“We are living in a space of digital transformation. Encouraging innovation is vital as we prepare for the next educational reform, allowing room for exploration, removing boundaries and encouraging curiosity,” says Elfyn Wyn Jones, Leader of Innovation at Nord Anglia International School Dubai.
Well known in the Persian Gulf for its distinguished community, internationally- recognised curriculum, and outstanding results, NAS Dubai continues to be a leader in the education space, outperforming year-on-year due to the high priority placed on curriculum innovation.
The latest introduction is the new Design, Innovation, Computing and Enterprize (DICE) model – where creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication (the four C’s) are put at the forefront. NAS Dubai students learn to solve real-world problems in a fun and nurturing environment, while building an entrepreneurial mindset to communicate their ideas.
For this innovative curriculum addition, NAS Dubai has won the prestigious International School Award for Innovation and Creativity in Learning. Given to schools for spearheading initiatives that support students in future thinking and creative innovation, this is an apt recognition of NAS Dubai’s continued quest to keep their curriculum ever-exciting.
Designed by industry leaders within the school including Jones, based on the belief that children should be equipped with the necessary hard skills and software knowledge as early as possible, the DICE curriculum will “help children build a better tomorrow”.
It bodes well with NAS Dubai’s commitment to helping their students gain both knowledge and transferable skills in order to adapt to a changing world. When they understand more about the diversity of people, places and challenges, they learn about the world’s problems and think of ways to inspire change.
“Having worked at NAS Dubai for the past three years, I have been lucky enough to have not only witnessed the evolution of our curriculum but also the NAS community, as we focus more on skill-driven projects to fully prepare our young innovators for the world of work,” says Jones.
By learning how to use equipment and software like CAD design within the DICE curriculum, children will develop skills like project management, digital literacy, critical thinking, time keeping, and team management. Such skills will teach the importance of the value of empathy that forms the basis of everything they learn at NAS Dubai.
“The continuing evolution of the curriculum and exploration of external links have provided opportunities for innovation not only for the children, but for the staff as well,” shares Leader of Innovation (Primary) Aimee Middleton.
With one specialist teacher leading DICE classes for an hour per week, students will spend on average 14 to 16 hours working on one long group project per term. This in turn strengthens their teamwork skills in the process.
Throw in innovative apps like Hopsock and a dedicated makerspace, and you can see why students at NAS Dubai are inspired to be more creative.
“The teachers lead and inspire one another. They share confidence and belief in the outcomes for the children, embracing resources from Expo, MIT, and STEAM to make it relevant and current for all,” enthuses Middleton.
Already, students have come up with ingenious projects such as the bottle collection drive for recycling and sustainability, styling Dragons’ Den-style solutions for UAE-based problems, and the Expo Young Innovator Awards. With their creation of the Drop in the Ocean STEAM festival and participating in regional STEAM festivals, NAS Dubai hopes to inspire other schools within the Nord Anglia family, and in the UAE, to follow suit.
“Our children are regularly given the platform and voice they need to be innovative, and as our mission statement proclaims, they are always ambitious and see no limits to what they can achieve together,” Middleton happily notes.
With the curriculum constantly evolving to stay current and prepare students for life, plans for the next phase of development, expected to be completed in 2024, include a shared space for an Innovation/Engineering Hub Entrepreneurial Centre, Performing Arts Centre, and new Sixth Form space.
With all these in place, it is little wonder both students and alumni thrive within NAS Dubai and beyond, to become adaptable lifelong learners. Come and explore the award-winning school’s inspiring curriculum that will transform your child into a future leader.