As all UAE schools close for four weeks as a precautionary measure, here's what you should know about the distance learning initiative
4 March 2020| Last updated on 8 March 2020
To maintain education for students, the UAE Ministry of Economy has launched the distance learning initiative.
All public, as well as private schools, universities, colleges, and nurseries across the UAE, will have an early start to their spring break this year. As a precautionary measure to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, the UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) announced the temporary closure of all schools for four weeks starting Sunday, March 8.
During the month-long vacation, educational facilities and premises will undergo deep-cleaning and disinfection.
To ensure the continuity of students' education, the Ministry has launched a distance learning initiative as an alternative. This programme will take place for all students from March 22 to April 2, two weeks into the spring break.
Parents are requested to provide a supportive learning environment for students at home to encourage distance education and limit disruptions to their studies. Students must have internet access and an electronic device such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone to work on learning materials.
What will happen in the first two weeks?
During the first two weeks of the extended break, school staff will work towards implementing their distance learning initiatives for students. This will include preparing their e-learning tools and study portal for increased and more in-depth use, rather than just an additional tool to assist with mainstream brick and mortar schoolwork.
How does distance learning work?
For some UAE schools, distance education involves a learning pack that features a variety of resources.
Study resources may include links to a study portal, links to learning tasks, and other online learning materials that needs to complete online. For example, a Word document essay for submission through a school assignment dropbox or an online timed quiz.
Most schools in the country have begun to prepare subject activities for students to work through every week.
Other schools will have live class sessions, where teachers and students can interact and discuss at a fixed schedule. Digital classes can also include pre-recorded video lessons. Teachers will be assigning activities and homework to do, which can be submitted.
Distance learning apps and programmes
Some UAE schools will use online programmes to carry out distance learning, such as...
1. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams combines online file storage, video meetings, and spaces for online chats, enabling students and teachers to hold real-time online classes and interaction.
2. Google Classroom
This is a free web service offered by Google, allowing for digital creation, distribution, and grading of assignments.
3. One Note
One Note can organise lesson plans, collect assignments, and allow teachers to provide support to students. Educational staff can create and share audio and video recordings as well.
Students can use programme to make notes, highlight slides, and sketch.
If any students, parents, or school staff are facing difficulties, the Ministry has advised the use of their technical support team at 06 7017 000 or email them at [email protected].