Part of its national 2030 vision, Qatar has a strategic plan to replace rote learning with modern learning techniques to teach young people to engage in critical thinking and to understand the value of collaboration and teamwork. They want to deploy educational programs that respond to the current and future needs of the labour market. Through this innovative approach, the main objective is to unlock the potential of Qatar today and in the future, as well as the wider region and world at large.
Suffering from low global education competitiveness, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) of Qatar needed to bridge the gap between teachers and students in the age of technology and mobile devices. This lead to the adoption of a strategic long-term vision for the education sector. SEC launched a nation-wide e-learning program to transform the educational process and to provide e-services. Qatar’s 2030 vision for education revolves around teaching young people how to engage in critical thinking and to understand the value of collaboration and teamwork.
ITWORX Education, a strategic Microsoft Education partner, was selected by the Supreme Education Council to deploy its learning management system, the Connected Learning Gateway (CLG), in its schools. Born out of the Middle East region, ITWORX Education was able to propose and deliver a solution that would enable Qatar’s ambitions through major technologies without overlooking the cultural aspects and the deeply ingrained traditions. ITWORX has a strong Middle Eastern presence, which includes an Arabic speaking resource pool of over 700 employees and a track record of implementing educational solutions in the Middle East and beyond, offering potential customers in the Middle East peace of mind.
A feature-rich and user-friendly platform, CLG was customized to serve thousands of users in Qatar’s public schools through a robust technical infrastructure whilst addressing the country’s unique needs.
ITWORX Education’s solution allows Qatar to achieve its vision through its dynamic social learning platform that empowers teacher, school administrators and leaders to deliver richer, more interactive learning experiences to learners in the classroom, at school, and at home. CLG provides a student-centric e-learning environment where learners can achieve results. The platform provides a dynamic educational space enriched with collaboration, personalization, interactivity, real-time feedback and assessment, and mobile learning.
CLG uses advances in technology to empower students with 21st Century skills to succeed in the workplace. Through CLG, teachers can prepare lesson structure, schedule and publish lesson plans that meet curriculum standards, and create rich e-learning content in a short time by adding photos, audio and videos. CLG enables teachers to build exams online that can be graded automatically and track each student’s progress. CLG also allows teachers to deliver multi-faceted individual learning plans.
Students can view lesson structure, access lesson materials, and interact electronically with colleagues and privately with teachers online. They can also complete their assignments and exams and receive their results online. This saves valuable time and effort and provides the students with prompt feedback to enhance their learning. CLG empowers parents with the needed tools to view their child’s grades, behaviour, and attendance by accessing the online parent portal, receiving notifications, and communicating privately with teachers through the parents’ portal. Parents can also receive mobile notifications from the school, whether from teachers or school administrators. With the release of ParentLIVE, parents can now follow-up and monitor their children’s progress through mobile devices, any time, and anywhere. This makes it easier for parents to always be engaged in their child’s learning experience.
ITWORX Education’s solution is deployed in 178 schools and used by 99,085 students, 14,517 teachers, 8,344 Staff members, 271 principles, and 41,522 parents, which makes a total number of 163,739 CLG users in the Supreme Education Council in Qatar. The deployment included adoption workshops and training to the schools’ staff members. 1,900 teachers, IT staff, publishers and project coordinators were trained. ITWORX Education also provide the 178 schools with around 168 adoption workshops to help the schools transform and change day-to-day activities to the latest digital technical and practices.
Also, as part of SEC’s migration to “Microsoft Office 365”, ITWORX registered an Office 365 domain reaching 125,000 licenses. Microsoft Office 365 helps boost productivity by making the user’s experience as simple as possible while taking on all the responsibility for security and giving administrators full control of their systems. With ample storage space (25GB) per user, the solution encourages increased email exchange, more collaboration and real-time learning and teaching contributions, and heightened document and information sharing in student-to-student, teacher-to-student, and teacher-to-teacher communications.
In March 2014, a survey was conducted in 40 Qatari schools following the implementation of CLG. Results were extremely positive. They showed that:
– 55% of users felt e-learning fully helped them to reach learning content anytime anywhere, while a further 38% said that it helped them to some extent. (A total positive rating of 93%)
– 39% thought e-learning increased students’ interaction significantly, and a further 51% felt it did so to some extent. (Total positive rating of 90%)
– 38% said e-learning definitely increased students’ creativity, plus a further 40% said it did so to some extent. (Total positive rating of 78%)
– 66% agreed e-learning helped track students’ attendance
– 61% thought e-learning helped them keep track of a student’s overall performance
– 50% of the students said that e-learning helped them in completing homework
Realize a nation-wide vision
With the implementation of CLG in SEC schools, ITWORX Education was able to bring the platform and tools to build 21st Century skills and knowledge, and empower Qatar to reach its desired 2030 education goals. CLG promotes creativity, collaboration, and team work through rich features to unleash each student’s full potential.
Instil lifelong learning skills
By promoting 21st Century skills, CLG encourages students to become independent, pro-active and self-actualized learners. They can tap into visual and audible tools easily and study their lessons in a location-independent environment while completing their assignments anytime and anywhere. They also enjoy full and rich interaction with their education community via online discussions, forums, blogs, and messaging with full access to the e-learning environment at any point in time.
Transform the learning and teaching experience
CLG allows teachers to build and exchange engaging digital lesson content with real world relevance. The new learning environment encourages teachers to become collaborators and mentors to students, rather than one-way instructors, which allows them to deliver a more exciting and real-world learning experience. On the other hand, parents are more involved throughout the learning process and are able to communicate transparently with teachers and school administrators.
A science teacher, who is also the parent of a student in Hamza Elementary school said: “At first I did not welcome the idea, and I worried it may affect my son’s educational performance, but after using the tablet, I noticed an obvious improvement in the communication between my son and his teachers.”
A student in the same school, Hamad Nasr El Sewedy, said: “This system has enabled me to constantly communicate with my teachers through homework and activities. It made me do my tasks quickly, catch up on what I did not understand and access to different e-learning resources any time.”
“It is considered a quantum leap is the process of tracking, monitoring, evaluation and eventually developing the academic performance of the teachers and students” said Mohammed Saeed al-Alfi, the Academic Deputy.