Represents Arab World at World Conference for Online Learning in Canada
Dr. Mansour Al Awar, Chancellor of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) and Chairman of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), emphasized the pivotal role of learners in driving the educational process during the latest World Conference for Online Learning held from October 16 to 19, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Al Awar shared HBMSU’s successful transformation into an international role model that provides the best education for the creators and innovators of the future. He also shed light on the university’s achievements in developing an integrated system for reshaping the future of education in the Arab World in line with the requirements of the 21st Century, under the constant follow-up and wise guidance of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMSU.
He discussed these during a speech delivered in front of 1,000 decisions makers, policy makers academics, experts, researchers, consultants and educational technology industry leaders participating at the conference hosted by Contact North | Contact Nord University, the leading Distance Education and Training Network, which ran under the theme ‘Teaching in The Digital Age – Re-Thinking Teaching & Learning.’
Dr. Al Awar’s participation is of great significance as he was the only Arab university official to present at the international gathering. His presentation on ‘An Innovative Model to Boost the Role of Learners in the Learning Process: HBMSU Experience’ highlighted the Lifelong Learning approach, a major pillar of education based on the use of smart technology, innovation, quality and scientific research to drive comprehensive development, enrich knowledge, and enhance the quality of educational content.
The Chancellor pointed out that HBMSU is a pioneer in promoting Lifelong Learning as a strong foundation for enabling positive change in the Arab World, in line with the leading achievements of the UAE in establishing a solid ground for enriching knowledge and instilling a culture of smart learning in the region. This, he explained, is in accordance with the highest standards of quality and innovation for building generations characterized by knowledge, innovation and leadership, inspired by the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership.
Dr. Al Awar further highlighted HBMSU’s excellence in transforming the learner from a recipient to a major contributor of knowledge, following the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to prepare a young generation capable of envisioning and building a better and more secure and sustainable future using the tools of the knowledge economy. He shared HBMSU’s success story in achieving the vision of Learner-Centric Education, recounting how it actively involves learners in the decision-making process and promotes their role in driving leadership in smart education.
As an example, Dr. Al Awar cited the meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Learning Council which discusses methods for promoting and developing educational outputs that meet the needs of the age of knowledge. He also emphasized the pivotal role of HBMSU in supporting the UAE’s efforts to transform from a natural to a human resource -based economy, in line with UAE Vision 2021.
The Chancellor provided a detailed explanation of HBMSU’s Smart Learning System which is based on innovation, quality, governance, evaluation and smart transformation. He provided comprehensive insights on the features of the innovation road map for the future that places Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things at the forefront of strategic priorities for making learning fun by changing the rules of education, encouraging partnerships with the private sector, and have a passion for achieving results and promoting innovation. These, he said, reflect HBMSU’s vision of providing a unique learning experience via technology, innovation and scientific research according to new futuristic tools that place HBMSU ahead of the universities of the world by 10 years.
Innovation was one of the main topics discussed by the Chancellor, who addressed initiatives for stimulating innovation and nurturing creativity among young people and enabling them to play an active role in accelerating the transition from an experience-based to a transformative economic model alongside innovation labs that provide a solid foundation for instilling creative thinking through smart learning methods. He also underscored HBMSU's commitment to establishing innovation as a main engine for generating, applying and disseminating knowledge as part of fruitful partnerships with the international community. He said that innovation is considered one of the main pillars of HBMSU over the next three years to achieve its goal of offering lifelong learning opportunities and providing a unique experience that stimulates scientific and thinking innovation as well as scientific research that supports national development.
Al Awar said: “It is a great pleasure to be at a leading global forum such as the World Conference for Online Learning to inform the international community of the most important steps on the leadership process of HBMSU, which established the first nucleus of smart education in the UAE and the Arab World. We have been able to share our forward-looking vision for the future of learning and education in accordance with innovative methods that meet the requirements of the age of knowledge. We are confident that we are moving in the right direction, which is supported by current data that underline the growing importance of smart education which was a fantasy a few years ago but has become not only an option but the best choice for building a bright future. We are moving forward on the path of building effective international partnerships that will restructure the education system based on innovation, scientific research and smart technology to empower human resources capable of driving development and progress in the future.”
The agenda of the 2017 World Conference for Online Learning included 300 plenary sessions, workshops, interactive discussions, presentations, research papers and academic studies. High-level international participants from 95 countries around the world attended. The event included a review of the latest next-generation innovations and new educational technologies, as well as the latest developments in e-learning platforms, software and solutions.