The ‘S’ and ‘T’ in STEM: Integrating Science and Technology in Education in the UAE

  • Martina DicksonEmail author
  • Patricia Fidalgo
  • Dean Cairns


In this chapter, we look at the ways in which STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has influenced education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the last few decades, focusing in particular on the use and integration of educational technology in schools and higher education institutions (HEIs). Key to the uptake of technology in education is the attitudes, perceptions and self-efficacies of teachers, faculty and administration. We summarize key literature emanating from both school and HEI sectors in the UAE and then discuss technology links to science education in the UAE, and the emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular. Finally, we present four key examples of how science and educational technology can effectively be integrated, and make specific suggestions of ways in which this could be linked to the UAE context. We conclude with some key recommendations for the effective integration of science education and technology.


  1. Abu Dhabi Education Council. (2011a). Endangered species: The Asian Houbara. Retrieved from
  2. Abu Dhabi Education Council. (2011b). Mangroves—A sustainable future. Retrieved from
  3. Abu Dhabi Education Council. (2015). Grade 11 student electives guidelines for 2015/16. Retrieved from
  4. Abulibdeh, E. S., & Hassan, S. S. S. (2011). E-learning interactions, information technology self efficacy and student achievement at the University of Sharjah, UAE. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(6).Google Scholar
  5. Al-Awidi, H. M., & Alghazo, I. M. (2012). The effect of student teaching experience on preservice elementary teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs for technology integration in the UAE. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(5), 923–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Al-Awidi, H. M., & Ismail, S. A. (2014). Teachers’ perceptions of the use of computer assisted language learning to develop children’s reading skills in English as a second language in the United Arab Emirates. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42(1), 29–37. Scholar
  7. Al Blooshi, A., & Ezziane, Z. (2013). Technological readiness of the UAE HEIs for the 21st century. Journal of Education and Learning, 2(4), 123–139.
  8. Al-Emran, M., Elsherif, H. M., & Shaalan, K. (2016). Investigating attitudes towards the use of mobile learning in higher education. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 93–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Al-Qirim, N. (2011). Determinants of interactive white board success in teaching in HEIs. Computers & Education, 56(3), 827–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ally, M. (2013). Mobile learning: From research to practice to impact education. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 10(2).Google Scholar
  11. Almekhlafi, A. G., & Almeqdadi, F. A. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of technology integration in the United Arab Emirates school classrooms. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 13(1), 165–175.Google Scholar
  12. Awani, A., Al, Senteni, A., Singh, A. D., Bin, H., & Smart, M. (2016). An investigation about the usage and impact of digital video for learning. In Proceedings of the European Conference on E-Learning, 1–9.Google Scholar
  13. Corlu, M. S., Capraro, R. M., & Capraro, M. M. (2014). Introducing STEM education: Implications for educating our teachers in the age of innovation. Education and Science, 39(171), 74–85.Google Scholar
  14. Dickson, M., McMinn, M., & Kadbey, H. (2017). Science anxiety levels in Emirati student teachers. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 14(1).Google Scholar
  15. Dini, L. A., Markey, J., & Mohamad, G. (2015). Education, technology, and the Middle East. Journal of Applied Learning Technology, 5(2), 35–41.Google Scholar
  16. Embassy of the UAE Cultural Division in Washington D.C. Report. (n.d.). K-12 education in the UAE; Embassy report. Retrieved May 25th, 2018 from
  17. Figueroa, N., Dong, H., & El Saddik, A. (2013). From sense to print: Towards automatic 3D printing from 3D sensing devices. In 2013 EEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics—SMC (pp. 4897–4904). Manchester, United Kingdom: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  18. Glass, D., & Wilson, C. (2016). The art and science of looking: Collaboratively learning our way to improved STEAM integration. Art Education, 69(6), 8–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grant, J., & Patterson, D. (2016). Innovative arts programs require innovative partnerships: A case study of STEAM partnering between an art gallery and a Natural History Museum. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 89(4–5), 144–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Griffey, J. (2017). 3D: A status report. American Libraries. Retrieved from
  21. Hanif, M., & Al-Ahmadi, F. (2009). Computer based teaching and learning of physics at undergraduate level by using multimedia. Paper presented at the Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning, University of Udine, Italy.Google Scholar
  22. Hargis, J., Cavanaugh, C., Kamali, T., & Soto, M. (2014). A federal higher education iPad mobile learning initiative: Triangulation of data to determine early effectiveness. Innovative Higher Education, 39(1), 45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Healey, M., & Roberts, J. (Eds.). (2004). Engaging students in active learning: Case studies in geography, environment and related disciplines. Cheltenham: Geography Discipline Network and School of Environment, University of Gloucestershire.Google Scholar
  24. Hilbert, M., & Lopez, P. (2011). The world’s technological capacity to store, communicate and compute information. Science, 332, 60–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. International Fund for Houbara Conservation. (2017). Retrieved from
  26. Kagima, L. K., & Hausafus, C. O. (2001). Faculty: The central element in instructional technology integration. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 93(4), 33–36.Google Scholar
