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Researcher Calls For New Approach in Computer Education

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A paper that proposes a new approach to teaching computer science in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the top presentation at the Seventh Worldwide Conference on Education and Culture, held recently in Rome, Italy. Uma Gunasilan of Middlesex University Dubai wrote the paper, which discusses the challenges in teaching computer programming in the Middle East. The study also addresses the key factors that play a role in teaching and learning in the UAE, such as the number of international students and educators from various backgrounds at local non-government universities, the social-cultural setting of the region, and the strain of using a foreign curriculum. Students would be better served by allowing them to "construct knowledge," rather than have educators provide knowledge for them to acquire, apply, and retain, Gunasilan says in the paper. The approach has not worked as well in computer science as it has in science and mathematics. "It is more apparent in Dubai where the background of students and socio-cultural setting of the classroom influence the teaching and learning process," Gunasilan says.

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