Artificial intelligence could be the breakthrough that teachers have been waiting for. At the recently concluded GESS Dubai, experts showed a glimpse of the future for the teaching profession with the help of AI, and how it can contribute significantly to school improvement.
Century Tech founder and CEO Priya Lakhani presented an AI platform for school improvement that presents real-time data on a student, entire class even a whole school to support timely and evidence-based interventions; as well as multimedia content that can be used in and out of the classroom with features that can also help automate certain tasks such as assessments and tracking of homework. “With teachers spending up to 60% of their time on administrative tasks and data management they need a solution which saves them time to do what they love: teach!” commented Lakhani, who also says the AI platform can also be used to improve outcome for learners as well as involve parents and guardians.
Meanwhile, Sallyann dela Casa, Lead Skills Hacker at GLEAC and head of Growing Leaders Foundation, says AI can be harnessed to develop outstanding schools. “We’ve developed a proprietary app called GLEAC to find out patterns of successful teachers and teams within schools through psychometric testing and patent-pending soft skills measurement. Using this information, schools can start engineering human capital, their teachers for instance, to build capacity and become outstanding educational institutions.”
During her presentation, dela Casa showed how GLEAC can determine the pattern for characteristics often associated with outstanding teachers in great performing schools; and these character traits are often the same behaviour patterns displayed by highly paid professionals in other fields. “We can now make a case for improving teacher salaries, for one, to help uplift the profession and eventually help draw outstanding talent and make teaching a more attractive profession for young people to pursue,” she added.
Positive business prospects
Many exhibitors expressed optimism about their business prospects in the Middle East, after meeting potential partners and customer leads at GESS Dubai. Ahmed AlSuhaibani, Head of Commercial, Tatweer Educational Technologies, part of the Saudi delegation which had its biggest participation in GESS this year says the event was an important platform for meeting new partners and potential customers. “We are very optimistic about our business prospects in the Middle East as this region puts a high premium on education and development of human capital. And the event allowed us to meet various stakeholders in one place, so our participation was worth it.”
For UK-based pi-top, an edtech start-up that provides an ecosystem for experimenting, coding and building electronics, GESS Dubai enabled them to reach the right audience from across the GCC as well as Turkey and Lebanon. “We generated hundreds of leads for our business and are quite positive about our future growth in the region,” said Joe Kelly, Global Sales Director.
In addition to providing companies a platform to explore business opportunities, GESS Dubai’s conference programme also inspired many visiting professionals with helpful tips and insights from the various presentations and workshops conducted during the show.
Hussain Mohamed, a Math teacher from Al Maarifa School, said the conference content was enlightening and “gave me some practical tips I can immediately use in my class to help me get my students more engaged in the lessons, which hopefully will make them perform better in their studies not only in my subject but in their coursework in other classes.” A visiting principal from a school in Pakistan, Mansoor Najani was delighted with the learnings from experts on neuroscience and said he will be sharing what he has learned with his teaching staff to help them with their work. “The sessions on building up confidence and creating a more fun environment for students were particularly useful, and would be worth sharing with my teachers,” he added.
Ending on a high note
GESS Dubai successfully concluded its 11th edition, drawing 8% more visitors compared to 2017, while attendance from international delegates increased 20% vis-à-vis last year’s figures. The show’s VIP club, a group of key decision makers and education suppliers across the Middle East, also increased membership by 25%.
GESS Dubai also welcomed delegations from Kenya and Pakistan as well as big increases in participation from Saudi Arabi and India, while Abu Dhabi saw its contingent double in number compared to the previous year in addition to visitor numbers from across other Emirates increasing as well.
“Once again these numbers have shown growing interest in the development of the education sector in the Middle East, and as organisers of the show we are delighted we are able to provide a platform for education professionals to develop their craft as well as for companies and brands to grow their business,” said Matt Thompson, Project Director, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, organisers of the GESS portfolio of shows that takes place in Dubai, UAE; Jakarta, Indonesia; Mexico City, Mexico; and Istanbul, Turkey.
GESS Dubai will return for its 12th edition at the Sheikh Saeed Halls of the Dubai World Trade Center on 26-28 February 2019.