Realising the Vision of Technology Integration: A Case Study of K-12 Private Schools in the United Arab Emirates
by Kheder Mahmoud1, Catherine Arden2, Jennifer Donovan3 1Doctoral Candidate, Doctor of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. 2Senior Lecturer in Adult and Vocational Education, School of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. 3Lecturer (Education), School of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Heralded by the release of government policies such as Vision 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined the worldwide impetus for the integration of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) into its K-12 education system as a central plank of reforms to its economy and education system. This presents challenges for schools in both public and private sectors in the UAE as they strive to adhere to national government and local education authority guidelines and standards for educational innovation. Whilst the UAE Government has invested heavily to support technology integration in public schools, private schools must fund their own technology integration initiatives. In a context of strong growth in the private K-12 sector and reported high teacher turnover rates, private school leadership faces particular challenges related to decision-making about investment in suitable technologies and support systems, including teachers’ professional development. This chapter reports some preliminary findings from a qualitative case study investigating the teacher, school and system-wide factors impacting on technology integration in selected private schools located in four Emirates. The study combines policy analysis with semi-structured interviews of a purposive sample of private school K-12 educators to yield a detailed understanding of the challenges faced by private sector UAE schools in implementing technology integration in response to national government policy directives. The findings will inform the development of an implementation framework providing guidance regarding critical success factors for effective technology integration in private schools with particular implications for school leadership and teachers’ professional learning.
Keywords: Educational change, ICT, innovation, national education policy, private schools, professional development, teachers, technology, technology integration, UAE
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