  27. Kaur, S. (2012). How is “Internet of the 3D printed products” going to affect our lives? IETE Technical Review, 29(5), 360–364. Scholar
  28. Khine, M. S., Ali, N., Santos, I. M., Gromik, N., & Hill, A. (2017). Integrating 3D printing in the curriculum to support STEM education. In Proceedings of International Symposium on Education and Psychology (ISEP 2017) (pp. 284–292). Kyoto, Japan.Google Scholar
  29. Kubieck, J. P. (2005). Inquiry-based learning, the nature of science, and computer technology: New possibilities in science education. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology/La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie, 31(1).Google Scholar
  30. Looi, C. K., Zhang, B., Chen, W., Seow, P., Chia, G., Norris, C., et al. (2011). 1:1 mobile inquiry learning experience for primary science students: A study of learning effectiveness. Journal of Computer Assisted learning, 27(3), 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lowe, P. (2004). The effect of cooperative group work and assessment on the attitudes of students towards science in New Zealand (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Curtin University, Australia.Google Scholar
  32. Macpherson, R., Kachelhoffer, P., & El Nemr, M. (2007). The radical modernization of school and education system leadership in the United Arab Emirates: Towards indigenized and educative leadership. International Studies in Educational Administration, 35(1), 60–77.Google Scholar
  33. Maldonado, H., & Pea, R. D. (2010). LET’S GO! To the creek: co-design of water quality inquiry using mobile science collaboratories. In Proceedings of the Sixth International IEEE Conference on Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technologies in Education (WMUTE 2010) (pp. 81–87). IEEE.Google Scholar
  34. McMinn, M., Dickson, M., & Kadbey, H. (2015). Emirati Science Teachers’ beliefs, self-confidence, challenges faced and their reported practice. International Online Journal of Primary Education (IOJPE), 4(1). ISSN: 1300-915X.Google Scholar
  35. Menano, L., & Fidalgo, P. (Eds.). (2017). Art and technology: The practice and influence of art and technology in education. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  36. Mohammed, N. (2017). Project-based learning in higher education in the UAE : A case study of Arab students in Emirati Studies. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 14(2), 1–14.
  37. Nasir, S. (2018, March 11). Teacher turnover is taking a toll on quality of instruction in the UAE. Khaleej Times. Retrieved May 25th, 2018 from
  38. Parkman, S., Litz, D., & Gromik, N. (2017). Examining pre-service teachers’ acceptance of technology-rich learning environments: A UAE case study. Education and Information Technologies, 1–23.Google Scholar
  39. Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (2016). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from Washington, DC.
  40. Pennington, R. (2014, January 13). Smart Learning Program transforms education in UAE’s government schools. The National. Retrieved May 25th, 2018, from
  41. Pennington, R. (2016, August 29). Sweeping reforms in UAE schools overhaul. The National. Retrieved May 25th, 2018, from
  42. Salajan, F. D., Schönwetter, D. J., & Cleghorn, B. M. (2010). Student and faculty inter-generational digital divide: Fact or fiction? Computers & Education, 55(3), 1393–1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sansing, C. (2015). 3-D printing: Worth the hype? Retrieved March 11, 2018, from
  44. Santos, I. (2013). Integrating personal mobile devices in teaching: the impact on student learning and institutional support. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 10(2), 1–15. Retrieved from
  45. Serhan, D. (2007). School principals’ attitudes towards the use of technology: United Arab Emirates technology workshop. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 6(2).Google Scholar
  46. Serhan, D. (2009). Preparing pre-service teachers for computer technology integration. International Journal of Instructional Media, 36(4), 439–448.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, C. (2016). A framework for understanding and gauging faculty change and evolution in teaching. Faculty Development in Developing Countries: Improving Teaching Quality in Higher Education, 174.Google Scholar
  48. Sullivan, A., Strawhacker, A., & Bers, M. U. (2017). Dancing, drawing, and dramatic robots: Integrating robotics and the arts to teach foundational STEAM concepts to young children. In Robotics in STEM education (pp. 231–260). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  49. Swan, M. (2011, June 21). Universities need more Emirati teachers. The National. Retrieved on May 25th from
  50. Tairab, H. (2013). Assessing Science Teachers’ Content Knowledge and confidence in teaching science: How Confident are UAE Prospective Elementary Science Teachers? Florida Journal of Educational Research, 51, 1–20.Google Scholar
  51. Tamim, R. M. (2013). Teachers’ use of YouTube in the United Arab Emirates: An exploratory study. Computers in the Schools, 30(4), 329–345. Scholar
  52. TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. (2011). TIMSS 2011: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Lynch School of Education, B. C. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from
  53. UAE Vision 2021. (2010). UAE Vision 2021. Retrieved from
  54. Wilson, R., Goodman, J., Bradbury, L., & Gross, L. (2013). Exploring the use of iPads to investigate forces and motion in an elementary science methods course. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 13(2), 105–126.Google Scholar
  55. Wiseman, A. W., Abdelfattah, F. A., & Almassaad, A. (2016). The intersection of citizenship status, STEM education, and expected labor market participation in gulf cooperation council countries. Digest of Middle East Studies, 25(2), 362–392. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Dickson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia Fidalgo
    • 1
  • Dean Cairns
    • 1
  1. 1.Emirates College for Advanced EducationAbu DhabiUAE

Personalised recommendations