we already have courses co-designed with businesses and this will continue. We will see a move away from knowledge – which, in four or five years can be out of date – and a bigger emphasis on skills, both technical and vocational skills.” Reflecting on the rapid changes the pandemic had prompted across the sector, the speakers agreed that the physical campus is an inherent part of university life, with remote learning having its limitations. “A big part of the education experience is to be in the same room as other people. If you’re chairing a meeting, you can’t always make sure people are fairly brought into the discussion because you can’t read their body language. So, while remote learning is a trend that will continue, there will be a more blended approach to education in the future, offering students an experience that is more flexible around their needs.”


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THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER HOSTS PART-TIME MASTER’S DEGREE GRADUATION CELEBRATION The University of Manchester has held its eighth graduation celebration for Middle East students who recently graduated from its part-time Master’s programmes. The graduation celebration, held at Jumeirah

Emirates Towers in Dubai, was attended by 72 graduating students (of 26 nationalities) and their families and friends.

THE MIDDLE EAST CENTRE HAS GRADUATED A TOTAL OF 320 PART-TIME MASTER’S STUDENTS IN 2020-21

AUSTRALIAN PAVILION PRESENTS ‘NEW ERA’ OF EDUCATION

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY DUBAI’S INSIGHTS LAB WINS SMART DATA EXCELLENCE AWARD Middlesex University (MDX) Dubai’s Insights Lab has announced that it was named the winner of the Smart Data Excellence Award in Education at the Smart Data Summit PLUS 2021. Insights Lab, a research centre of excellence that forms part of MDX Dubai’s Centre for Innovation in Human Experience (CIHx) and is led by Dr Krishnadas Nanath, received this prestigious award for its outstanding implementation of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) principles to achieve excellence in the education sector.

Australian education experts from leading local and international organisations joined Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss how they are rethinking education for the new era. Australian education experts from world-renowned organisations participated in events and panel talks as part of Expo 2020 Dubai, Knowledge & Learning Week. Study Australia will also be launching a new series of Masterclass videos from the country’s top-ranking universities and professors, available to view globally and free of charge, in February 2022, as well as a live Masterclass at the Australian Pavilion.

AUSTRALIA FEATURED 36 UNIVERSITIES IN THE TOP 1000 QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS 2021

PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR ITS OUTSTANDING IMPLEMENTATION OF DATA SCIENCE AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) PRINCIPLES


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Excellence in Higher Education

AJMAN UNIVERSITY’S RESEARCH OUTPUT, QUALITY OF RESEARCH SHOW PHENOMENAL GROWTH Research output at Ajman University (AU), both in terms of the quality and quantity of research papers has shown phenomenal growth over the last four years from 2017 to 2021. This is evidenced by the impressive increase in Scopus indexed research papers produced by AU faculty and the increase in the number of citations received by AU papers. AU has also successfully diversified its research across academic streams and increased research collaborations and ties with leading high-ranked universities, regionally and globally. Scopus indexed research papers published by Ajman University authors increased from just 38 in 2017 to 500+ in 2021, an incredible rise of more than 1500% over these years. Meanwhile, an increase in the number of citations received for research papers by Ajman University has also shown a highly positive trend, growing by more than 100% between 2017-2021. In 2017, Scopus indexed research papers by AU faculty received 1685 citations, which increased to 3680 in 2021. industry, in addition to significantly reducing our carbon footprint.”

SCOPUS INDEXED RESEARCH PAPERS PUBLISHED BY AJMAN UNIVERSITY AUTHORS INCREASED FROM JUST 38 IN 2017 TO 500+ IN 2021

SHARJAH SUSTAINABLE CITY HOSTS VISIT FROM STUDENTS AND FACULTY FROM AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH Sharjah Sustainable City recently hosted a delegation of students and faculty from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) to further academic research and knowledge on sustainable real estate development in the UAE and beyond. Eight students from the Master of Urban Planning programme at AUS attended

the site visit, to learn about the practical implementations of sustainable development theories on housing communities and their effectiveness on the ground in the new Sharjah development. They were accompanied by Professor Rafael Pizarro (PhD), Associate Professor at the College of Architecture, Art & Design, and Rose Armour, Head of Sustainability at AUS.

AN INITIATIVE DESIGNED TO OFFER STUDENTS REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS INTO THE APPLICATION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THEORIES IN REAL ESTATE PROJECTS


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VICTORIA WELCOMES BACK INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AT EXPO 2020 DUBAI The Australian state of Victoria has welcomed international students back to its education institutes by celebrating the milestone with an event at Expo 2020 Dubai. Victoria, the Platinum Partner of the Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, hosted over 50 guests from UAE universities, Victorian alumni and UAE students about to head to university. The event offered an opportunity for stakeholders from the UAE education sector to network and learn more

about Melbourne’s world-class education and training systems. Victoria is home to six of the world’s best universities with two in the top 100 with research performance at or above world standard in many areas. Victoria’s capital Melbourne has one of the highest numbers of inner-city research collaborations in the world. According to the 2022 QS Best Student Cities ranking, Melbourne is Australia’s best student

city and one of the best in the world, receiving the highest score for a city’s student population, levels of social inclusion, and tolerance. “Victoria offers world-class education, training and research and access to a growing innovation ecosystem as well as a unique lifestyle that you can only find in one of the world’s most liveable places,” said Gönül Serbest, CEO, Global Victoria.

VICTORIA IS HOME TO SIX OF THE WORLD’S BEST UNIVERSITIES

NYUAD STUDENTS NAMED AS 2023 SCHWARZMAN SCHOLARS NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) students Lin Ye and Sophia Yushchenko (Class of 2022) and Herbert Crowther (Class of 2021) have been named 2023 Schwarzman Scholars, one of the world’s most prestigious graduate fellowships located at Schwarzman College on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing. Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes

 Sophia Yushchenko

Scholarship and is designed to prepare future global leaders to meet the geopolitical challenges of the 21st century. Scholars pursue a Master’s degree and leadership program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Once admitted, Scholars pursue a one-year Master’s degree in Global Affairs with a core curriculum focused on three pillars: leadership, China, and global affairs.

 Herbert Crowther

The 2023 Schwarzman Scholars were chosen from a pool of over 3,000 applicants and were selected through a process designed to assess academic strength, leadership ability, and strength of character. Schwarzman Scholars are taught by leading international and Tsinghua faculty, with frequent guest lectures from prominent global thought leaders.

 Lin Ye


42 EdTech

STUDENTS IN WONDERLAND! STUDENTS WILL BE LEARNING SUBJECTS OF THEIR CHOOSING, USING VARIOUS TECHNOLOGIES, AND WORKING WITH TEACHERS OF THEIR CHOICE. WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? NO LESS THAN THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION AND A WONDERLAND OF LEARNING! Phil Redhead, an independent education consultant based in Dubai and the Director of Education and Innovation at Kinteract, a UKbased edtech company committed to providing hyper-personalised learning for all, takes us further down the rabbit hole, explaining: “The use of technology will aid the teaching and learning process. Learning will become more creative and practical as time goes on. Students’ criticalthinking, problem-solving abilities and soft skills will be evaluated, and their performance in real world, creative projects of their own choosing.” Schools will become exploratory places that are designed for each individual student to learn and develop. “Good teachers will still be crucial, but they’ll serve as facilitators, not content providers,” Phil says, who is himself a qualified teacher and school leader, with over 20 years experience in global education. “Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real-world teaching and learning experiences will gradually transform education.” HYPER-PERSONALISED LEARNING The most significant benefits of this transformation will come in the form of a hyper-personalised education that is delivered in a customised manner. But what exactly is hyper-personalised learning? “Maslow called it self-actualization or being all one can be,” Phil says. “Csikszentmihalyi created the concept of ‘flow’ and Sir Ken Robinson framed it as ‘being in our element’. The Japanese talk about finding one’s ‘ikigai’ or purpose in life. At Kinteract, we believe that education is about far more than just the traditional basics. That’s why, as well as accelerating progress and raising achievement in the core school curriculum, our solution goes further, in supporting holistic, personalised learning and development in any field and for all ages.

 PHIL REDHEAD, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND INNOVATION AT KINTERACT

“There is no way that every learner can be served by high-quality teachers in a face to face model, within a brick and mortar institution, no matter how ‘state-of-the-art’ the facilities or well-planned the curriculum.


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“LEARNING WILL BECOME MORE CREATIVE AND PRACTICAL AS TIME GOES ON” “John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, saw the child as the curriculum and, when we internalise this as the reality and imagine how technology can help deliver this hyper-personalised experience of lifelong learning, we are moving towards a better world. “So this is what we are working on - building a better, fairer world by levelling up society and helping everyone to achieve their dreams and find their purpose in life.” EDUCATION DRIVEN BY SOCIAL CHANGE Technology will shape the future of education, but social change and improved energy infrastructure will drive it. Education remains an inaccessible birthright for millions of children around the world, with 260 million youngsters out of school in 2020. Millions more are in classrooms but don’t get a quality education. According to a UNDESA study, 188 million children still attend schools without electricity. That means no lights or fans, no heat or comfort, no internet, no computers or digital learning aids, and low staff and student retention. “To reach vulnerable socioeconomic groups, the future of education lies in a mix of stable energy availability and adapted educational tools,” Phil explains. “To be even more aspirational, if you get this right long term, you more or less empty the prisons; you create a safe, fair, equal society where everyone is happy and fulfilled. You’ll always get some crime, but for the most part, if everyone has a purpose and a reason to succeed, and are given the skills and values to achieve their goals, they will contribute to society.” AI AND THE METAVERSE The metaverse makes use of the Substrate modular framework for increased scalability, long-term expansion, and support to connect decentralised applications, services, and other independent blockchains to connect, exchange information, and transactions at a lower cost. At least that’s how a ‘techie’ would explain it.

“THE LEARNER WILL BE PUT AT THE CENTRE OF EVERYTHING”

However, there is another explanation, which is far more exciting: ‘Entering Wonderland (the metaverse) will inspire and enthral; each person’s interpretation of Wonderland is unique, but all convey the sense that anything is possible.’ Phil takes up the story: “In the metaverse, students will be able to create a ‘digital twin’, and within a few seconds see where they might be in a few years time if they follow a particular path. And that path need not be a lawyer, doctor or civil engineer; it can be a musician, artist, sportsperson, or any one of a million possibilities that are out there. “The metaverse will become more influential very quickly, too. Today, all the kids want to be on YouTube, but I don’t think they will in five or ten years; they’ll all be in the metaverse. The learner will be put at the centre of everything.” Virtual Reality (VR) will allow people, instead of using a computer, to enter the metaverse, possibly using a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments. Unlike existing VR, which is mostly utilised for gaming, this virtual environment might be used for anything - work, education, concerts, or simply hanging out. “There will be smart recommendations for every learner – not just the next maths question in an adaptive programme, but a Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) that leverages rich data to connect the learner with content, teachers, peers, institutions, courses, causes, projects, internships, mentors, funding, and everything else they need to succeed,” Phil explains.

THE TRUE PROMISE OF EDTECH The metaverse can be conceived of as a collection of worlds, similar to how the physical universe is made up of worlds, and it will allow education to become hyper-personalised, or as Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland, ‘Which way you ought to go depends on where you want to get to ...’ Nevertheless, many people are concerned that as technology rapidly changes the environment around us, it will supplant human input. Technology, though, is not a replacement for good teaching. Instead, it gives the finest educators the tools they need to engage students in learning, enhancing and expanding on what the best teachers are already good at: explaining, illustrating, involving and guiding, supporting and inspiring students.

“IF YOU GET THIS RIGHT LONG TERM, YOU MORE OR LESS EMPTY THE PRISONS” “There is a growing realisation that traditional institutions and models of education cannot alone provide the knowledge, skills, attributes and values that students need for a life of hyper-personalised learning. This shift to the democratisation of learning through the application of exponential technologies to new models and modalities of education provision that place the learner at the centre is the true promise of edtech.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS OF THIS TRANSFORMATION WILL COME IN THE FORM OF A HYPER-PERSONALISED EDUCATION Most people imagine that when you use the metaverse, you’ll have a 3D avatar - a version of yourself. But it’s early days, so there’s no single agreed definition just yet. What we can say, though, is that the metaverse will be interactive, immersive, and collaborative. “Blockchain and NFTs are driving this new age of creativity. A trend that started with the ability to create one’s own space on the web (e.g. MySpace) and is now booming in YouTube, TikTok, etc., is about to explode with the advent of NFTs and the metaverse, providing the ability to monetise one’s own creations and influence others to a whole new level.”

KINTERACT  +356 7909 6898  sales@kinteract.com facebook @kinteractapp twitter @wearekinteract linkedin @kinteract youtube @Kinteract www.kinteract.co.uk


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EdTech

CARFAX EDUCATION COMPLETES SEED ROUND AT $10 MILLION VALUATION TO BUILD GLOBAL ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM CARFAX EDUCATION, THE UAE BASED GLOBAL EDUCATION GROUP, HAS RAISED $1 MILLION IN INITIAL FUNDING TO BUILD THE WORLD’S FIRST BLOCKCHAIN POWERED ONLINE EDUCATION PLATFORM, CARFAX COLLEGE ONLINE. BACKED BY WELTHEE, A DECENTRALISED INVESTMENT FUND, THE INVESTMENT WILL ENABLE CARFAX TO FURTHER DEVELOP THE PLATFORM FOR LAUNCH IN JANUARY 2022. With a uniquely flexible model, Carfax College Online will combine self-led learning with one-to-one tuition to make world-class education more accessible to a wider range of students internationally. Tudor Oros, Managing Director, Carfax Education, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Welthee to bring Carfax College Online into fruition. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a huge rise in demand for our homeschooling services as parents have seen the advantage of a more flexible approach to education and the benefits of self-led learning.

INITIAL STAGE FUNDING RAISED $1 MILLION INVESTMENT LED BY WELTHEE  TUDOR OROS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CARFAX EDUCATION


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 ANTHONY TATTERSALL, EMEA VICE-PRESIDENT OF ENTERPRISE, COURSERA

COURSERA TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH LEARNING ANTHONY TATTERSALL IS THE EMEA VICE-PRESIDENT OF ENTERPRISE AT COURSERA, A COMPANY THAT PARTNERS WITH OVER 200 LEADING UNIVERSITIES AND FIRMS TO DELIVER FLEXIBLE, AFFORDABLE, JOB-RELEVANT ONLINE LEARNING TO INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS WORLDWIDE. WE SPOKE TO ANTHONY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT COURSERA; ITS PHILOSOPHY, COURSES, AND VISION FOR THE FUTURE.


