BASHAER AL KILANI Q&A
1. Who / what do you want to see at Bett Middle East 2017?
Educators, leaders and experts who will help me to bring transformation of our students’ lives through an effective reformed educational system that is supported by the latest trend of educational technology.
2. What do you see as the biggest opportunities when it comes to igniting excitement in education or boosting motivation (student and/or educator perspective)?
People are the core of any change process. When people have ownership in change, their organizations’ achievements becomes their own achievements. “When they begin to see tangible results and can feel the flywheel start to build speed—that’s when they line up, throw their shoulders to the wheel, and push” Jim Collins. My thoughts here:
3. Who or what inspires you in education.
Nurturing the students’ minds is in return nurturing my soul and my noble mission as an educator. The difference that I make to students’ life every day is a difference that I make to mine. In spite of the many challenges of being an educator, a flickering candle flame will fade the darkness and enlighten my learners’ path along with mine. I have a profession where my beliefs and values can see the light each moment, leaving me rewarded and joyful. My thoughts here:
4. How can social media be used to engage student learning?
Social media is one of the most sophisticated disruptive innovation, the latter is a term of art coined by Clayton Christensen which describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. If you are looking for a repertoire of best practices and diverse experiences, social media is the mine you are in quest of. It is a 24/7 professional development, that you can sit for at your own pace and preference. Using social media in classrooms will encourage students who are cautious to speak out in class to express themselves and participate in classroom dialogue. Learners as a whole will reach the unreachable by globally connecting with other peers around the world.
My thoughts here for the Teach Middle East Magazine
As an advocate of personalized professional development, I have founded and led #EdchatMENA which is an educational Twitter chat that promotes global collaboration on educational reform and the embracing of instructional technology. It is a one of its kind chat that globally connects educators in MENA region. This initiative is setting an example on best practice of using social media for the benefit of education, which is rarely utilized in this way in MENA region.
5. Why do you think it is important for schools to think education first, rather than tech?
Technology is bringing a holistic, radical change to the new generations’ life. The learners that we currently have in schools are those who Snapchat their daily life experiences, YouTube their practices and share their voices by tweeting; they have the world at the tips of their fingers. In minutes, they can change a thought to a video, a live stream or a podcast that they can share globally. The ultimate fear is that digital natives (the new generation) will start perceiving school as non-authentic and irrelevant to their lives. What adds more drama to this is the exponential evolution of technology. What can educators do about this complex situation? Is it enough that they bring the latest technology into classrooms, and go with one-to-one or BYOD to walk hand-in-hand with digital natives? If technology-enhanced learning is what satisfies digital natives, then does it guarantee better learning skills? Are the students really engaged when they are using different apps? Does genuine exploration happen when they tab on their tablets? How can technology enforce 21st century skills? What is effective technology integration after all?
This analogy by Fletcher (1996) clarifies the real role of technology in learning:
“When you go to the hardware store to buy a drill, you do not actually want a drill, you want a hole. They do not sell holes at the hardware store, but they do sell drills, which are the devices used to make holes. We must not lose sight that technology, for the most part, is a tool, and it should be used in applications which address educational concerns.” Pedagogy should always come first. My thoughts here for Innovate my School website
6. Why is Bett Middle East so important for educational transformation in the MENA region?
We are living in the era of innovation where innovative minds are the determinants of their nations’ futures. 21st century learners should acquire the needed skills for the projected innovation era that is emerging. Education nowadays is confronted, as never before, by the challenge that is how to prepare learners for a relatively unpredictable future. With the ubiquitous impact that technology has, educators hold hope that this impact will be the silver bullet for the aspired education reform. Bett Middle East Summit and Expo, provide remarkable opportunities for educators & decision makers to look at the cutting-edge technologies and leadership practices with a distinct focus on the Middle East and Africa. Change does not happen by accident and accordingly there is no moment such as the changing moment. On the contrary, change is a vision in practice through genuine and consistent efforts all of which start and grow at such summits and forums that ignites the dialogue of transformation in education.
Answers and articles by Bashaer M. Al kilani