As the Internet continues to develop and mature in UAE and the rapid speed at which mobile devices, mobile apps and IoT are entering the market, it is no surprise we are seeing a transformation in the country’s education sector with the emergence of e-learning and the ‘smart classroom’ of the present and the future.
Against this scenario Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is aiming to play a big role in the digital transformation aspirations of the educational sector in UAE by providing innovative mobility solutions for the next generation wireless classroom.
Gamal Emara, country manager, UAE at Aruba, said: “As part of UAE Vision 2021, the country’s Ministry of Education is very keen to introduce and support e-learning initiatives, like the Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning project for instance, to develop the educational process and improve the quality of instruction and learning. This will in turn transform the country into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy.
“The basic foundation of an ‘optimised digital classroom’ that supports 21st century learning is a next generation, robust and intelligent wireless infrastructure that lets everyone thrive when they use Wi-Fi enabled devices and apps that create a richer learning experience. Aruba being a world leader in wired and wireless networking, is taking the lead in working with public and private educational institutions in UAE and introducing the latest technologies that help build the optimised digital classroom for mobile first learning.”
The innovations include the latest Wave 2 802.11ac Wireless Access Points (APs) with public cloud, private cloud and on-premises management providing gigabit speed, secure and seamless internet access across the entire educational campus.
Teachers and students are increasingly using video, gaming and even social media to enrich learning and collaboration. This potentially exposes them to malicious and/or inappropriate content. Aruba Policy Enforcement Firewall (PEF) delivers intelligent mobile security based on its knowledge of mobile apps, devices and malicious URLs.
Aruba supports the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Students, teachers, staff, and guests connecting to the school network with a variety of personal devices create a tough challenge for IT. Aruba ClearPass simplifies device on-boarding with self-enrollment and grants network access privileges based on user roles, device types and location.
Emara said: “It’s evident that today’s #GenMobile students are showing up in classrooms knowing more about technology than previous generations. Classrooms are changing and are shifting away from rows of desks, to an environment that promotes collaboration between students, teachers and learning devices.
“Textbooks are being swapped out for mobile devices that provide up-to-date content in real time. Printed exams are transitioning to online assessments. 1:1 and BYOD initiatives are replacing wired computer labs. Skype and Google Hangouts are fueling new study groups. And personalised learning programmes are developed to meet the individual needs of each student.
“Technology is transforming the way we educate our children. Schools are adopting these initiatives to deliver a rich learning experience by engaging students to use the devices and applications they thrive on.”
Students are tech savvy. As they become older, it is rare to find one who does not own a smart phone/device. Student-owned devices can be leveraged to engage them for non-academic use cases such as indoor wayfinding and location tracking.
As improving campus security becomes front and centre, engaging with students on their smart devices can help improve campus safety. Aruba Beacons, Aruba Sensors and the Meridian App provide school systems with a complete solution for mobile engagement for the campus.
Beacons placed across the campus find registered mobile devices and allow for students to interact with customised wayfinding applications built by Meridian. Additionally, these technologies give campus administration the ability to see where students are located and send push notifications to students in all or specific locations.
Aruba’s mobile engagement solutions help institutions engage with students, encourage school participation and ultimately improve the quality of life and student experiences during their school and college years.
Emara said: “We are very proud to be actively involved in a lot of ‘smart classroom’ developments across UAE and look forward to offering our expertise and technology to government entities and educational institutions in the country.
“With the right network infrastructure planning, educational institutions can empower teachers and students to leverage the latest technology in devices and applications for a richer learning experience while streamlining IT operations across campus.
“As IoT comes of age, it is important for organisations to look for network solutions that provide the connectivity and management capabilities that IoT devices will require as they become more pervasive, as well as secure their infrastructure against the new threats these devices can potentially introduce.”