Alef Education is a UAE-based leading global education technology provider, with a mission to transform K-12 school systems with technology-enabled learning experiences that engage a more individualized sense of inquiry and empower the 21st-century workforce.
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi, Board advisor at Alef Education, is no stranger to technology, particularly to AI as a transformative tool. In the following interview with Economy Middle East, we look at the latest technology, digital transformation and approach to learning required by education today.
Given the focus of your PhD on AI and your enrolment in Oxford’s program on it, how important is AI in education today, and how is it best used?
Technology has contributed to a significant transformation of the education system, particularly since COVID-19 emerged. The way students learn in the classroom is being transformed by new technology like digitalized learning and virtual reality. The application of AI in the classroom has several benefits, including raising teacher productivity and improving student engagement and learning outcomes. For instance, effective use of AI can allow learning platforms to understand each individual student and supply the most suitable content for their level, creating a personalized and effective learning pathway. Similarly, for teachers, AI automation has helped speed up the myriad of time-consuming and arduous duties that they must complete such as marking and record keeping, freeing them up to spend more time with each student.
Furthermore, AI and big data can provide powerful insight into performance, progress, and potential at an individual or group level, allowing more effective allocation of resources for educators. At Alef Education, we are leaving no stone unturned in our pursuit to provide the best possible education for our children and improve their outcomes.
Read More: What reforms did the UAE make to its educational sector?
How has the role of human resources, from recruitment and management standpoints, changed today in the education sector?
Human resource specialists play a vital and strategic role in selecting suitable talents to match the evolving education needs within schools and among companies specializing in education solutions.
Teachers have a wide range of responsibilities, including instruction, mentorship, care, listening, and learning. How efficiently these duties are handled is directly related to how well teachers are cared for in their jobs, but also how receptive and accommodating they are to utilizing aiding tools such as software and platforms to deliver the best teaching outcomes.
The right talent must have this versatility toward new technologies and resources and be willing to explore them and use them to the best of their ability. Additionally, HR professionals must consider developing robust upskilling programs as teachers are better able to foster a great learning environment for their kids when they are motivated and progressing their professional abilities and knowledge. Moreover, learning management systems to automate workflows and technological tools are empowering the effectiveness and success of staff in the education sector. Teachers should stay up to date with these changes.
Alef Education was founded to transform the entire education experience for students, including making it more personalized and fun. How is it doing that?
Alef Education was built on the vision of transforming the education sector and providing students with advanced and unique learning experiences. We are transforming the K-12 education ecosystems and the way students learn by offering tailored and personalized learning experiences using the best technologies, including AI, big data, and machine learning. We believe that the educational journey of each student must be engaging, seamless, and tailored to the levels and requirements of each student.
We have a portfolio of four main cutting-edge products – Alef Platform, Abjadiyat, Arabits, and Alef Pathways – which are learning experiences that are customized to the various needs of students, led by a magnificent team of professionals whose main goal is to make a difference and offer engaging learning environments. Our flagship product, the Alef Platform, has been essential in enabling students to obtain better academic results and in assisting teachers to fully devote themselves in guiding the students. One way we are utilizing AI within the platform is to fill students’ learning gaps, or lost learning, which has become a greater issue since the COVID-19 pandemic. Withing Alef Pathways, our recommendation engine delivers relevant instruction materials to students and allows them to work independently on their personalized learning paths.
How have student-centered learning techniques changed in the past few years and how has the role of the teacher changed with that?
Education has historically been approached with a “one-size-fits-all” mindset where pupils, regardless of their aptitude or levels, are provided with the same teaching resources, methodologies, and evaluation systems. However, advances in learning science and technology have shown that this is not efficient or effective. Student-centered learning comes from the realization that every student is different and that teachers work with individuals. Teachers achieve the greatest progress with students by recognizing, and adjusting for, their unique strengths, weaknesses, and knowledge gaps.
Our instructional resources are designed by our expert curriculum team to support multiple learning styles.
Is Alef Education preparing students for tomorrow’s economy? For example, is it integrating learning about blockchain, wallets, digital assets, AI, metaverse economy and others?
The more schools embrace technology that encourages children to explore beyond themselves, the more students will incorporate soft skills and critical thinking pathways, which together equip them for future careers. Our in-platform lessons include many modern life examples from current trends such as blockchain and coding to help introduce students to such new concepts and future fields. We also hold annual winter and summer programs for students, outside of the usual at-school learning to help them explore and learn new skills. Our most recent program was the Student Summer Coding Program, which was held in partnership with the Ministry of AI to promote future coding careers and ignite interest in new fields among students.
What do schools need to do to align with the needs of societies for a modern workforce and future leaders?
Careers and future needs are changing on a regular basis and such talents are becoming unique and difficult to find among current job seekers and fresh university graduates. This surely calls for schools, curriculum designers, and ministries to start incorporating modern-world subjects, courses, and skills into their curriculum and instruction to fulfill future career needs.