At Niagara College Taif, we face the daily reality of a culture where regular attendance, at any level of their education, is simply not considered important to the student. At the secondary school level, attendance is disturbingly low and there does not seem to be any repercussions for missing classes. Therefore, the vast majority of the students who register with us are quite shocked at our preoccupation with their attendance record. In many cases it is the first time they’ve been reprimanded and made accountable for it.
To help motivate our students to attend on a regular basis, we are launching an iPad project with two major goals in mind. First, to give the students a new reason to come to class. Even in Saudi Arabia, students love to play with technology. iPads are not foreign to them but using them in class as an integrated tool for the course is.
Second, the use of the iPads is designed to help build better critical thinking and problem solving skills in our students. No ‘Technology for Technology’s Sake’ here! The iPad is an integral part of the course. Assignments, test, projects and capstones will all make use to the tablet.
Niagara College Taif launched in August of 2014 and has been in operation for only one year. Our student base is still building but for the time being, we are dealing with rather small numbers of students. This, coupled with the lack of research directly related to iPad use of this nature in Saudi Arabia has pointed me in the direction of an ethnographic inquiry. I am very interested in finding out how the Saudi culture, values and everyday life influence their educational decisions. Is this the way to go? I’ll find out soon enough
Interview map: https://contextualresearch.wordpress.com/week-07/class-13/