UAE: Digital distraction or better learning? Students debate future of education

In many countries such as the UAE, the use of digital devices has increased by 99 per cent since the Covid pandemic

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Published: Sat 27 Jan 2024, 8:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 2:46 PM

Technology has firmly established its presence in people's daily lives – from the workplace to homes, and now it has become an indispensable part of education.

Nowadays, a school bag filled with books and notebooks is no longer the norm in schools across the UAE. Many students carry a tablet or laptop as it is what is needed to complete school work.

Abdulrahman Jamal, a Grade 12 student at the Applied Technology School, shared with Khaleej Times: “We used to carry tens of books with us to school, but now we have all these books in a compressed application."

Abdulrahman Jamal
Abdulrahman Jamal

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“We can take notes and pictures and stay active in class through our digital learning. We must encourage this method of learning and try to make it more efficient for students,” he added.

In many countries such as the UAE, the use of digital devices has increased by 99 per cent since 2020, after the Covid pandemic, according to LearnPlatform.

Special restrictions

Technology has certainly shaped education, but with its domination in the classroom comes some disadvantages, according to Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Digital distractions have been linked to lower academic performances for some students.

Providence English Private School Grade 11 student, Fardad Kamran, said: “We use technology every day in class – it helps us navigate through books, assignments, and notes."

Fardad Kamran
Fardad Kamran

“But it has also become a distracting device as most of our class scroll through social media throughout our lessons. There must be special restrictions for the use of devices in classrooms," Fardad added.

Losing humanity?

Abigail Chedera, a Year 13 student at Westminster High School, for her part, said: “The new wave of education in technology opens a new door of opportunities for connection and knowledge."

“The future of learning needs technology, especially as it offers a new perspective for the future of education. But with the decrease in literacy over the years and the rise of machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), we ask a bigger question whether we are on the verge of losing humanity.”

Abigail Chedera
Abigail Chedera

Abigail is suggesting to strike the right balance between technology and human connection. To be creative and not entirely reliant on technology.

She noted: “Several studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between the use of technology and students' improved performance.”

“Technology is a valuable source of knowledge and information. We must make technology increasingly important in the field of education. The correct question is how students get the best access and opportunities to contemporary learning resources,” she added.

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