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EdTech

OF OUR 92 MILLION LEARNERS WORLDWIDE, MORE THAN 5 MILLION LIVE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

THE NUMBER OF UNIVERSITY DEGREES OFFERED ON COURSERA HAS RISEN 55% YEAR ON YEAR

Education UAE: Can you talk a little about Coursera, its background, and its educational philosophy? Anthony Tattersall: Coursera aims to create an ecosystem where anyone, anywhere in the world, can transform their life through learning. Launched in 2012 by two Stanford Computer Science professors - Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller - we are now one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, with 92 million registered learners as of 30 September 2021. Coursera has a three-sided platform that connects learners, educators, and institutions in a global learning ecosystem. We partner with over 250 leading university and industry partners to offer a broad catalogue of content and credentials, including guided projects, courses, specialisations, certificates, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. EDUAE: The company offers a very broad portfolio of courses – what are its target markets and in which territories? AT: Coursera is a global company with a global mission. Of our 92 million learners worldwide, more than 5 million live in the Middle East, including 412,000 new enrolments in the past quarter alone. We have seen over 550,000 of the UAE’s learners begin a learning journey on Coursera. We strive to reach learners, wherever they may be, through world-class online content, mobile, and hands-on learning experiences that can be tailored to their unique, individual needs. In the Middle East, we recently launched our right to left functionality for Arabic learners, and learners can now access an additional 2,000 courses on Coursera in Arabic.

These include world-class courses from leading universities and industry leaders, including Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) by the University of Michigan, English for Career Development by the University of Pennsylvania, and Introduction to Machine Learning by Duke University. EDUAE: Can you explain right-to-left functionality? AT: Some estimates put today’s Arabic speakers at over 274 million. By displaying Arabic onscreen text from right-to-left, as is consistent with the written structure of the language, we allow Arabic enterprise learners on the platform to easily navigate Coursera, from our homepage, through our search and browse facilities, to enrolment, assessment, grading, notes, transcripts, and emails. Coursera’s Arabic learner experience will be transformed with this new feature. EDUAE: There is a tremendous acceleration in online courses in the UAE, and in the medium to long term, this must be very positive for the nation’s economy? AT: The growth in online course enrolments in the UAE is enabling the country to upskill at scale. This will enable the country to consolidate its status as the regional leader for Business skills, for which it is rated ‘Cutting Edge’, with 99% proficiency, in the most recent Coursera Global Skills Report. This strength is built on the high uptake of courses like English for Career Development (4th-most-popular in the UAE), Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (6th-most-popular), and Financial Markets (7th).


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The Coursera Global Skills Report also finds that the UAE’s citizens are less proficient in technology skills (33% proficiency, rated ‘Emerging’) and data science skills (34% proficiency, rated ‘Emerging’). However, we are also seeing tens of thousands of learners across the country seek to upskill themselves in these domains. Also among the top ten courses in the UAE are Machine Learning (5th), Excel Skills for Business: Essentials (8th), and Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) (9th). Increased uptake of these courses will help to enhance the country’s skills profile and increase its economic competitiveness. EDUAE: I understand you now offer over 2000 courses in Arabic; this seems quite a unique online offering in the educational landscape? AT: Our Arabic-language offerings are essential to our expansion in the region, which has also seen us add four new Saudi Arabian partners in the last year to help meet learner demand. In total, we now offer 2,013 courses in Arabic, 413 of which are unique to the region. The remaining 1,600 are translations from the most popular courses we’re seeing on the platform, in other languages. In addition, we also offer subtitles for approximately 95% of all Arabic courses on the platform. Among our top-rated translated courses are IBM’s ‘Python for Data Science, AI & Development’, and Stanford University’s ‘Machine Learning’, as well as Imperial College London’s ‘Science Matters: Let’s Talk About Covid-19’. EDUAE: How cost-effective are your degree courses – I understand you offer tremendous value for 100% online courses from leading universities? AT: Affordability is at the heart of our mission - many degrees on Coursera cost less than half of comparable on-campus programmes. We’ve been able to lower the cost of these programmes by making open courses a gateway to degrees. The large learner funnel created by these open courses (we have a global audience of more than 92 million learners) results in a very low customer acquisition cost for degrees. Universities are then able to pass those savings on to students. Recently, Coursera also announced a new tiered structure that offers universities one of the lowest service fees in the industry for online degree programmes: service fees progressively reduce from 40% to 25% of total tuition as universities grow their programmes. Coursera degrees have continued to grow in popularity: the number of university degrees offered on Coursera has risen 55% year on year.

COURSERA CURRENTLY WORKS WITH MORE THAN 175 UNIVERSITIES AND 75 INDUSTRY PARTNERS WORLDWIDE As of the end of June, 81% more students were enrolled in Coursera’s online degree programmes than the year before.

employment market transformed in the wake of Covid-19, the world responded with a rising need for flexible, accessible online learning.

Additional value is created by product innovations that enhance the student experience. These innovations include technology like video office hours and live sessions with professors, Slack integration to foster communication among classmates, remote-proctored exams, and coursework that can be completed via web or mobile app to ensure a flexible yet high-quality, interactive experience.

This need remains high. Technology has enabled learners to access high-quality education from anywhere in the world, and Covid-19 forced universities to adopt online and blended learning to a greater extent than ever before. A recent TopHat study suggests that 75% of students want continued access to video lectures, while nearly 60% of institutions are re-evaluating their online learning priorities.

EDUAE: Which major companies and organisations use your services, and do you see this area of the business continuing to expand? AT: Coursera currently works with more than 175 universities and 75 industry partners worldwide. The demand for technology skills is rising and some of the fastest paths to obtain job-relevant knowledge in this field are through courses offered by technology companies. Giants such as IBM, Google, and Facebook are empowering people around the world to learn in-demand skills quickly through courses on Coursera.

Covid-19 was a turning point for higher education. More than 30 million new learners registered on Coursera globally in 2020 alone, representing a 65% year-on-year growth. This forced adoption of online learning will lead to an enduring digital transformation of higher education and will be defined by blended classrooms, job-relevant education, and lifelong learning at work.

We expect this list to expand steadily as more organisations discover the value of our platform and our approach. We also have many customers in the Middle East - organisations that use Coursera services to upskill students, employees, and citizens. Our regional partners include the Abu Dhabi School of Government, L’Université Hassan II de Casablanca, University of Jeddah, and Effat University. EDUAE: Many people believe that Covid-19 can be a catalyst for change in education – how does Coursera view this? AT: Covid-19 has already catalyzed change in education - it has catalyzed increased demand for, and uptake of, blended learning; and high levels of institutional collaboration with partners like Coursera to meet that demand: 47% of universities collaborated with other institutions to better serve students during Covid-19. Coursera saw a rapid increase in learner numbers and learning activity across its platform in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, we gained 30 million new learners, 75 million new enrollments, and Coursera learners completed 576 million lectures and 123 million assessments. As campuses closed and the

EDUAE: What is Coursera’s vision for the next five years? AT: Over the next five years, the disruption caused by automation and the pandemic will continue to drive change across the world. For educational providers, the number of competitive alternatives will continue to increase, while learner adoption of more accessible, flexible alternatives will also rise. For providers to continue meeting learner needs at scale, institutional collaboration and partnerships will be critical. Institutions that take advantage of these collaborative opportunities will help drive change and mitigate the social inequities worsened by the pandemic. Technology will also continue to facilitate the rise of remote work, helping provide anyone, anywhere access to high-quality jobs, even if those jobs are not in their city, state, or even their country. Coursera will continue to act as a partner to learners, enterprises, and institutions as they align efforts to help drive a more inclusive and equitable recovery. COURSERA facebook @Coursera twitter @coursera linkedin @coursera youtube @coursera www.coursera.org


48 EdTech

REVOLUTIONISING THE EDUCATION SECTOR THE SCHOOLS OF THE FUTURE ARE BEING BUILT RIGHT NOW. THESE ARE SCHOOLS WHERE ALL TEACHERS HAVE THE NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS AND MOTIVATION, WHERE TECHNOLOGY ENABLES THEM TO PROVIDE HIGH-QUALITY INSTRUCTION, AND WHERE ALL STUDENTS LEARN CORE SKILLS, SUCH AS SOCIO-EMOTIONAL AND DIGITAL ABILITIES.

U

nfortunately, though, the education system still faces numerous challenges. Due to the importance of an identification card in universities, for instance, many people create a false identity to gain access. Furthermore, students frequently alter certificates to suit their requirements, resulting in a high level of dishonesty throughout the system. Unwieldy registration and management processes are another problem, with the increasing amount of time spent on these resulting in less time for teaching students. Then there is the subject of attendance. Because there is no efficient means to track them, some students, particularly in universities, develop a habit of being absent, taking advantage of the fact that it is next to impossible to track everyone on campus. The list is long. But the world has moved into a new era. There are so many changes in society, many of them marked by technology, and as a result, education must change with them Yet, how is this to be achieved?

UNIFINITY HAS CREATED A ONE-STOP APPLICATION FROM WHICH ANYONE CAN PERFORM ANY ACTIVITY ON THE SYSTEM

Unifinity Integrated Solutions is part of the answer, with a fully decentralised application designed to assist educators to implement blockchain technology in their schools. The company has already dramatically improved different systems in a variety of industries across the world, and now Unifinity has introduced this revolutionary technology to help improve the education system under the banner of Unifinity Institutes. BLOCKCHAIN Blockchain is, of course, still a little esoteric to many people. So what is it? Put simply, a blockchain is a continuously expanding list of records known as blocks that are linked together via cryptography. A cryptographic hash of the preceding block, a time stamp, and exchange information are all included in each block. Information can safely be stored over a shared system using blockchain, where everybody can see it but no one can change it. Blockchain keeps track of all information transactions in a ledger and employs a distributed method to verify each transaction. The blockchain is used to securely exchange items such as money, contracts, and now education without the need for

a third-party middleman. It is extremely difficult to modify information after it has been stored on a blockchain. Unlike a banking system, for instance, where no client has access to another client’s transactions, blockchain technology allows all clients across the world to see another client’s transactions. As a result, everything is completely transparent, ensuring that no customer can edit or delete any information without another client seeing it. Importantly, because blockchain represents digitised truth, it may be used in any digital process where parties must trust one another. Unifinity is a dynamic interface that provides the necessary infrastructure and a set of integrated tools to connect all blockchain innovation partners and activities. It will enable institutions to handle blockchain features and applications at a fraction of the present cost and time, ushering in a paradigm shift in the educational sector. BUILDING A COMMUNITY BY SERVING EVERYONE There are many intriguing features on the Unifinity platform, including:  A reward system for students, to incentivise their performance  A reliable system for school management and students admission  An efficient payment gateway and investment system  An attendance monitoring system  Certificate issuance and identity verification system  A virtual bank for the users Unifinity’s features will help to tackle the difficulties of the educational system in a number of innovative ways. By utilising enhanced technology to execute complex operations, it assures that less time is spent in the admission of new students and minimises the stress associated with overseeing the entire management activity. This guarantees that more


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time is spent with students, providing them with the high-quality education they deserve. Unifinity also provides a mechanism for schools to verify students’ identities and authenticate and give validated certificates to students, thereby reducing the number of fraudulent entries and certificate fraud occurring today. Moreover, Unifinity has created a one-stop application from which anyone can perform any activity on the system, making it accessible to all users, including parents and students. This means that parents can track the performance of their children and even pay school fees and other dues, quickly and easily. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. STUDENTS CAN PAY FOR THEIR OWN EDUCATION Unifinity opens up entirely new possibilities for educational institutions, their staff, faculty, and students. Students, for instance, can be rewarded for a variety of accomplishments, including merely showing up to class, taking examinations and quizzes, and using the Unifinity platform. The goal is to make studying genuinely enjoyable for students while also assisting the school or university in providing incentives based on students’ classroom performance by tokenizing their grades and rewarding them for their achievements.

Unifinity Performance-Based Distribution Platform – students will also have the opportunity to fund their own education! Schools and universities will be able to release tranches of funding to individual students or educational institutions when certain conditions are met, thanks to the support of donors, sponsors, PTA organisations, NGOs, scholarships, and other sources. Students can be awarded for attending lessons, learning new skills, acing tests, participating in extracurricular activities, or maintaining a high-grade average.

new approach to the organisation of people, spaces, time, and technology in education?

A WATERSHED EVENT The essential question is: to what extent are our current classroom, people, time, and technology aiding or impeding our vision? Will upgrading and fine-tuning the current system, which is the conceptual equivalent of rearranging a house’s windows and doors, help us reach our objectives? Or is it necessary to take a completely

The Unifinity platform is about to lead a dramatic shift in the worldwide education sector. It is, without a doubt, a watershed event in the educational system and the blockchain sector, and it will help to secure the planet’s future by cultivating youngsters who are well-positioned to be future leaders.

Future planning involves both vision and rigour. We cannot afford to be caught off guard again in a future when shocks such as pandemics and extreme weather events are projected to become increasingly common. Educational systems must evolve away from the ideals that defined education in previous generations if they are to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Through this rewards system – known as the

IMPORTANTLY, BECAUSE BLOCKCHAIN REPRESENTS DIGITISED TRUTH, IT MAY BE USED IN ANY DIGITAL PROCESS WHERE PARTIES MUST TRUST ONE ANOTHER

UNIFINITY  +356 7909 6898

twitter @unifinity_io

 support@unifinity.eu

youtube @unifinity ioa

facebook @Unifinityph

www.unifinity.eu

linkedin @unifinity


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EdTech

TOUCH-TYPE, READ AND SPELL: THE DYSLEXIA-FRIENDLY APPROACH DYSLEXIA IS A COMMON LEARNING DIFFICULTY THAT CAUSES PROBLEMS WITH READING, WRITING AND SPELLING, AND IS USUALLY DIAGNOSED IN CHILDREN WHEN THEY START SCHOOL. IT IS A LIFELONG CONDITION, BUT UNLIKE A LEARNING DISABILITY, IT DOESN’T AFFECT THE CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND AND LEARN NEW INFORMATION. INDEED, MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE DYSLEXIA HAVE STRONG VISUAL, CREATIVE AND PROBLEMSOLVING SKILLS – FAMOUS DYSLEXICS INCLUDE RICHARD BRANSON, STEVEN SPEILBERG, PABLO PICASSO, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, LEONARDO DA VINCI AND ALBERT EINSTEIN. DYSLEXIA IS NO BARRIER TO SUCCESS.


