Monday, 27 September 2010

Chairs of Learning

In Abu Dhabi Men’s College Library there are two things which look like the front of jet engines, except that they are green and orange. And you can sit inside them. In the middle of the busy library, with students and faculty walking backwards and forwards, the occupants of these two strange devices of cutting-edge technology sit in a world of their own, listening to their own programs, interacting with the internet or watching a podcast.

The Sonic chairs ( ) are individual sound pods, where the listener can relax in his or her own privacy and allow the lecture or commentary to surround them. As well as individual speakers at ear level, the whole seat acts as a sound membrane, allowing the lower frequencies to vibrate into the listener’s body, giving the feeling of a live performance.
The Sonic Chairs have their own individual iMac touch screens and volume controls, so that the listener can create his or her own learning environment, with no background noise to disturb their concentration. Students are free to immerse themselves in their own media at a volume that suite them, knowing that they are not disturbing anyone else in the Library.
As well as multi-media, volume controls and USB connections, you can pull up a little table which the listener can use to make notes, or rest their coffee cup.

Monday, 20 September 2010

HCT Shines on International Stage

Working for the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and in particular Abu Dhabi men’s college is completely different to anything else I’ve experienced before. We get visitors from world-leading educationalists, sporting stars, politicians, members of worldwide organizations such as WHO and UNESCO, and celebrities. Al Rawi is the corporate news letter from the HCT and contains under the heading of HCT Successes contains an article about one of the main parts of my job visitors. Some of the people I have had the pleasure of meeting include a delegation from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, MIT senior entrepreneurship lecturer John Preston, Microsoft’s Craig Mundie, Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorp, University of Chicago President Robert J Zimmer and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokovaust to name a few. This is what the article said:

“Hugely impressed with the standards of education and facilities on offer at the campuses, the guests have all been eager to see how the HCT model operates so successfully in eLearning, education technologies, research and training; and to hopefully to work collaboratively with the HCT to develop, produce and deliver cutting-edge programs in the UAE and their home institutions and countries.

Moreover, during their tours the guests gain knowledge and a clear insight into how advanced HCT’s philosophy is in delivery best practices education in a technologically advanced mode with emphasis on eLearning in a wireless environment. Many of these visits have resulted in partnerships, joint ventures and memoranda of understanding being entered into for the future benefit of HCT students and the advancement of facilities at the College campuses.”