Trailblazers on spotlight in GESS Dubai 2018

Atlab Teach Assist Robot is upgraded with new software for better facial recognition capabilities

DUBAI – Education trailblazers are inspiring thousands of teachers and school leaders attending the ongoing GESS Dubai conference and exhibition to break new pathways for a new generation of achievers and innovators.

Saki Milton, Executive Director of a US-based STEM camp for girls, which hopes to encourage more girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Referencing the latest research on STEM, Milton said the number of STEM jobs globally will grow 17 percent by 2024, as compared to 12 percent for non-STEM jobs and that almost all the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM.

Milton lauded the UAE where she said 50% of students in schools are interested in pursuing STEM careers in the future. “This is an impressive figure and hopefully the trend continues as more and more girls get better in STEM subjects. However, there remains the same percentage that needs to be encouraged, and for this the cause seems to be a lack of female teachers in STEM subjects who can become role models for young girls,” she added.

ATLAB’s Teach Assist Robot, which was launched at GESS Dubai last year, has already been deployed to some pilot schools in the UAE. A new software has been uploaded into the robotic teaching assistant, enabling teachers to customise their lesson plans whilst additional sensors have given the robot much further accuracy in facial recognition and student profiling.

Mark Drobngeh, a Ukrainian national visiting GESS Dubai said it would be interesting to see a robot becoming a part of the student’s learning experience; but thinks “robots will never be able to fully replace teachers who will continue to have a central role in the education of students.”

Another pioneering initiative that has drawn the attention of education professionals is The Arcadia Preparatory School’s Jr. MBA programme, the region’s first entrepreneurship initiative for primary school pupils to teach them the basics of starting up and operating a business. Navin Valrani, CEO, who conceptualized the programme, said they are now exploring the possibility of licensing the concept with expressions of interest from UK schools, as well as “developing an incubator programme to turn some of the students’ ideas into real-world businesses.”

“It’s great to have these innovators and trailblazers inspire others and have an immediate impact on education professionals who take away from GESS Dubai not just conceptual learnings, but practical and easy-to-duplicate strategies for better teaching performance or learning experiences. We hope to welcome more teachers on our last day where more bright ideas will be shared by our speakers,” said Sarah Palmer, Marketing and Conference Director, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, organisers of the GESS Dubai.

Free to attend for education professionals, GESS Dubai ends Thursday at the Sheikh Saeed Halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre. — SG