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owever, dyslexia does require a specialist approach if one is to improve skills, self-esteem and motivation. Enter Touch-type, Read and Spell (TTRS), which teaches computer keyboardfriendly skills in a unique dyslexia-friendly way. A very structured programme, it uses word lists from the textbook ‘Alpha to Omega’ by Dr Beve Horsby, Frula Shear and Julie Pool, and is based on the work of Orton and Gillingham. Liz Loly, Education and Communications Consultant at TTRS, explains: “Touch-type, Read and Spell has been around now for nearly 30 years and has been developed so that it’s suitable for everyone from age seven up to people in their 80s. And although dyslexia and other learning difficulties are a key focus, people who don’t have any learning difficulties but want to learn to touch-type are attracted to the system, too.” One of the reasons why TTRS is so successful across such a broad spectrum of people is that it goes back to basics. It names the letters as they are introduced - and this makes the course accessible to students whose literacy is at the most basic level no matter what their age. “It uses real words, instead of doing the whole j-k, j-k, j-k repetitive typing of keys,” says Liz. “We introduce the keys and then immediately people start typing words, starting with the basic consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as red, fed and led. There’s a lot of repetition, it’s multi-sensory, so you see it, you hear it, and you type it. So in its approach, it’s gradually building up reading and spelling skills at the same type as teaching touch-typing.” Students who struggle with the process of handwriting may do so throughout their lives, but may well be able to achieve automaticity of typing, for as Liz says: “One of the key things with touch-typing, particularly for those who have difficulties with spelling, is that it takes away some of the thought processes, and it’s like a ‘muscle memory’ that does the work. Words flow through the fingers without the student having to consciously think about them.” BASIC COURSE STRUCTURE There are 744 modules in all, arranged over 24 levels and encompassing 4,000 words, including punctuated sentences. Each student works at their own speed and can repeat each module as many times as they like. Each of the 24 levels is divided into 31 modules. Every fifth module is a dictation module, the first four introducing new vocabulary and the fifth serving as a diction module to test and reinforce learning. TTRS is designed to be

followed sequentially in order to acquire touchtyping skills alongside the gradual acquisition of the building blocks of literacy. When students go to the Levels area of the software, they will see a list of the terms that each level covers. Level 1 The vowels are introduced and named in Level 1. This is critical information for readers of all ages. The lesson then moves on to making three-letter words by combining vowels and consonants. Students are encouraged to line up their fingers on the home key and follow the fingers on the screen rather than looking down at their hands, and they soon learn to type complete words without thinking about it. From here on in, the course uses a whole-word approach. This is an important strategy since it provides meaning to letter combinations. Levels 2 and 3 Consonant clusters coupled with vowels are used in Levels 2 and 3 to bring attention to sound and grapheme patterns in the target words. Level 4 to 12 Students are exposed to the vowel diagraphs and simple spelling rules of the English language in levels 4 through 12. Diagraphs are displayed and spoken separately, then as part of a word. Levels 13 to 20 Less common spelling patterns and more complex spelling rules are found in levels 13 through 20. They also include the suffixing and prefixing rules, as well as syllable structure. Levels 21 to 24 Homophones, silent letters, countries, names, and more advanced suffixing and prefixing are all included in levels 21 to 24. Every fifth module in the course is a dictation module, which is designed to evaluate and reinforce learning by presenting the student with the sound of the words learned in the previous four modules, but no words on the screen to copy. Students, especially those with language processing issues, may find it helpful to hear a word many times, which they can do by pressing the icon on the screen or pressing the number 2 on the keyboard. The teacher can assess how a student is doing on a module with a glance at the keyboard screen. As the student works away, a thin bar running from top to bottom on the left indicates speed, the right-hand bar indicates the accuracy score, and the bar along the top shows where the student is within the module.


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EdTech

A statistics summary is provided at the end of each module, including the module’s accuracy score and, if selected in Settings, the words per minute (WPM) score. ACCURACY SCORE SYSTEM Encouragement, of course, strengthens us and encourages us to continue, and what better way than to hear a stadium full of people give you a loud round of applause! Consequently, at the end of each module, the student receives applause in direct response to how he or she has performed.  100% is described as perfect and receives stadium applause  Above 95% is described as excellent and receives loud applause.  Above 90% accuracy is described as good and receives light applause.  By default, students need to achieve a score of 80% to unlock the next module, but the pass mark can be changed in the Administration account if required. But if a student’s score falls below 80%, the teacher or parents may recommend that the student repeat the module.

THERE ARE 744 MODULES IN ALL, ARRANGED OVER 24 LEVELS AND ENCOMPASSING 4,000 WORDS, INCLUDING PUNCTUATED SENTENCES

THE TEACHER CAN ASSESS HOW A STUDENT IS DOING ON A MODULE WITH A QUICK GLANCE AT THE KEYBOARD SCREEN

CPD ACCREDITED The course is designed to help learners achieve high scores, which enhances self-esteem and motivates them to go on with a ‘can do’ attitude. TTRS encourages continual new research papers and welcomes collaboration from organisations that wish to initiate such studies. “We have recently become CPD accredited for the main TTRS course and also the teacher and tutor training webinar I run,” Liz says. “We also have close links with dyslexia associations around the world, including the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). TTRS is a BDA assured product.” Dyslexia is very common, affecting up to 20% of the population and representing 80– 90% of all those with learning disabilities, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. So it is imperative that schools take positive action to assist students. What’s more, it couldn’t be easier to sign up to TTRS, with a 14-day free trial that allows students and teachers to discover its effectiveness and value.


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“We have lots of tutors that subscribe as well,” Liz says, “in countries as far afield as the UK, US, and Australia. It’s all online and a school, for instance, will subscribe on a per-student basis. The person in charge has a general administrator account, giving them the ability to add as many teachers as they want to. Furthermore, each student has their own individual log-in details, which means they can use it at school, but they can also use it anywhere there is an internet connection.” It’s important to point out too, that parents can subscribe to TTRS if their child’s school doesn’t run the system. TTRS offers ongoing support, too. “I run a training webinar every week that is completely free – one week it’s a general introduction, another week it’s a more in-depth webinar for teachers and tutors. People can register for that, and even if the timing doesn’t quite work, they get sent the link after the recording. “The way TTRS is designed, it is very much selfexplanatory, as user-friendly as possible. We guide schools through setting up initially and adding students, and then they should be able to just run with it. The webinars and everything

“WE HAVE RECENTLY BECOME CPD ACCREDITED FOR THE MAIN TTRS COURSE AND ALSO THE TEACHER AND TUTOR TRAINING”

else are extras to keep people informed and help them to make the most of the software.” ACHIEVING FULL POTENTIAL Although dyslexia is becoming more understood, there is still considerable confusion about what it is and how it affects people’s lives. Dyslexia can lead to low self-esteem and underachievement if it is not appropriately supported. There is no cure for dyslexia. However, with the help of TTRS, people who are affected can accomplish many amazing things. The emphasis is on understanding challenges in a new light, thinking about dyslexia with a balanced approach, and then eradicating barriers that stand in the way of students achieving their full potential.

TOUCH-TYPE, READ AND SPELL  support@readandspell.com facebook @TTRSonline instagram @readandspell twitter @readandspell youtube @ttrsuk www.readandspell.com


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EdTech

WALK THE TALK AI AND ‘MACHINE LEARNING IN SCHOOLS EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (EDTECH) IMPROVEMENTS IN RECENT YEARS HAVE BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF ASTOUNDING. THE ADVANCEMENTS IN THIS DISCIPLINE ARE ENABLING EDUCATORS TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONAL LEARNING EXPERIENCES FOR TODAY’S YOUNG MINDS, AS THEY RESPOND TO A WORLD THAT HAS TO ADAPT ITS CURRICULUM TO INCLUDE TECHNOLOGY AS A VITAL FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE. Idea Center, Phantom II Limited’s education arm, is at the forefront of this revolution and has been for the past 30 years, today selling in 20 countries worldwide with sales in excess of $30 million. At the heart of Idea Center’s business philosophy is recognition of a need to create learning environment that helps people to learn and understand robotics, particularly important with technology now accounting for most of the developments and changes in society. And within this pioneering sphere, the company is now offering its expertise to schools in the UAE, with Dr Nira Krumholtz, head of Idea Center, happy to work with individual schools and teachers to help students prepare for a rapidly changing technological world, including in the creative arts. Adding ‘A’ to STEM. “Once it was decided to add the A (Art) to STEM, ’Idea Center’ was set a challenge: to develop activities that would address the art dimension

significantly to emphasise its importance and contribution. We looked for the best way to do this so it will be natural and not compulsory. Moreover, the activities had to be based on the learning model** that was developed and implemented in Idea Center,” Dr Krumholtz explains. Looking at the process of integrating computers in the education system, it is easy to distinguish between three steps that differ in the topics that are taught with computers: 1. I n stage one, the focus was on Maths and Science. Students learned to program their constructed models to perform tasks that were based on geometrical figures. The emphasis was on learning to program using the principles of computer science. 2. Stage two focused on Engineering. The tasks required a solution that raised the need to design the structure of their model

and its mechanism to perform the required task. It was then necessary to integrate studies of physics, mechanics (motion) and the field of mechanical engineering such as transmissions, torques, etc. The appearance of humanoid robots in recent years, and their reasonable price, has enabled the integration of robots into school’s computer labs. 3. Out of this grew the third stage, AI and Machine Learning, treating robots as if they were human, focusing on the robots’ behaviour, their reactions, and interaction with people, and even interaction with other robots. “This approach elevates the artistic aspects and addresses issues such as music, directing, set design, movement, and choreography,” says Dr Krumholtz.

ONE OF IDEA CENTER’S OBJECTIVES IS TO DELIVER UNEQUALLED CURRICULUM SUCCESS THROUGHOUT STEAM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, ARTS AND MATHEMATICS)


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As an example of applying art in STEM, we can look at a task defined for students to perform in teams while addressing and integrating aspects from the field of art. In this instance, a Robo-DanceOff Challenge, with Dr Krumholtz commenting: “We believe that this kind of approach makes it possible to prepare students to be ‘Netizens’ - users of tomorrow’s social networks, thus reducing the gap between the latest technologies in reality, and those implemented in the education system.”

EXTRA UNIQUE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THIS CHALLENGE:  Understanding and experiencing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.  Humanoid robotics communication and programming.  Developing high order thinking skills, such as classifying and creating a taxonomy.  Experience updated demands of coding and computerised thinking.

CHALLENGE OVERVIEW: Participants work in teams to program robots to perform a challenge. This challenge can be solved on various levels.

TEAMWORK CHALLENGE ROBO-DANCE-OFF CHALLENGE The task is to use creative thinking and problemsolving skills to create unique choreography and program a ‘Meccanoid’ to perform in a dance-off in front of a live audience.

For example:  A simple level may be to program the robot or the Avatar, by directly moving its body parts.  A complex level can be to program the robot using programming software to develop interactive decision-making algorithms.  The focus of the challenge is more on the robot’s behaviour and less on its mechanism.  The robots can participate in the challenge solution as the only actors presenting on stage; or, together with other team members to create a mixed team (students and robots) that will perform a team challenge.  As with all Idea Center challenges, this challenge will be ‘multi-step, complex and open-ended’. “WE BELIEVE THAT THIS KIND OF APPROACH MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO PREPARE STUDENTS TO BE ‘NETIZENS’ USERS OF TOMORROW’S SOCIAL NETWORKS, THUS REDUCING THE GAP BETWEEN THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES IN REALITY, AND THOSE IMPLEMENTED IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM”

Before Participating: Download the Meccanoid App and go over the tutorial. Those taking part can start practising their dance even before entering the booth. The only thing required is to arrive at the booth with the app installed on a mobile device. TIME 1. Appraisal – one minute. Participants watch the previous teams performing. The previous teams will perform their Humanoid Robot unique dance to the spectators. The cheers of the spectators will show who the most creative team is. 2. Boot Camp – 13 minutes. The team will program their Meccanoid using the Ragdoll app and/or Learn Intelligent Movement (LIM) programming method, to perform a special dance. 3. Performance – one minute. Each team will have one minute to demonstrate their Humanoid Robot special dance.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:  Artificial Intelligence  Machine Learning  Robotics communication  Robotics programming  Computerised thinking  Creativity  Problem-solving This is just one example of the myriad opportunities presented by Idea Center, a company that is pioneering the development of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and IoE software, which allows a robot to learn. A high-tech company, Idea Center creates advanced robotics software and curricula. When it comes to software development, it is at the very head of the line. This is what distinguishes it from the competition. One of Idea Center’s objectives is to deliver unequalled curriculum success throughout STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), with an approach to teaching technology that allows the learner to experience technological activities and technological processes. Moreover, Dr Krumholtz can personally train educators to utilise its groundbreaking technology so that students can derive fun and fulfilment from learning sometimes challenging subjects. “We can tailorfit whatever the requirements of the school are in terms of a broad array of requirements, including budget,” Dr Krumholtz concludes. ** Krumholtz, N.: ‘Simulating Technology Processes to Foster Learning’. The Journal of Technology Studies, vol. XXIV, Nov. 1, Winter/Spring 1998

PLAY VIDEO

ADVANCED EDUCATION SYSTEMS  UAE: +971 42 42 3896 / +971 58 633 5225  info@a-edtech.com www.phantom2.com www.aes-edtech.com


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EdTech

VERONICA ANDRINO:

TURNING VISION INTO VALUE

VERONICA ANDRINO, FOUNDER AND GUIDING LIGHT BEHIND UNIFINITY, HAS A MISSION - TO ENHANCE THE CURRENT EDUCATION SYSTEM WITH BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY, AND IN DOING SO COMBINE IN ONE PLACE EVERYTHING A SCHOOL NEEDS TO MONITOR STUDENTS’ ATTENDANCE AND PERFORMANCE, SUPPORTING THE TRANSITION FROM TRADITIONAL TO DIGITAL SCHOOLING.

