Academy Academy Description ADEK Rating Curricula Location
Al Ain Academy

Primary & Secondary, Mixed

Very Good With Outstanding Features English National Curriculum Al Ain
Al Bateen Academy

Secondary, Mixed

Outstanding English National Curriculum,IB Diploma Programme Abu Dhabi
Al Mamoura Academy

Primary Mixed / Secondary Girls Only

Good With Very Good Features English National Curriculum Abu Dhabi
Al Muna Academy

Primary, Mixed

Outstanding English National Curriculum Abu Dhabi
Al Yasmina Academy

Primary & Secondary, Mixed

Very Good With Outstanding Features English National Curriculum Abu Dhabi
The Pearl Academy

Primary, Mixed

Very Good With Outstanding Features English National Curriculum Abu Dhabi
West Yas Academy

Primary Mixed / Secondary Segregated 

Good American Massachusetts State Curriculum Abu Dhabi
Al Forsan Nursery

Nursery Mixed

Not Applicable English National Curriculum Abu Dhabi
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Don’t underestimate technology’s role in personalised learning

  • 01 Mar, 2017
  • Aldar Academies

Sams. Developed in 2007, their approach reverses the traditional teaching model whereby theory is taught in class before being applied and practiced through homework. Instead, the teacher records theory to the most appropriate form of media – usually video – which the pupil can access at home via an online platform. The student can rewind and revisit the digitised learning materials as often as they want to make sure the concept is fully understood, before returning to the classroom to put this new theory into practice. 

It is in this situation, when knowledge now needs to be applied to problem solving tasks, where students typically require the most support. Flipped learning brings this important process back into the classroom where the teacher has the most influence. By rotating the teaching process, teachers now have the time to sit one-to-one with students and collaborate on problem solving. In this way, the educator can think about which teaching methods each individual student is most receptive to, and deliver them to cement the pupil’s understanding of a topic quickly. 

‘Flipped Mastery’ takes this even further by allowing educators to bundle learning resources together for each student, and build ILPs – Individual Learning Plans – around them. With an ILP, students gain the freedom to walk a personalised learning path at their own pace. As a result, high achievers can be challenged constantly, and learn without being held back. Meanwhile, those who need more help to grasp a concept are given the necessary time and support from the teacher. 

To avoid alienating those students who require more time, the flipped learning method could even incorporate peer learning, where a pupil who excels in a subject helps those who need extra support. But this doesn’t mean the teacher can slip out of the classroom for a cappuccino. Through peer learning, students develop crucial life skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communication, and mentoring. This is one way to teach the ‘whole student’ and develop well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the professional world – an important priority for us at Aldar Academies. We have successfully adopted flipped learning across our curricula, and my role is to make sure the methodology is the right fit for our highly diverse student base. 

I would argue that in the Middle East, the importance of concepts like flipped and personalised learning is greater than other regions. Expats now account for over 48 percent of the GCC population, according to go-gulf.ae, while the Middle East has more international schools than any other region, says the International Schools Consultancy (ISC). This means an increasing number of students from different cultures and with different experiences and expectations are brought together in the same classroom. A one-size-fits-all approach is simply not the most effective way to teach them, because it cannot give every child the opportunity to realise their true academic potential. 

GCC governments realise this, and are increasing their investment in education to raise the standards of teaching. The Alpen Capital report notes how the Saudi, UAE and Omani governments allocated over 20 percent of their 2016 budget to education – more than the U.S., UK, and Germany. This included investment in smart education concepts such as personalised learning.  

Technology has allowed us to break down the walls of the traditional classroom, giving us more freedom to support students in a customised way. However, it’s important to note that for a new strategy to be a success, a thorough support system must be put into place for all teachers. This responsibility ultimately lies with those who lead a school’s technology strategy. They need to manage the pace of any technological change and organise appropriate training, as many teachers may be unfamiliar with the new way of doing things. If they do not feel confident applying a new tool or digital method in the classroom, the change could have a negative impact on their students’ education.

We must remember that while technology can do many things, it has no place in the classroom if it doesn’t make a positive contribution to teaching and learning; the definitive outcomes of any educator. 

Ultimately, technology exists to enrich and simplify our lives. In the classroom, new digital methods have made it much easier for our children to grasp a concept in their own unique way. In other words, they’ve made learning more personal. No two students are the same, so why should teaching methods be?

Andy Turner is Head of Education Technology, Aldar Academies.