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Teaching Information and Communication Technology in the Arab World: An Examination of Curriculum

Teaching Information and Communication Technology in the Arab World: An Examination of Curriculum
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Author(s): Anil Sharma (UAE University, UAE), Khalifa Ali Alsuwaidi (UAE University, UAE) and Stephen Boylan
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 6
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch076
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361

Abstract

A major paradigmatic teaching shift has taken place in the United Arab Emirates, from the traditional format to one in which students are actively engaged in their own learning process. While core values that are central to Islamic beliefs are retained, the methodology now focuses on teaching curriculums based on thinking, rather than rote memorization. In this new Era University General Requirements Unit (UGRU) of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has replaced the traditional Information Technology (IT) curriculum by new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) curriculum. This paper examines the new ICT curriculum in terms of educational goals, content, teaching methods, and assessment. This research indicates that ICT lecturers view the new curriculum as better than the traditional curriculum in all these areas. Lecturers also indicated that the new ICT curriculum is better than traditional rote-learning based Information Technology (IT) curriculum. It integrates thinking skills into the education curriculum. It allows students to track and take control of their own learning, which in turn enable young people to function effectively in their own world as well as in the global community. The students involved in the ICT curriculum demonstrated conclusively that they could learn ICT successfully, in a collaborative, student-centered, problem orientated environment. In fact, they proved that they could be asked to work at a higher level in this manner and achieve more. It is important to note that these ideas do not conflict with Islam. Students are not expected to change their belief systems. The Holy Qu’ran challenges believers to use their minds for critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking, and decision-making, etc. The outcome of this research indicates that ICT curricular changes to promote the shift from passive to active learning by the students are taking place. Some areas still need improvement, but the current trend is one that will be consistent with guiding Arab world students to become critical thinkers, able to search out, understand, analyze, and synthesize the information they will need to become world citizens and world leaders.

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