“Unifinity will use blockchain technology’s disruptive potential to build a decentralised application that will assist and enhance the current education ecosystem and support the transition from traditional to digital schooling,” Veronica explains. Veronica first announced Unifinity to the world in October 2019 at Robolution, held at the University of Makati in the Philippines. Since then, she has continued to evolve the platform, developing a broad array of services that will revolutionise the education sector. This includes creating a rewards platform that will use blockchain technology to incentivize young people to pursue their studies, help universities to organise their student filing system, and provide students with reliable certification of academic achievement. “The intention is to make studying genuinely enjoyable for students while also assisting the school or university in providing incentives based on students’ classroom performance. This is

done by tokenizing their grades and rewarding them for their achievements,” says Veronica. “This rewards system, known as the Unifinity Performance-Based Distribution Platform, will even allow students to fund their own education!” Veronica’s career began as an entrepreneur, and it has evolved over the past several years into the creation of Unifinity. She works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and her dedication to her profession serves as an inspiration to entrepreneurs all around the world. Veronica’s success comes as no surprise to those who know her. She is tenacious and dedicated to her dreams and ambitions. Her professional development and accomplishments are simply extraordinary. To find out more, or to speak to Veronica, get in touch – she’s busy, but never too busy to share her dreams, knowledge, and passion for education!

UNIFINITY  +356 7909 6898  support@unifinity.eu facebook @Unifinityph linkedin @unifinity twitter @unifinity_io youtube @unifinity ioa www.unifinity.eu


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 VERONICA ANDRINO, FOUNDER, UNIFINITY


58 The New Normal

THE RISE OF ONLINE EDUCATION: PEARSON ONLINE ACADEMY EXPLORING THE PHENOMENON The practice of online schooling or remote instruction upended the foundation of traditional education at the beginning of 2020. As parents and students were forced to stay home due to the pandemic, they had the opportunity to help their children learn from home during a time of uncertainty in academia. Since then, online education, a relatively new phenomenon in the history of education, has become an integral part and positively shifted parents’ attitudes toward online schooling. The trend has been experiencing a steady growth rate of 2% to 8% every year.

The movement of homeschooling began in the 1970s as an alternative educational option to brick-and-mortar schools but was not practised on a large scale. However, today there is an increased understanding of, and appreciation for, the flexibility of online education and the benefits it offers such as personalised learning and the fact that learning can take place almost anywhere and is no longer confined to the four walls of a classroom. Since the onset of the pandemic, education boards and school leaders, focused on getting schools back to a pre-pandemic normal, now find their main aim is on creating safe learning environments that meet the needs of their pupils and families in the K-12 system. Pearson’s Global Learner Survey 2020, revealed that post the unexpected shift to online education during the pandemic, 88% of learners globally agreed that online learning will be a permanent part of primary, secondary, and higher education moving forward. Additionally, a considerable share of faculty worldwide has shown willingness to support less traditional education models and rely more on digital platforms.

Jo Vigneron, Principal, Pearson Online Academy

Pearson Online Academy (POA) UK Global, offering International GCSEs and A levels opened its virtual doors to its founding students in September of this year. In doing so it marked a significant shift in online education, for this is, in essence, the closest one gets to a brick-and-mortar school but without the constraints of a physical environment. The school transcends borders and time zones, enabling students around the globe to access learning, converse and collaborate in a world without borders. A main aim for POA is to enable students worldwide to achieve a well-rounded education that facilitates the growth of academic excellence, creativity and emotional well-being through affordable, high-quality online education. Our high-quality British curriculum, offering International GCSEs and A levels, gives students the flexibility to focus on their interests and learn from anywhere in the world whilst also meeting rigorous university entrance requirements. Some of the benefits of enrolling a child in a private online school include: ONLINE LEARNING Online learning offers benefits that traditional learning does not. These benefits include freedom from the confines of time and space enabling our students to travel and pursue their passions whilst not compromising on high-quality education. The use of innovative learning tools and strategies along with increased personal interaction with instructors builds strong relationships and the confidence to ask questions, take risks and accelerate learning. In the longer run, web-based learning is also beneficial to meet the needs of learners and promote life-long learning.

FLIPPED CLASSROOM MODEL The flipped classroom is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space. This results in the group space being transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator becomes the facilitator of learning, guiding students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter. The four pillars of a F-L-I-P learning model include a flexible environment, learning culture, intentional content and professional educator. In this model, students finish the lower level of cognitive work before class allowing them to engage in higher cognitive levels of learning with peers and teachers present during their’ Live Lessons’. This model facilitates the development of critical and creative thinking skills alongside the ability to communicate particulately, preparing students well for adult life. Underpinning our ‘Live Lessons’ at Pearson Online Academy is our technology and our platform Pearson Connexus which hosts the students’ asynchronous study materials and facilitates the flipped learning model. Students work on the platform is closely monitored by their teachers enabling teachers to access their progress and plan lessons that meet the needs of every student at the exact point required to ensure maximum progress. FUTURE SKILLS Our students are growing in a world filled with, evermore, technological advancements and the world of work is transforming into spaces we do not yet know. In order to thrive, they need to become adept problem solvers, creators and lateral thinkers able to adapt to and manage change at speed. The online classroom is a natural environment in which these skills flourish. Unhindered by walls and time zones learning and exchange of ideas flourish and our students thrive in this environment. Maths, science and literacy are often the main focus of the traditional school curriculum, with the more creative and sporting elements taking second


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Online learning has become irreversibly integrated into modern education place. However, in today’s world where machines are programmed to do many human jobs our young people of today will find themselves with increased leisure time and the need to pro-actively connect with others. It is, therefore, of vital importance, that we nurture soft skills; kindness, compassion and empathy in our children and encourage their natural

the extension for those who are flying through the curriculum whilst simultaneously closing gaps in knowledge or correcting misconceptions for those at a different stage of their learning journey. Two key features, of Pearson Online Academy’s success in personalising learning, are our ‘Teacher Connect’ and ‘The Hub’.

Although very new, Pearson Online Academy has already defined its identity as one based on kindness, in which to care for and support others is paramount. This ethos is manifested in all aspects of daily school life. The values of compassion, integrity and perseverance run deep in all that we do and our pupils actively demonstrate these traits on a daily basis.

Our Teacher Connect system allows students to directly book sessions of 15 minutes or more with their teachers, and vice versa, at the touch of a button. This access, enabling quick and targeted intervention and immediate support, ensures students receive the individualised attention needed for no student to be left behind and that those raring for extension are pushed and challenged to achieve their very best.

TEACHER-STUDENT INTERACTIONS Our teachers, at Pearson Online Academy, prioritise building positive relationships and facilitating respectful interactions with their students and, in doing so, they create healthy and happy classroom environments that help learning and meet students’ developmental, emotional and educational needs. It is the success of these relationships, alongside the meticulous planning and provision of personalised and detailed support, for students, that ensures

Additionally, ‘The Hub’ offers students the opportunity to Collaborate, Communicate and Concentrate in a shared space, much the same as the traditional Common Room. They can meet in groups to socialise together, work quietly in a shared space and collaborate on projects and homework. Furthermore, we have tutor groups, assemblies and a broad and varied co-curricular programme that

allows our students to engage with one another academically and share specific interests. Online learning has become irreversibly integrated into modern education and there is no doubt that web-based education will continue to expand in depth and breadth. Institutions offering online education, undoubtedly, have a competitive edge over comparable institutions lacking online curriculum. These are exciting times resulting in new and innovative ways of learning, bridging the digital divide and acting as a catalyst for innovation and digitisation in education systems around the globe. As the world’s leading learning company, the purpose of Pearson seems more relevant than ever. Leading the way, as the world’s pre-eminent and digital-first company, focused on spearheading the rise in online and digital learning, and meeting the growing demand for dependable accreditation and certification this is a school to watch closely.

PEARSON ONLINE ACADEMY  1-888-260-4159 facebook @PearsonOnlineAcademy www.pearsononlineacademy.com


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The New Normal

FOSTERING A LOVE OF READING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE DURING HOLIDAYS

Dr Sarah McGeown is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on children’s and adolescents’ reading development, more specifically understanding what motivates them to read, and how to encourage more children and young people to choose to read in school and at home.

Dr Sarah McGeown, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh

Promoting book reading and encouraging young people to read for pleasure is crucial as schools ease back into normality and students, teachers and parents prepare for the school holiday break. While the benefits of books for developing reading and language skills are well documented, books offer so much more for young people during these challenging times, and although many schools have been experiencing the ‘new’ normality for quite some time, due to the previous challenging year, many have a lot of catching up to do, and school holidays are the ideal time to do so.

Books introduce young people to new concepts and ideas; they can immerse them in fictional worlds, and evoke a whole range of emotions. Books also have the potential to develop and challenge thinking, improve empathy skills, perspective taking and social abilities. In our own research with young people we have found that books offer students an opportunity to relax, feel calm, laugh, and experience escapism - all increasingly important during the pandemic and the well-document impact it’s having on mental health. Furthermore, books allow opportunities


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for students to pursue their interests and learn new things. Each book offers young people a new and unique experience; finding ways to promote and encourage more book reading among young people is essential for both learning and wellbeing. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT NOW? It is important to recognise that with schools having closed and online schooling having taken place, many students may be struggling and not receive the same quality of work and learning.

benefits, many teachers often find they struggle to develop a love of book reading among young people. Some who arrive at secondary school have never developed the habit of regular reading, while others have sadly lost it. While some young people report that they simply don’t enjoy reading books, this can stem from poor perceptions of themselves as readers or the absence of positive experiences with books. So how can schools, teachers and families encourage positive reading habits among more young people at this time? CHOICE IS IMPORTANT Research stresses the importance of student choice; therefore it’s important that students have access to a diverse range of books to ensure they can find something that aligns with their reading interests and abilities. However, it is important to appreciate that less experienced readers may need more support to make good reading choices (i.e., those that align with their interests and abilities). For some schools, providing access may be a challenge as pupils at home may not have access to the library, but there are ways to remedy this. Digital books can offer a solution for some. For example, Edtech provider Renaissance Learning, provide a digital library myON, with over 7,000 digitally enhanced books for pupils to access online. Alternatively, many schools have successfully run library ‘pop-ups’ and exchange programmes in a Covid friendly way. You could also use current booklists and reports such as What Kids Are Reading to understand what young people are reading and find out more about these books to see if they can be offered in school or online. SET ASIDE QUALITY TIME FOR READING Regardless of the age or stage of the student, implementing a regular time for young people to read for pleasure each day is important, and this practice can begin even while schools remain closed. At secondary school, pupils have to juggle a range of subjects but this also offers the chance for them to explore a range of different texts, genres and topics that are related to their subject areas.

Indeed, times of change and uncertainty can be incredibly unsettling, but they also offer an opportunity to reflect on our current habits and practices and think about positive changes that we would like to make. Focusing on improving young people’s relationships with books has both learning and wellbeing benefits. However, we need to connect young people with books that really resonate with them, and align with their interests and abilities. Despite the wide range of

ACCESS BOOKS IN DIFFERENT WAYS While many of us are concerned about the increasing amount of time that young people are spending on screens, there are many brilliant digital books online for them to access. Digital books offer the same benefits as physical books and can support young people’s language and literacy development. Alternatively, audiobooks can be an excellent way for young people to relax with a book and may be particularly effective at encouraging less frequent readers. Audiobooks don’t put pressure on a young person to read themselves; they simply get to enjoy the book and all the rich experiences that come with it. MAKE IT SOCIAL Reading doesn’t always have to be a solitary activity, and while there are possibly more opportunities for discussions about reading in school, discussions can also take place during school holidays. Ways to make reading more social include supporting a student-led book club. This gives students an opportunity to chat about and recommend books to each other, which would work well for those in all year groups. Students should be given an opportunity to decide on the books to discuss, and teachers or librarians can join and lead the discussion, but only if necessary. Regular meetings at a weekly book club with peers allows students to enjoy reading as part of a wider social activity, connect with their friends, and share their own thoughts and experiences of different books. Furthermore, book clubs may also encourage young people to expand the genres they read. In fact, it is now more important than ever that parents and teachers foster independent reading. For parents who are short on time and juggling numerous responsibilities from work to caring duties, supporting students with their remote learning can be an additional pressure. Developing independent and interested young readers who have access to books and other text types is so important. Doing so provides an opportunity for pupils to self-learn, taking the pressure off parents and setting up pupils with good habits when they return to secondary school.

Encouraging regular reading now can be a good way to develop positive reading habits, which can be maintained when schools re-open, with time put aside each week for pupils to read for pleasure. This could even form part of the school’s wellbeing strategy where pupils are encouraged to focus on themselves and find a book that really resonates with them.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS RESEARCH AND FURTHER ADVICE ON ENCOURAGING READING ENJOYMENT PLEASE VISIT WWW.RENLEARN.CO.UK/READING-ENJOYMENT WHERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FULL GUIDE.


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The New Normal

COMPOSING THE NEXT 50: How Educators Can Deliver Learning Experiences That Matter THE INSTITUTIONS THAT COMMIT TO DELIVERING GREAT EXPERIENCES WILL BE THE ONES TO SUCCEED IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS, WRITES AVAYA’S ASSAAD YAZBECK.

The answer is simple: Institutions should compose learning experiences that matter. The education industry is being disrupted digitally; while many parents haven’t necessarily enjoyed the move, the past two years have provided incontrovertible evidence that education can be delivered digitally. And we are now at the stage where we can believe that educating doesn’t need to be tied to a physical space like a campus or traditional classroom.

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The big opportunity is harnessing that opportunity to compose better learning and teaching experiences.

How should UAE educators respond so that they can not only address the needs of students today but future-proof themselves for the next 50 years? After all, the education industry is key to the country’s stated aim of becoming the best country in the world by 2071.

Even before the pandemic, a student’s ability to access educational material online had fundamentally expanded their ability to acquire knowledge in ways we couldn’t imagine before. Today, with knowledge transfer no longer bound by geography, the industry is having to work quickly and adapt to new models that take advantage of the best parts of online and offline models. Deploying the right technology mix is crucial here.

ith the forced acceleration of digital transformation that we’ve seen over the last 18 months, the way the next generation of students is being educated has changed dramatically.

Assaad Yazbeck, Senior Account Manager, Avaya

The focus should be on empowering educators to deliver their knowledge effectively and for students to access that knowledge easily. From a technology point of view, this means leveraging composable platforms that can easily integrate student information and learning management systems, while enabling face-toface video calls at the click of a button. Think of simple building blocks that enable you to ‘compose’ what you need, right away, with little deployment time, and you’re pretty much there.

Deploying the right technology mix is crucial At the same time, these systems have to keep data safe both online and offline. Course materials should be developed around the student and their needs, taking into account that the mode of education could be remote, in-person, or hybrid. And learning platforms should be accessible enough that students are given the same level of experience, regardless of the devices they have available to them. Indeed, composing great experiences will attract the best teachers, put out the best students, and get the best results. Those institutions that commit to delivering great experiences will be the ones to succeed in the next 50 years.

AVAYA  +971 4 404 8100  nelatassi@avaya.com instagram @avayainc facebook @avaya linkedin @avaya twitter @avaya_uk youtube @avaya www.avaya.com


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Course materials should be developed around the student and their needs


64 Cover story


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ALEF EDUCATION AWARD CELEBRATES 71 WINNERS FROM UAE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ALEF EDUCATION RECOGNISED AND CELEBRATED 71 DISTINGUISHED WINNERS FROM THE UAE PUBLIC SECTOR SCHOOLS FOR EXCELLENCE IN DIGITAL TEACHING AND LEARNING PRACTICES AT THE SECOND ANNUAL ALEF EDUCATION AWARD. HELD AT DUBAI EXHIBITION CENTRE, EXPO 2020 DUBAI, THE ALEF EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS ACROSS EIGHT CATEGORIES WERE WITH CASH PRIZES TOTALLING MORE THAN AED 1 MILLION.


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Cover story

150,000+ students using the Alef Platform

PLAY VIDEO

The Alef Education Award aims to achieve four objectives – motivate teachers, administrators, students and parents from the UAE’s government schools to excel and innovate in the implementation of digital learning via the award-winning, AI-powered Alef Platform; provide a constructive and encouraging educational environment for the students; improve digital citizenship skills and e-community awareness during the distance learning process; and strengthen the culture of digital learning among teachers, students and administrators of public schools in support of the UAE’s vision for the next fifty years. Geoffrey Alphonso, Chief Executive Officer, Alef Education, said: “The UAE has always been at the forefront of embracing innovative technologies, and our gathering today to celebrate excellence in the digital education sector is a clear testament of that. Working alongside the UAE’s education authorities, Alef Education is proud to enable over 150,000 students from 400+ public schools in the UAE to have the best digital education. Through the Alef Education Award, we want to recognise the real trailblazers of our education community that have excelled in digital education delivered through the Alef Platform in the past year.” Dr Aishah Al Yammahi, Board Advisor, Alef Education, stated: “As the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee, we’re proud to reward outstanding schools, educators, students, and parents for excelling in digital teaching and learning practices at the Alef Education Award 2021. Since our inception in 2015, Alef Education has leveraged technologies like AI and Big Data to transform the UAE’s education ecosystem, improving learning outcomes and enabling students to gain crucial skills for their future careers.” “I’m also pleased to announce that Alef Education Award will be going global in its next edition. Alef Education is a UAE-based company that has expanded recently to serve education communities in the United States, Indonesia, and others,” added Dr Yammahi.

450+ schools powered by Alef 2M+ platform questions answered per day


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Alef Education Award rewarded 71 winners across eight categories with cash prizes totalling more than AED 1 million Mohammed Aldhaheri, Grade 7, Al Hemma – Al Ain; Fatema Ali Al Eed Al Sweidan, Grade 8, Al Shawamekh – Abu Dhabi; Mohammed Ahmad Alomari, Grade 9, Abu Dhabi Secondary; Omar MoustafaKabbouli, Grade 10, Khalifah Bin Zayed – Abu Dhabi; and Abdulrahman Rashed Alkuwaiti, Grade 11, Abdul Qader Al Jazaeri – Abu Dhabi. The Alef Education Award was first launched in 2020, when the importance of digital learning gained prominence in the UAE and the rest of the world amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, 67 winners were awarded across six categories.

“Alef Education is proud to enable over 150,000 students from 400+ public schools in the UAE to have the best digital education.”

Three winners were chosen from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain under the Distinguished Alef Cluster Leader category, with Ayesha Mohamed Alzaabi bagging the Golden prize. Three awards were also given under the “Distinguished Alef School Leader” category to winners from Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Al Ain. The Gold award went to Sheikha Abdullah Alqaydi. In the Distinguished Alef Teacher category, the awards were given to winners from Sharjah, Al Dhafra, and Al Ain, with Nourah Mohamed Alyileili from Aishah Bint Othman School receiving the Golden prize. Ahmed Hassan Almansoori was felicitated as the Leading Figure in Society. He is well-known for raising awareness of digital learning and innovation through initiatives related to Alef and contributing to the dissemination of educational content on the Instagram account ‘meeshwar’ that takes you on a journey of self-development.

There were eight main categories under the Alef Education Award for schools, teachers, students, and parents, including Alef Distinguished Student, Alef Most Improved Student, Alef Special Learning Needs/People of Determination Students, Alef Distinguished Teacher, Alef Distinguished School Leader, Alef Distinguished Cluster, Alef Most Engaged Parent, and Leading Figure in the Society. In total, 52 UAE public school students from grades 5-11 received awards, of which ten students were awarded in the Alef Special Learning Needs/People of Determination category while 21 students bagged prizes in the Alef Most Improved Student category. Under the Alef Distinguished Student category, 21 winners were announced. The following students received first place in their respective grades: Mohammed Tareq Salem, Grade 5, Obadah Bin Al Samet – Abu Dhabi, Amina Ahmed Abo Maash, Grade 6, Al Zawraa 1 Girls – Ajman; Hind

PLAY VIDEO ARBOR SCHOOL  +971 2 204 0100  ask@alefeducation.com facebook @AlefEducation instagram @AlefEducation linkedin @alefeducation twitter @AlefEducation youtube @alefeducation www.alefeducation.com


68 Sports

“WE WANT TO INSPIRE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF THEMSELVES”


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THE ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL GUILDFORD DUBAI HOSTS A ONE-OF-AKIND RUGBY EXPERIENCE Passionate about promoting pupil development through sport, The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai hosted a once-in-a-lifetime meet and train rugby experience with one of the world’s best Rugby Sevens Team and Olympic Gold medallists, Fiji. 120 pupils from Year 2 to Year 6 enrolled at Dubai-based Cognita Schools, which include RGS Guildford Dubai, Horizon English School and Ranches Primary School, had the chance to take part in an exciting academy coaching session with the famous team, as well as a meet and greet with the team’s star players, including Olympic Gold medallist, Osea Kolinisau. The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai’s Head of Sport, James Bennett said: “We want to inspire our young people to be the best version of themselves and we truly believe that we can do this through sport. Providing them with amazing experiences like today is our promise to them of delivering the best sporting opportunities. It has been a brilliant day seeing our pupils out on the field with these respected sportsmen.”


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Sports

DITCH THE DESKS AND LEARN ON THE MOVE IN A BID TO IMPROVE KIDS’ LONG-TERM HEALTH JON SMEDLEY FROM TEACH ACTIVE OFFERS SOME FRESH IDEAS TO HELP TEACHERS IN THE UAE INCORPORATE MORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO THE SCHOOL DAY.


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esearch carried out by New York University Abu Dhabi and Zayed University found that 82% of children in the UAE fail to meet the one-hour daily exercise target. According to another study, this figure is higher and a whopping 84% of UAE children aren’t getting the bare minimum of an hour’s physical activity a day. Many schools will be searching for ways to encourage their pupils to get at least 60 minutes of sport or activity every day, in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines. So how can they address this issue? One approach might be to make lessons more physically active. The good news is, there are some very simple ways to do this. A NEW TAKE ON LITERACY How about changing the way pupils learn English? You could ask the children to stand in a circle, each with a different word on the ground in front of them. They then take turns to throw a ball and form a sentence using the word in front of the child who catches it, helping to develop their vocabulary. Introducing chair aerobics, where pupils do shoulder rolls, knee taps and finger scrunching at their desks, helps to strengthen the arm and hand muscles they need in handwriting. There are plenty of ways to make maths lessons more active too.

SCHOOLS THAT HAVE INTRODUCED THESE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES INTO THEIR LESSON PLANS HAVE SEEN THE POSITIVE DIFFERENCE THEY CAN MAKE TO CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING

JUMPING JACK MATHS Rather than asking the children to sit inside writing or calling out the answers to maths questions, get them out into the playground where they can have fun, get some exercise and learn at the same time. How about an imaginary table tennis match? Split the pupils into pairs and ask them to choose a card with an instruction on it – count up to 200 in fives or recite the three times table backwards. They then take turns to shout out the answers while pretending to hit a fast-moving

“ACTIVE LEARNING CHANGES THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LEARNING AS CHILDREN FORGET THAT IT’S ENGLISH OR MATHS” imaginary ball across the table to their partner, using their palm as the bat. Another option might be to set up a relay race where pupils in teams compete by running to the other end of the playground to collect different number statements. This could be a multiplication or division question – ‘what is 15 divided by 3?’ – or a simple maths problem they need to solve. They then race back to their teammates to answer the question before anyone else, and then it’s the next child’s turn. Schools that have introduced these kinds of activities into their lesson plans have seen the positive difference they can make to children’s health and wellbeing and the enjoyment they get from learning in this way. SEEING THE BENEFITS OF ACTIVE LEARNING Holy Family Catholic School is targeting inactivity by giving children the chance to be physically active in maths and English lessons. The

school uses Teach Active, an online tool I originally had the idea for when I was a primary teacher trying to encourage a reluctant learner to engage in maths lessons. The online tool provides active lesson ideas to teachers so they can deliver primary maths and English lessons through a range of physical activities. Steve Tindall, the headteacher at Holy Family Catholic School, is a firm believer in active learning to help improve wellbeing. “Active learning changes the psychology of learning as children forget that it’s English or maths. They are just learning while they run around having fun with their friends.” The impact on children’s enjoyment of the subject is palpable too. The school first began using active learning techniques in maths and the results prompted them to introduce the techniques into English. “Maths used to be our pupils’ ninth favourite subject, but since we introduced active learning in lessons, it had risen up the ranks to take third place after art and PE. We’re delighted about that.” Emma Marshall, a specialist subject lead for PE at Colmore Junior School, is also a convert to active learning techniques: “By introducing more physical activity, such as scavenger hunts to find solutions to a range of maths problems hidden around the school, we have found that children enjoy the activities far more, whilst still learning.” Bringing movement and fun into everyday lessons will encourage children to keep fit and develop new skills. By creating a happy and lively learning environment, lessons will be every bit as fun as playtime and pupils will be learning more than ever.

LINKS: 50 FREE ACTIVE LESSON PLANS ARE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.TEACHACTIVE.ORG


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Sports

NEW SPORTS CENTRE IN SHARJAH FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS First Sports Centre, Sharjah’s newest indoor sports court, has now opened on the third level of Safeer Mall. The centre, which is located by the Dubai-Sharjah highway and offers ample parking space, is a part of Al Safeer Group of Companies. The new 38,000ft2 playing area includes multiple indoor courts for badminton, cricket, football and table tennis. It has a multipurpose court for basketball, volleyball and gully cricket, along with a 10-lane badminton court and five-a-side football court, carrom, chess and foosball. First Sports Centre offers coaching for ages four and over, as well as adults, with a line-up of well-trained professionals and a highly experienced administrative team. It provides well-maintained changing rooms too, along with lockers, and operates from 6.00 am to midnight, keeping all Covid-19 protocols in check. The centre aims to be a space for people to get back in touch with their athletic side, and offers court booking on an hourly, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Booking for corporate, events and competitions is also available. EMAIL: BOOKING@FIRSTSPORTSCENTER.COM

THE NEW 38,000FT2 PLAYING AREA INCLUDES MULTIPLE INDOOR COURTS FOR BADMINTON, CRICKET, FOOTBALL AND TABLE TENNIS


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74 Our World

PARTNERSHIP TO ENGAGE WITH UAE STUDENTS TO HELP SOLVE THE GLOBAL WATER CRISIS WATER ALLIANCE, THE ONLY LOCAL NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION REGISTERED IN DUBAI FOCUSED SOLELY ON RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT THE VALUE OF WATER, HAS TODAY ANNOUNCED ITS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PRESTIGIOUS STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL WATER INSTITUTE (SIWI).

Cecila Braidy, Deputy Director of Water Alliance UAE

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ater Alliance has been appointed as the 40th National Country Organiser to the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) held every year for high school students around the world. The SJWP was started in 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to complement the Stockholm Water Prize, and it is the world’s most prestigious award presented to a high school student for a water project. The second edition of RE-NEW Our World, a Student Water Innovation Challenge organised by Water Alliance will become the gateway for high students across the UAE to enter their innovative solutions, have the chance to win the national challenge and represent the UAE at the international final of the distinguished Stockholm Junior Water Prize held in Sweden.

The RE-NEW Challenge aims to inspire young students from the ages of 8 to 18, to ideate solutions that will tackle the global water crisis to positively contribute towards the environment and communities across the world. Primary and Secondary school students are invited to submit an innovative product, solution, or service targeted towards any aspect of the global water crisis from water access, water pollution, to water availability. Registrations run until 31 January 2022, and with the support of Water Alliance’s corporate and knowledge partners, participating students will have the opportunity to attend a series of eyeopening, inspiring webinars. Finalists will be mentored by industry leaders to help them submit their best possible final entries to the national judging panel.


75 further the impact of our initiative in its second year. Our aim is to help cultivate a generation of young innovators who care about the world’s natural resources, feel responsible for safeguarding them and practice sustainable habits to preserve them – something we are committed to doing by connecting and empowering like-minded individuals to share ideas on how to better manage our precious water resources.”

Winners of the RE-NEW Challenge across all age categories will be revealed at the USA Pavilion, Expo 2020, with Platinum Partner Xylem and other local and international partners on Tuesday the 22 March 2022 to mark World Water Day. By offering local students an international voice, Water Alliance is further strengthening its platform to encourage young minds to come together and share passionate values towards saving our local and global water resources. Cecilia Braidy, Deputy Director of Water Alliance UAE said: “We are delighted to partner with SIWI to bring the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) right to the doorstep of our local talent here in the UAE. Off the back of a very successful first year of the RE-NEW challenge, we’re over the moon to be partnering with SIWI, an internationally renowned organisation, to

The Stockholm Junior Water Price is delivered by independent national organisers, with support from SIWI. Tens of thousands of students from around the world participate each year and everyone who makes it to the final is already a winner, having won their national competition. The international finals are held in Stockholm in August and the international winner receives a $15,000 award and a trophy, which is presented by the Prize’s Patron, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Ania Andersch, Senior Manager, Stockholm Junior Water Prize, SIWI said: “We are excited to have Water Alliance on board as our first and only partner from the Arabian Peninsula. Collaborations like these will continue to expand our global footprint and encourage more and more countries to take part. With the UAE, in particular, being such a cultural melting pot of ideas and innovation – we’re very much looking forward to welcoming the winner of the RENEW Challenge to our upcoming event.”

Water Alliance becomes first NGO from the Arabian Peninsula to partner with the Stockholm International Water Institute

The international finals are held in Stockholm in August and the international winner receives a $15,000 award and a trophy The RE-NEW Challenge is open to both public and private school students aged 8 -18 from across the seven emirates. To register your interest in participating in the RE-NEW Challenge 2021-2022, kindly visit: www.wateralliance. org/2022-re-new-our-world-studentwater-innovation-challenge/

WATER ALLIANCE  +971 50 450 5428  info@wateralliance.org facebook @waterallianceuae instagram @waterallianceuae twitter @waterallianceAE www.wateralliance.org


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Our World

Dreaming of a ‘Green’ Christmas

DUBAI’S ONLY IN-DOOR RAINFOREST, THE GREEN PLANET HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL BE A VERY MERRY (AND SUSTAINABLE) CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR AT THE TROPICAL INDOOR ECO-SYSTEM, LOCATED IN CITY WALK DUBAI.

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s the season of giving, The Green Planet is encouraging residents and visitors to give back to the environment this Christmas. To mark the occasion, explorers will be gifted their very own Plant seeds when visiting The Green Planet. The special seeds will allow nature-enthusiasts to plant their own piece of nature at home. The Green Planet is also challenging explorers across the UAE to create their own recyclable wreaths. Between 13 - 31 December, The Green Planet will be welcoming recyclable wreathes from far and wide to transform the indoor rainforest into a festive paradise. What’s more, all explorers who create their own sustainable wreaths will enter a special draw to select one lucky explorer who will win ‘A Zookeeper for The Day’ experience for four people at The Green Planet. The Green Planet’s famous Thunderstorm shows which take place daily at 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm will also have a festive twist throughout December. As well as including an education message to all, the daily shows will now include some very special Christmas carols for all to sing and dance to (people and animals alike).

To complete the festive period at The Green Planet, the café will be transformed into a winter wonderland with several large Christmas trees located throughout the rainforest, all of which will be made out of recyclable materials including plastic bottles, cardboard and cans.

THE GREEN PLANET IS ENCOURAGING RESIDENTS AND VISITORS TO GIVE BACK TO THE ENVIRONMENT THIS CHRISTMAS


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THE DAILY SHOWS WILL NOW INCLUDE SOME VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE GREEN PLANET AND TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS, PLEASE VISIT: WWW. THEGREENPLANETDUBAI.COM/EN

THE GREEN PLANET  800 7699 facebook @TheGreenPlanetDubai youtube @The Green Planet Dubai www.thegreenplanetdubai.com


78 Parents Corner

WHO ARE MOBILE GAMERS IN THE UAE AND HOW DO THEY SPEND THEIR TIME? It is no secret that mobile games are indispensable in our daily lives. That stereotypical perception of mobile gamers being all males who are sitting in front of their big screens has already changed, and now we all know that we are all mobile gamers. Whether we are travelling, taking a break from work, resting, watching TV, or listening to music, mobile games are our biggest and most accessible entertainment and relaxation, and are part of the daily routine for billions worldwide. Especially with what world has been going through, people are spending more time on their smartphones and specifically, on mobile games. Of course, users’ approach to the game genres, time spent, moods and perception differs according to their tastes and preferences. To deeply understand who the UAE mobile gamers are and how they spend their time, AdColony conducted some detailed research. Let’s dig deeper into the behaviours, moods, and preferences of mobile gamers in UAE to better understand them and give a hint to the brands and advertisers on how to capture their target audience through the power of mobile games. 77% of the adults are playing mobile games in UAE while 73% of them are males. Mobile games are just for kids is a perception that is not relevant because 53% of the respondents are aged 30 to 49. 38% of the respondents spend more than 10 hours a week playing mobile games while 48% of them state that they play mobile games at least two to three times per day. Even if device preferences change from person to person while playing games, there is an undeniable fact that our mobile devices are always with us, in our pockets, in our bags, making them indispensable. 53% of the respondents play mobile games on their smartphones/tablets daily, while 33% of them play multiple times a week. While personal taste differs in every area of our lives, the most loved game genre of users in UAE are Shooter games with 56%, followed by Action/Adventure with 55%, and Sports games with 48%. 22% of the respondents have two games on their phones while 28% of the respondents have three games. No one can deny that we are living a stressful life and we are all looking for a fun escape. That is where mobile games are stepping in. They make us forget our problems, at least during the session time. 62% of the respondents in UAE state that they are playing mobile games because

it makes them relax and relieves their stress. 59% of them are playing mobile games because they find it entertaining and fun. 52% and 40% of the respondents are feeling very good and good respectively while playing mobile games. It is no secret that while we are doing other activities we are playing mobile games. 53% of the respondents state that they are simultaneously watching TV while they are playing mobile games, followed by listening to music with 50%, surfing through social media with 48%, and watching/streaming movies or series with 42%. We can all agree that TVs and smartphones switched places when talking about the second screen. 76% of the respondents in UAE state that they are not just playing mobile games during commercial breaks but playing while watching the programmes on TV.

Mobile games also became the mainstream platform for brands and advertisers who want to capture their target and possible audiences’ attention. To expand new horizons and possibly new customers, brands need to arrange their media spending in accordance popular pastimes. With a lot of different mobile ad models, rewarded advertising where the gamers watch the ad to gain life, coins, or any free in-game material is very important. 28% of the respondents don’t spend money on mobile games while 68% of them prefer to watch rewarded ads for getting advancements rather than paying money. 84% of UAE gamers like rewarded ads much more than traditional video ads which don’t have any rewards.


38%

of the respondents spend more than 10 hours a week playing mobile games

53%

of the respondents play mobile games on their smartphones/ tablets daily

76%

of the respondents in UAE state that they are not just playing mobile games during commercial breaks but playing while watching the programmes on TV

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Parents Corner

BITESIZE LEONARDO DA VINCI Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, more commonly known as Leonardo da Vinci, was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. What do we know about Leonardo’s early life? Beyond reading, writing and mathematics, Leonardo was home-schooled and lacked formal education in Latin and Greek. His father, a wealthy man, married four times, and, in all, Leonardo had 17 siblings and half-siblings. Interestingly, his father never married his biological mother. Thus, he was an illegitimate child. From an early age, Leonardo despised the confinement of animals and birds. He would buy caged animals solely to release them. In addition, he was a staunch vegetarian. Leonardo, the artist While learning painting from his teacher, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo was asked to draw an angel. His drawing was of such high quality that del Verrocchio decided never to paint again.

 Leonardo’s earliest work is a pen and ink drawing of the Arno valley, created on 5 August 1473.  Many experts consider the lady with the enigmatic smile in one of his most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa, to be Lisa del Gioconda, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant.  It is said that it took him about 10 years just to paint the Mona Lisa’s lips. Leonardo did not finish his first commissioned painting, The Adoration of the Magi, for Florence’s San Donato, a Scopeto monastery. Instead, he left for Milan to work as an engineer, architect, sculptor and painter for the ruling Sforza dynasty. LEONARDO, THE INVENTOR Leonardo was way ahead of his time. In his journals, one can find notes about modern inventions, including a helicopter, calculator,


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solar power, and the beginnings of the theory of plate tectonics. He designed the first-ever bicycle, too, almost 300 years before it appeared on the road, and the first parachute. The latter design was put to the test in 2000 when the South African skydiver Adrian Nicholas made use of it. And did you ever wonder why the sky is blue? Leonardo was the first person in history to come up with the answer - a clear, cloudless daytime sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light.

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself”

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of” LEONARDO ODD FACTS The majority of Leonardo’s work was written from right to left. This resulted in a mirror script that was difficult to read. It may have been because he intended to keep his writing a secret, so he picked this unique writing style, or it could simply be because he was left-handed, and this unusual writing style was easier for him. Leonardo also stole corpses and studied human anatomy by digging up graves at night. And curiously, he loved to wear pink to brighten his complexion.


82 The lounge

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT EMIRATES SKYWARDS MILLIONAIRE? Emirates Skywards, the award-winning loyalty programme of Emirates and flydubai, is offering five lucky members a chance to become Skywards millionaires this Dubai Shopping Festival. For a chance to take home one million Skywards Miles every week, shop at more than 1,300 retail stores, dine at more than 200 restaurants, enjoy unique attractions at The Dubai Mall, or spend with more than 1,300 Skywards Everyday partners– an app that lets members earn Miles on everyday spend.

Emirates Skywards is offering five lucky members a chance to become Skywards millionaires this Dubai Shopping Festival.

BECOME A SKYWARDS MILLIONAIRE THIS DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL To enter the weekly draw, customers will need to spend AED 100 or more at The Dubai Mall or Skywards Everyday partners.* Members can also double their chances of winning by simply spending with Skywards Everyday partners at The Dubai Mall. Every AED 100 spent will qualify as one entry into the draw. The offer is valid on all spends made between 15 December 2021 and 30 January 2022. One winner will be announced every week, starting 3 January 2022. Emirates Skywards Credit Cardholders can also earn additional Skywards Miles with every purchase made,

and one Tier Mile for every four Skywards Miles earned. The offer is applicable on all participating bank partners across the UAE, Kuwait, KSA and US.*

Atlantis, The Palm Rings in 2022 with Robbie Williams Atlantis, The Palm welcomes the legendary and charismatic Robbie Williams for a surprise guest performance at the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner, delighting guests with top hits and fan favourites on the biggest night of the year. Keeping in the tradition of bringing the best performers, spectacles and events to the city, the Guinness World Records™ attempt of breaking the world’s largest drinking glass pyramid will also be on display, showcasing a tower of 55,000 glasses. With Robbie’s performance set to take place in the lead-up to the 2022 countdown, guests can sing along to chart-topping hits like ‘Rock DJ’ and ‘Let me Entertain You’, as well as favourites including ‘Feel’ and ‘Angels’. Only those attending the Gala Dinner can take advantage of seeing the spectacular live appearance from the iconic entertainer followed by one of Dubai’s largest and most stunning firework and pyrotechnic displays, as the skies above The Royal Beach are turned into a riot of colour.

Guests to the Gala Dinner can also witness the magnificent Guinness World Records™ attempt for the world’s largest drinking glass pyramid in partnership with Moët & Chandon. With an aim to beat the previous record of 50,116 glasses, the stunning pyramid will feature 55,000 flutes towering nearly 10 metres tall. In support of Atlantis, The Palm’s sustainability initiative, The Atlantis Atlas Project, all of the glasses are then set to be recycled and transformed into refillable glassware for the 795 room Atlantis The Royal, which is set to open late 2022. With limited tickets now available, prices for the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner start from AED 4,950 for adults and AED 2,950 for children. To book, visit atlantis.com/dubai/whats-on/ new-years-eve.

Members can also earn even more bonus Skywards Miles on tax refunds via the utu Tax-Free app.* For more information, visit emirates.com/skywards. *Terms and conditions apply


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BACK TO SCHOOL: HOW TO KEEP SCHOOL UNIFORMS STAIN AND GERM-FREE Deyan Dimitrov, laundry expert and CEO of Laundryheap, shares his top tips on keeping school uniforms clean and your family safe in the new school year. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEANING AND DISINFECTING Cleaning involves the removal of dirt and germs from the surface of clothing, while disinfecting involves the use of chemicals to avert the spread of viruses or bacteria. WASH AT A HIGH TEMPERATUR WITH A BLEACH PRODUCT To disinfect your laundry, you should wash school uniforms at a high temperature. Powder, liquid or tablet form is fine; as long as it is bleach-based you can be sure of disinfecting the items. AVOID SHAKING LAUNDRY, DRY COMPLETELY You should also avoid shaking your laundry. This could spread particles of the virus through the air and expose other items of clothing to germs. Ideally, dry your clothes thoroughly using a tumble dryer.

Since coronavirus can live on some fabrics for as long as 72 hours, you may want to wash uniforms daily

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BLAZER? Blazers are not easily washed and therefore tend to be cleaned less frequently than other school uniform items. As such, it is advisable to disinfect it with a steam clean. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, a steam-generating iron is a useful alternative. AND THE PE KIT? Sportswear is more exposed to germs than the regular school uniform so avoid wearing PE kits more than once between washes. And don’t forget the trainers, which can be put through the washing machine inside a pillowcase, thus protecting both them and the machine. Leave them stuffed with newspaper inside an airing cupboard to dry out. SCHOOL BAG? School bags are exposed to a range of different surfaces throughout the day. They are also touched regularly and may contain contaminated items inside. As bags are washed less often than clothing, if at all, school bags could carry and spread viruses and bacteria.


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The lounge

Leading Emirati Artist Goes Back to School Even in his hometown of Dubai, many people are unfamiliar with his name. Thousands of people, on the other hand, are instantly familiar with his distinctive artistic style - marker ink drawings framed in square pieces that capture humorous takes on everyday life. Abdulla Lutfi is a young and vibrant Emirati artist who sees and interprets the world in an unusual and original way. Creativity, of course, requires courage, and Abdulla has plenty of that. What’s more, as a person of determination, he believes that his art has a special value to society in that it allows him to convey an often overlooked viewpoint on the world. It was something of a thrill, therefore, when Abdulla returned to his alma mater, Uptown International School, Dubai, from where in graduated in 2010. And it wasn’t just to say “hello”; he led a workshop for the entire Secondary School, creating a piece of art that led to an online presentation to over 600 students, who were then able to follow his guidance to create a piece of art of their own. It was a rousing day for everyone, and another very special occasion for Abdulla, who earlier this year appeared in a video announcing the ‘greatest show on earth’ – Expo 2020. Featured alongside some of the biggest names in the Arab world, such as Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi and American-Lebanese Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Mayssa Karaa, Abdulla was on screen for around 10 seconds where he is shown working on a canvas and walking around the venue, marvelling at the many amazing structures. Well-known for his astonishing memory, attention to detail, and the spontaneity he brings to his work, Abdulla’s art enjoys a permanent space at the DXB Terminal B as part of a diorama that illustrates daily scenes at the busy airport. He has a couple of sold-out solo exhibitions too and has fulfilled several commissions from hotels, banks and retail stores. Moreover, Abdulla has illustrated a children’s colouring book, commissioned by the Embassy of the UAE in Washington D.C., and also gives speed drawing workshops

and demonstrations to schools and other organisations. He is a multi-talented guy even competing in the Special Olympic World Games held in Abu Dhabi, where he picked up a Bronze Medal in Doubles Bowling. Abdulla, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a boy, continues to grow as a person and as a gifted artist. He aspires to raise awareness and promote inclusion of the special needs

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community through his artwork and is an inspirational presence for everyone he comes into contact with. The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. And that is what Abdulla achieves ... with just a splash of humour to brighten the day.

Abdulla’s works enjoy a permanent space at the DXB Terminal


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EXCLUSIVE TUESDAY DISCOUNT FOR TEACHERS AT THAT HAIR THO

We are well into the school year now and teachers are working incredibly hard to keep the kids of Dubai educated and entertained. That Hair Tho (THT) understands the commitment it takes to be a teacher and is eternally grateful for their efforts, which is why it wants OFFERING to celebrate them by offering all teachers in the UAE an ALL TEACHERS exclusive 30% discount IN THE UAE AN every Tuesday. All teachers EXCLUSIVE need to do is present their 30% DISCOUNT unique Teachers’ Card when paying to avail themselves of the 30% discount – that’s it! This is just a small gesture to thank all the amazing teachers for their work and effort, offering them just a little bit of much-needed TLC at an extra-special price.

CAMP UNDER THE STARS AT DUBAI’S COOLEST WATERPARK Booking slots are now available every weekend for ‘Camping Under the Stars’ – Laguna Waterpark’s overnight camp experience is back with a BANG! Spend the most wonderful tme of the year at Laguna Waterpark’s unique 24hour weekend camping experience! Leave your tent at home as Laguna Waterpark’s trusted team brings all the camping necessities directly to you! With an exclusive 10 tents available, which comfortably sleep two or four people, prices start at just AED 700 for two.

For more information or to book now to avoid disappointment, please visit: www.lagunawaterpark.com/en/the-camp

THE MINDFUL TEACHER’S TOOLKIT The Mindful Teacher’s Toolkit provides step-by-step instructions for developing mindful practises, as well as suggestions for how to incorporate them into the classroom. The book provides comprehensive guidance on how to engage with various age groups, ranging from 4 to 18, and examines whole-school approaches through individual subject areas and implementation strategies. All of the exercises are adaptable by language, tone, and subject so that teachers may apply and personalise them into their classroom. They are designed so that you can dip into each chapter. Expert advice, teaching techniques, reflections, exercises, and real-life examples combine to give you everything you need to create your own mindful classroom and contribute to enhancing school community welfare. The authors know their stuff, too. Kevin Hawkins is a speaker, consultant, and teacher trainer. For over 40 years, he has worked with children and adolescents in a variety of settings, including teacher, school principal, and social worker in the UK, Europe and Africa. He has taught students of all ages in both public and private schools, with a focus on holistic development of the full child through combining academic, social, and emotional elements of learning. Co-author, Amy Burke, is an educational consultant who worked as a high school teacher and guidance counsellor in Canada and the Netherlands for 15 years. She graduated from Naropa University with a Master’s Degree in contemplative education and cofounded MindWell in 2012. Amy, a CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education) facilitator, conducts seminars and retreats for educators, students, and parents all over the world, with a focus on selfcare and stress management. The Mindful Teacher’s Toolkit fills a yawning gap in the world’s most important mission – teaching.

And in doing so, it highlights the fact that mindfulness-based well-being, fostered consciously and pursued intentionally, can help students FROM discover additional AED86.17 meaning in their BUY HERE learning. For mindful educators, the Mindful Teacher’s Toolkit is a must-have resource, packed with hard-won insights and practical lesson plans that aim to expand students’ skills in areas such as self-awareness, selfmanagement and relationships. Highly recommended.

Expert advice, teaching techniques, reflections, exercises, and real-life examples combine to give you everything you need to create your own mindful classroom


86 Travel Near

WHY LEGOLAND® DUBAI IS A MUST THIS FESTIVE SEASON Join Festive Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Dubai this holiday season for some festive family fun. From 15 December through 8 January 2022, kids can participate in a variety of activities ranging from making LEGO® decorations, playing LEGO bingo and decorating cupcakes to watching the snow fall and locating LEGO Santa during his surprise visits. At the fantastic new LEGOLAND Countdown to Christmas, all of this is capped off by daily giveaways and presents.

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EGOLAND Dubai began its awesome brand new daily Christmas Countdown from 5 to 25 December in MINILAND. Here, an incredible four-metre high Advent Calendar awaits everyone with presents and gifts worth AED40,000 behind its doors. Every day until Christmas Day, one young winner will get to open one big door of this huge Advent Calendar and will take an awesome LEGO prize home. LEGOLAND Dubai invites families to take part in a wide range of activities, whether taking part in the Christmas LEGO Build, where they

are invited to place their LEGO creations around the festive tree, or simply watching the daily magical elves dance performances. LEGO Santa will also make exclusive appearances every day to greet his young fans. To extend the fun even further, the unique festive LEGO bingo returns this year, where all children can play this game of chance at MINILAND.

Take some festive photos at the 10-metre-high LEGO® DUPLO festive tree

Parents who want to treat their children can enrol them in the daily festive cupcake decorating workshops at ‘The Café’ terrace, where they can express their inner chef and later take their adorned cupcakes home. Moreover, parents longing to mark this unforgettable day can take some festive photos at the 10-metre-high LEGO® DUPLO festive tree or at the one-and-only Santa’s LEGO sleigh, while sipping one of the newly introduced Christmas beverages, whether Peppermint Mocha Christmas Cookie Frappe and Chocolate Raspberry Delight at ‘The Café’ in Factory Street.


87 Throughout the Festive Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Dubai, all young foodies should ensure they do not miss the special ‘Kids Eat for Free’* offer at Caesar’s Pizza & Pasta Buffet, where they can enjoy a wide variety of healthy salads, vegetarian and non-vegetarian pizzas, delicious pasta, lasagne, and unlimited ice cream. Youngsters may also choose their favourite pasta and watch the chef create it in front of them at the ‘cheese wheel.’ For families looking for the perfect Christmas gifts for their youngsters, they don’t need to look any further than The BIG Shop, which is also offering an awesome Early Bird Discount

LEGO bingo returns this year, where all children can play this game of chance at MINILAND

for those early risers to enjoy a 10% discount every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 9:00 am and 9:45 am before the Park opens. Furthermore, guests will receive exclusive wrapping paper complimentary on their purchases from 12 to 31 December. The BIG Shop is the largest LEGO® store in the Middle East, featuring the biggest and most diverse selection of LEGO boxes and novelty items, LEGOLAND souvenirs and personalized LEGO gifts. Upon completing all Bricktacular activities and enjoying a full filled day at LEGOLAND Dubai, a limited-edition festive LEGO Collector’s brick is complimentary for families to collect before heading back home.

To book your ticket Festive Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Dubai visit www.legoland.com/ dubai/explore/legolanddubai/events/festivebricktacular/


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Travel Near

SAADIYAT CELEBRATIONS! Celebrate with loved ones at Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort throughout the festive season with celebrations to surprise and delight, all with a touch of Jumeirah glamour inspired by island life, and then welcome the New Year in with a spectacular fireworks display!

THE FESTIVE SPARKLE MAJLIS MOMENTS Enjoy a Festive Afternoon Tea for two for just AED 338 in celebration of the month of giving, up until 10 January 2022, and the New Year’s Eve Majlis from AED 280. FESTIVE TREATS AT HOME TURKEY ON THE GO 9 December 2021 - 10 January 2022 If you are celebrating this festive season in the comfort of your home, why have the stress of cooking? Get into the joyous spirit with family and friends and let the resort’s master chefs take care of all your festive seasoning with a Turkey on the Go. Start with a festive surprise bread or selection of canapés to compliment your perfectly cooked roast, and then choose from a selection of Honey Glazed SlowRoasted Turkey, Herb Crusted Beef Brisket, or Roast Leg of Lamb from AED 450 – with all of the trimmings! Recommended for 6 – 8 guests SWEET SENSATIONS What’s a festive roast without a fine selection of desserts? The resort’s master chefs have curated mouth-watering sweet and savoury dishes to complement and complete Christmas, including Artisan Breads and Delicious Desserts from AED 25.

WHITE FESTIVE BRUNCH This festive feast will take you on an island extravaganza, featuring recipes that embody the festive month from tender roasts to mouth-watering desserts. The White Festive Brunch will take place on Christmas Day between 13.00 and 16.00, with a choice of Outdoor, Main Restaurant and Indoor Wing seating, with prices from AED 425. Kids aged 6 - 11 enjoy 50% off and those aged 0 - 5 will dine with the resort’s compliments MARE MARE IN FESTA Luxuriate this festive season at Mare Mare, a relaxed poolside restaurant that effortlessly brings together the coastal flavours of Italy. BUON NATALE Set menu family-style where guests can pick a selection of starters and desserts to share. Christmas Day Lunch is from 13.00-16.00, with prices from AED 525. AED 262 for kids aged 6 – 11. CAPODANNO The resort’s favourite Italian will be a very popular choice as we wave farewell to the old and embrace the new, with a variety of packages available on New Year’s Eve 20:00 - 24:00 from just AED 625.


89 LEVANTINE CUISINE AT TEAN This festive season, the set menu will incorporate grilled, spiced meats and seafood dishes that are cooked in the traditional Levantine way with live entertainment from AED 400 minimum spend for adults and AED 190 for kids. LOBSTER LOUNGE NYE Countdown to 2022 with friends and family at Lobster Lounge between 20:00 - 02:00 and savour gourmet flavours from a spectacularly crafted menu from AED 995 per person. 20:00 - 02:00

Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort has put together the best Festive celebrations to surprise and delight

NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS Enjoy an unforgettable after-party on the boardwalk as we welcome the New Year with a spectacular firework display as you dance your way into 2022. NYE on the Boardwalk takes place from 23:00 to 02:00

To ensure family togetherness, we’ll make sure the young at heart are entertained, right at your table

ALL YOU CAN EAT FESTIVE BBQ 25 December 2021 (13:00 - 16:00) from AED 215. NYE OFFSIDE BBQ Round the clock BBQ in the garden from 20.00 onwards, just AED 350.


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Travel Near

FESTIVE PAMPERING FESTIVE JOURNEY AT THE SPA Discover the revolutionary 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Facial to ease fine lines and wrinkles so the skin is left smoother, lifted, and brighter. A 2 hour 30 minute treatment costs AED 1,300. HOLISTIC WELLNESS AT THE SPA Take time out for yourself with this combination of massage and facial treatment. Choose any 60 minutes massage from the Spa menu and combine it with a Subtle Energies Holistic Facial for AED 995. NEW YEAR, NEW YOU! This festive season, why not create a custom made package to fit your individual needs, from an annual Lifestyle membership that comes with an additional free month through to receiving two complimentary classes when you buy 10. Available until 1 January 2022 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Experience real Levantine dining culture, just footsteps away from the sea


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JUMEIRAH SAADIYAT ISLAND RESORT  +971 2 811 4342

twitter @jumeirah

facebook @Jumeirah

youtube @jumeirahgroup

instagram @jumeirahgroup

www.jumeirah.com

All prices are in UAE Dirham and are inclusive of all applicable service charges, local fees and taxes


92 Travel Far


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ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE The Maldives, which ‘float’ in the Indian Ocean, are the cream of the crop when it comes to secluded beach vacations. The waters are a distinct shade of blue, the beaches are impossibly white, and rows of palm trees surround the shoreline. Furthermore, if you count each island separately, there are about 2,000 reasons to visit!


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Travel Far Whisperer’ for a sunset cruise or dolphin discovery excursion.

Designed to provide an educational holiday, young explorers can join the resident marine biologist on a turtle quest

Catering for children aged six to 11 years old, a trio of marine biology programmes is available. Designed to provide an educational holiday, young explorers can join the resident marine biologist on a turtle quest or manta snorkelling excursion or take part in coral transplanting and essential research snorkelling adventures. Named after the beautiful seashells found on the sugarwhite beach encircling the island, ‘Thiththi Boli Kids Club’ offers complimentary daily supervised programmes, fun arts and crafts activities, indoor and outdoor sports, and games for younger guests between four to 12 years old. With six restaurants and bars, each offering a distinctive setting, menu and ambience that divulges a different view of paradise, families are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining.

ANANTARA KIHAVAH MALDIVES VILLAS LAUNCHES NEW FAMILY Designed with multi-generational travel in mind and for larger group stays, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has launched new family-style villas just in time for travellers seeking their next winter sun escape. These new accommodation options consist of four Two Bedroom Family Beach Pool Villas and eight One Bedroom Family Beach Pool Villas, with rates starting from $2,200 per night. Complemented by the wide array of activities and tailor-made experiences available at this island sanctuary, families will be entranced by the enriching memories waiting to be discovered.

THE KIHAVAH COLLECTION Whether perched over the crystal-clear lagoon against the majestic backdrop of the Indian Ocean or nestled along the pristine beach, Anantara Kihavah’s collection of two, three and four-bedroom pool residences is the epitome of luxury. Staying true to the heritage of the destination, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring on its expansive outdoor decks. Each residence is also fitted with its own professional working kitchen, double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a range of fitness equipment. With a dedicated

Villa Host to attend to every need, and a Wine Sommelier and Personal Chef service on request, a stay in one of these residences is a promise of a truly private escape.

For more information or to book, call: +960 664 4111, visit: Anantara.com/en/kihavah-maldives or email: reservations.maldives@anantara.com.

FAMILY ADVENTURES From land-based activities to undersea adventures and wondrous encounters under the night sky, families will delight in the memories waiting to be discovered together.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FESTIVE HOLIDAY IN THE MALDIVES Planning an escape with the family over the festive season? Try Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa and Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa. These two Maldivian hot spots are packed with fun for all ages and once-ina-lifetime experiences that make for the best memories with little ones before they outgrow them.

Snorkel or dive at the best house reef in the Maldives, with experienced instructors, first-class rental equipment, comfortable dhonis and reef dive sites catering for both beginners and experienced explorers. In glass-bottomed kayaks, guests can follow the edge of the reef fringing the island for some of the best overwater views of the oceanic life thriving in their natural habitat. If staying dry is preferred, hop onboard the ‘Ocean


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SHERATON FULL MOON RESORT & SPA Sheraton’s first family programme, Side by Side at Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa is a multigenerational programme that offers immersive activities, both on property and in the community, to create shared experiences that celebrate big or small moments. Intended to be enthralling and entertaining for all members of the family, Side by Side not only offers a variety of immersive activities to rejuvenate and restore, but it also enables guests to create time to connect and make long-lasting memories with the family.  Coral fragment planting activity and to help restore reef habitats - adopt a coral with a fun and interactive coral-fragment plantation activity  Family picnic at Furanafushi Island - an island escape with a picnic basket in hand, full of sumptuous treats for the whole family  Family spa day - little guests make facial masks at the eatable DIY station filled with yummy treats To take advantage of the Festive Winter Package, guests can use code XY0 upon enquiry, valid on stays of four or more nights. Rates start from $700 per room per night. For reservations, please visit: www.SheratonMaldives.com

LE MERIDIEN MALDIVES RESORT & SPA Making its debut, Le Meridien’s maiden Maldivian property opened its doors on 1 September 2021 and has already become a favourite for its Le Meridien Family and Kids’ Hub, with programming that ranges from day and night nature trails, a mini marine conservation program, folklore storytelling, sustainable art classes and micro-green planting in The Greenhouse. For their first festive season, Le Meridien goes back to the days of glamorous travels with La Fête by Le Méridien on 22 December 2021 until 07 January 2022. Decked out in the joyful touches of winter décor, guests of all ages can embrace the end-of-year celebrations as they revel

in a programme of lifestyle, culinary, thrill-seeking and wellbeing experiences that evoke the sights, sounds and aromas of the festive season. Families can also explore a purposefully-curated menu of expeditions that include a nature safari, marine talks and coral restoration, family foraging and cooking classes in The Greenhouse and expeditions to the resort’s whollyowned private island, Bodu Finolhu. Rates start from $450 per night in a Beach Bungalow inclusive of breakfast for two persons. More information and reservations online at: www.lemeridien-maldives.com.


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Travel Far

VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND Velaa Private Island is gearing up for a spectacular festive season with a host of world-class acts and events, including shows from the worlds of music and dance offering unique experiences to make it an unforgettable end to the year Throughout the festive season, children will be immersed in an Alice in Wonderland fantasy, while also being captivated by the opening of the grand Gingerbread House, in a fun celebration filled with festive joy and goodies for the whole family. Christmas celebrations will culminate with Santa’s visit, lifting the spirits of guests with Christmas Day in paradise and gifts for the younger members of the family. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style starting with a Cocktail Party followed by a Gala Dinner, while being mesmerised with the performance ’Melody Of Your Imagination’. Guests will be captivated by a night of theatrical performance and celebrations as they dance the night away for a grand finale to the end of the year and the start of the new one on one of the world’s most exclusive private islands. As guests wake up to the first day of 2022, an indulgent brunch will await by the pristine white sandy beach. In the evening, join a musical and culinary experience with international pop-up stations and a ‘Night at the Oscars’ performance by Maryana Holovko and the Noble Singers Band. The gastronomic celebrations will continue through the start of the New Year with a range of indulgent feasts to choose from with Little Italy, Latino, and Teppanyaki nights. For more information, please visit: www.velaaprivateisland.com/events-news.html

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style starting with a Cocktail Party followed by a Gala Dinner


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The celebration continues on the first day of 2022 as W Maldives organises an epic pool party

GET WRAPPED UP AT W MALDIVES THIS FESTIVE SEASON The holiday season is the absolute best time to grab your better half or travelling companions and embark on a voyage that is fuelled with fabulous over-the-top festive feasts and some extra frills for that special time of the year. W Maldives kicks off the festive season with a little sparkle and a warm and witty celebration. With a mission to drive guests’ lust for life, W Maldives invites visitors for an exciting line-up of activities to keep them entertained along with a variety of signature dishes, fit for those seeking exclusivity and thrill to ignite their senses. CHRISTMAS EVE A beach style Christmas Eve awaits with a gastronomical journey spanned from an extensive selection of local nibbles, healthy greener foods, and fresh Japanese seafood, amongst others. For those who have an epic sweet tooth craving, there are plenty of desserts to choose from. Backed by live entertainment delivered by the luxury resorts’ very own music curator Jennifer Dons, a trendy band and epic dance performances, guests can be sure that the party will continue all through the night. When: December 24, 2021

CHRISTMAS DAY- SANTA’S BEACH PARTY Christmas is always a wonderful day to get jolly! As the resorts’ beach transforms into the ultimate beach party, get into the Christmas vibe with Santa hats, party pops, games, food trucks, and of course Santa himself. When: December 25, 2021 from 12:30pm – 3:30pm NEW YEAR’S EVE – IT’S CARNIVAL TIME As the year comes to end, it’s time to clink your glasses and revel in a New Year’s Eve celebration on a private luxury island playground. With a vibrant and glowing carnival theme, the five-star luxury resort is set to captivate its guests with a Grand Rio Parade followed by a Mix & Mingle at overwater speciality restaurant - FISH. When: December 31, 2021 NEW YEAR’S DAY – POOL PARTY The celebration continues on the first day of 2022 as W Maldives organises an epic pool party with bubbly beverages throughout the afternoon. When: January 21, 2022 from 1:30pm – 4:30pm


98 Health and nutrition

WE’RE FACING A TRAGIC CRISIS OF PRINCIPAL BURNOUT In a study by the University of Texas in February of this year, it was found that over 20% of principals leave their posts due to burnout. This is a staggeringly high number. Catherine O’Farrell, a highly experienced and influential education leader and consultant, explains more about this worrying phenomenon and ways in which we can begin to address it.

‘Burnout is a multidimensional concept defined as a ‘psychological syndrome of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy, which is experienced in response to chronic job stresses’ (Leither & Maslach, 2003, p. 93). With the new announcements around changes to the working week here in the UAE, principles are faced with the behemoth challenge of reconfiguring their entire school schedule to accommodate the loss of half an instructional day, right on the brink of the ‘holiday’. ‘Principalship is becoming more stressful with increasing demands, duties, and expectations. Burnout is one of several factors that contribute to principal turnover’ (Reyes, P., 2021). This is typical of the life of any principal - one of the most common responses to the “how are things?” question I hear in leadership circles is “same old same old, fighting fires….”

The journal of Educational Administration cites emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and the persistent, nay relentless, drive to perform as the main causes of principal burnout. Ultimately, principal turnover jeopardises school improvement, fractures school-community relationships, and erases institutional memory. TAKING JOY IN YOUR DAILY ACCOMPLISHMENTS Any educational leader realises pretty quickly that the role is relentless; your job will NEVER be complete. Improvements to be made, adjustments to tweak, students to support… it is learning how to take joy in your daily accomplishments that can help us get through the quagmire of tasks. Robeck speaks of the importance of taking credit for the tasks you have achieved every day. Educational leaders rarely accept praise with ease. The majority of principals spend their time praising their teams, their students,

their communities, and shy away from selfpraise. This is a missed opportunity and can contribute to this burnout pandemic. ACKNOWLEDGE THE GOOD Reflect on your day each evening, taking a moment, not to think of the tasks you have yet to do but on those that you have accomplished that day. It is estimated that an adult makes around 35,000 decisions a day of which, as a leader, 300 are important or impactful. If you reflect on your day, of approximately 300 impactful decisions, how many had a positive impact… most probably most of them. By taking the time to truly reflect on the good decisions you have made in a day (instead of the five or 10 not so good ones) it can shift your perception. Focus on the value that you bring to the role, your impact!


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Isolation is a real concern for educational leaders

It is estimated that an adult makes around 35,000 decisions a day

Be the leader that you wish you had in your career

FIND AN ADVOCATE Being the main decision-maker, it can be difficult to find a balance between friendship and professionalism. No matter what, at the end of the day, the principal is the one making tough decisions, decisions that your team may not like. It is vitally important that, as a leader, you have an ally on your team; someone who will stand firm with you through the battles. This can provide immense emotional scaffolding as you tackle the challenges of those 35,000 decisions every day.

focus on that person’s growth and development. Take pride in their growth as a reflection of your own personal growth. SUPERWOMAN (OR MAN) This is one of the simplest tools to have in your repertoire as a leader. When you begin using this tool you sometimes feel like…well…a tool! But believe me, it works.

SUPPORT GROWTH Hire effective educators to your team. Support them and nourish them. Be the leader that you wish you had in your career.

Before you leave your office; stand up, pause, draw your shoulders back, assume the superwoman pose, take a deep breath and tell yourself “you’ve got this” (or whatever mantra you like). Then walk out with purpose. It takes 20 seconds but it can completely change your demeanour, your presentation and your psyche.

Many of us are lucky enough to have experienced a truly inspirational leader. Think of the characteristics that made that leader stand out - mentorship, encouragement, stability. Weave these traits into your daily practice. Take someone under your wing and

Amy Cuddy talks about the ‘Power Pose’ in her TedTalk and the psychological shift it triggers the moment you assume it.

others in similar roles. Find other principals who can truly relate to the post and the mammoth responsibility of principalship. Connect over LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Reach out to the schools around you and find an ally. REMEMBER YOUR ‘WHY’ Simon Synek speaks about ‘The Golden Circle of Purpose’ with the very core being ‘finding your why’. Just as you wouldn’t get into your car without a map (in your mind, on your phone, whatever) you shouldn’t traverse the career highway without a clear understanding of where you want to go. What is your purpose, your why, the reason you step on campus every day? When things get tough, drawing this to mind can help us look over the barriers we face every day to see that ultimate destination KINTERACT and give us the drive to navigate obstacles and  +971 5the 6268 0609 continue journey.

 katescounselling@gmail.com OUTREACH Isolation is a real concern for educational leaders. It is hugely valuable to reach out to

By implementing simple changes like these you can protect yourself and be a better leader!

linkedin @Catherine O’Farrell www.katescc.com


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Health and nutrition

OBESITY: EAT BETTER, NOT LESS According to some estimates, over 60% of the population of the UAE is overweight, and this causes a slew of health issues and hazards. As additional weight puts strain on the heart and the rest of the body, diabetes and heart disease are becoming more common. As a result, it’s critical to figure out what’s causing the problem and take steps to prevent it.

But first of all, what does ‘obese’ actually mean? Obesity is defined as having more fat in one’s body than is essential. Individuals gain weight when they consume more calories than their bodies require. A further question is why obesity is such a problem in the modern world; what is causing such a mounting epidemic? The answer is multifaceted but takes in:  Changes in culture and the social environments in which people spend their time  Lack of physical exercise  Unhealthy diet Of course, there are also medical issues, such as Binge Eating Disorder, as well as genetics, but for most people, it boils down to social environments, bad diet and little or no exercise.

Don’t believe the scaremongers; you need carbs and fats in your diet And the effects of obesity can be catastrophic for one’s health, bringing on a wide range of often life-threatening illnesses, such as obstructive pulmonary ailments, coronary heart problems, diabetes, cancer (mainly of bowel and prostrate in men and uterine and breast cancer in women), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes, osteoarthritis, and depression.

Obesity is, therefore, a national crisis, a ticking time bomb. However, the good thing about this problem is that most people can tackle it without expensive pharmaceuticals or medical procedures, and in doing so prevent their bodies from experiencing major health problems. LEARNING TO ENJOY A DELICIOUS, HEALTHY DIET Obesity can be controlled to a large extent by making a few lifestyle changes. Physical activities, such as yoga, workouts, or aerobics, as well as a balanced diet, can greatly aid a person’s physical well-being. Regular physical activities such as cycling, swimming, and walking can help you stay active, while a healthy and balanced diet, rich in vitamins, nutrients and fibre, should be at the heart of a good weight management programme.


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Obesity can be controlled to a large extent by making a few lifestyle changes It is important to realise, too, that while exercise is essential for good health, it isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to losing weight. The most common reason people fail to lose weight is their failure to maintain a steady dietary regimen while also predicting their calorie consumption - not their exercise routine. Remember that there are at least three meals per day that you must prepare correctly and only one exercise programme, but you must devote quality time to both of these every day! As a result, 75% of your time and effort will be spent preparing and programming your delicious, healthy diet. CARBS AND GOOD FATS ARE CRUCIAL Don’t believe the scaremongers; you need carbs and fats in your diet. You’ll notice a reduction in energy and a major deterioration in your ability to concentrate if you don’t eat carbs. A properly balanced diet must also include good fats. That isn’t to say you should eat cheese sandwiches every night. Veggies like spinach and kale, as well as super-nutritious foods like sweet potatoes, should provide the majority of your carbs. Avocados, nuts, and sugar-free yoghurts are excellent ways to start the day, as they provide your body with a respite from

easily available carbohydrates and encourage it to enter a keto state, in which it burns its own fat for energy. DON’T TRUST THE SCALES We all talk about losing weight, but what we’re really talking about is losing fat. Fat is the substance that makes you look bigger, makes you feel heavier, and causes serious health concerns, especially around your middle. You may not see a significant shift on the scales if you begin training effectively and eating appropriately. In fact, because you’re increasing your lean muscle mass, you may become heavier. It’s only after you’ve done that that you’ll see a difference in your body composition. The more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be, and the more fat and calories your body will burn. Concentrate on getting strong and feeling better rather than losing weight. Finally, don’t beat yourself up about it if you do not see results fast enough. However much weight you are losing, you are doing great!

We all talk about losing weight, but what we’re really talking about is losing fat


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Writing to Santa 101 It’s that time of year again when millions of youngsters around the world finish their letters to Santa and mail them to his workshop. Some children, of course, still prefer to send them up the chimney, but if that’s not an option, get them in the post!

However, to ensure that the letter reaches its intended recipient, you have to have the correct postal address. But what is Santa’s actual North Pole address? How can you be certain that your letters will arrive at their destination on time? First and foremost, keep in mind that there are two North Poles: one where Santa lives and one a little town in Alaska. To put it bluntly, if you mail your letter to Santa to the second of them, there’s a strong possibility he won’t receive it! Naturally, it’s critical to keep Santa’s exact location a well-guarded secret. After all, during his peak season (Christmas), he doesn’t need millions of tourists flying in and pestering the elves and feeding too much cake to the reindeer. So, you’ll never be able to identify his exact location on a map. Happily, there is one organisation that does have that location - the postal service. With that in mind, the address you need to contact Santa is as follows: Santa Claus Reindeer Boulevard North Pole Arctic Ocean

Don’t worry about the zip code or postcode, as Santa and his helpers are the only ones that live there; that’s why simply writing ‘Santa Claus, North Pole’ will still get results. But does Santa have time to answer all of those letters? It may be hard to believe, but the answer is yes! And because he’s had so much practice reading children’s Christmas letters, he can now read hundreds of letters faster than it takes you to recite: I strung the lights on the Christmas tree, And gingerly plugged them in. That’s when I noticed a bulb was out, And my troubles did begin. So, write to Santa today – he’s never happier than when he receives mail from children all over the world, whether it’s seeking Christmas gifts, sharing images they’re drawn, or simply saying “Happy Holidays!” And finally, don’t forget to provide your own address in case you’re lucky and he (or one of his elves) has the time to respond!


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