New respect for Samsung for helping Special Needs Students using New Technologies

It’s been ages since I last saw Isphana of the Al Noor Centre for Special Needs – she used to be a fellow member of the Business Women’s Group so catching up with her recently was literally a blast from the past in its true sense.

We were talking about the ipad craze and Isphana mentioned how Samsung products were now being integrated into Al Noor’s Centre curriculum to empower students with special needs and help them learn more easily. I always admired Isphana’s commitment to developing trans-disciplinary training programmes as this was something we always strived to do at the Juliett McCully Speech Training Centre in KL and was a hot topic when I was training in our Singapore Head office in 1999.

Isphana’s hard work in these areas thankfully is being recognised and I was delighted to hear that she was a few years ago the recipient of the Princess Haya Awards for Special Education as the Outstanding Special Needs Centre in the U.A.E.

Going back to Samsung Gulf Electronics and Al Noor Training Center for Children with Special Needs, Isphana mentioned how committed Samsung was to provide products focusing on enabling students to learn more easily by integrating Samsung’s technologies in classrooms. She has the support of Mr. Young Soo Kim, President of Samsung Gulf Electronics who in fact has committed taking the partnership with Al Noor one step further by integrating our technologies and products into the curriculum.

This integration will tap into the students’ inherent capabilities to help them reach their full potential with the hope to create specific applications in the future to suit each student’s needs….how remarkable is that.

As part of a new Memorandum of Understanding, Samsung will play a holistic role to support the Center’s cause. Under the ‘Samsung Hope for Children’ program, Samsung will donate 50 of its latest GALAXY Tabs and 15 of its newly-launched SLATE PC Series 7. The devices will be integrated in the students’ education curriculums to help them learn more intuitively. Samsung will also help raise funds for the organization through its Ramadan campaign and the Al Noor-Samsung Fun Fair. Additionally, Samsung has developed a volunteer program whereby its employees will have the opportunity to contribute their time to Al Noor.

What impresses me most is that through its dedicated efforts, Samsung will provide students with tools, technologies and resources that will empower them and give them equal opportunities to be an integral part of the community. Well done Samsung and congratulations to Isphana for her commitment to children with special needs.

Exciting new science centre to be launched in Bahrain

Children interacting at the new state-of-the-art Bahrain Science Centre

Bahrain’s Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development has appointed MTE Studios to run operations of the Bahrain Science Centre which is slated to open soon to public. Experts in Science Centre and Museums operations and management, the company has been awarded a two year contract for Commissioning and Operating the new state-of-the-art Bahrain Science Center (BSC). According to the Minister of Human Rights and Social Development, Fatima Al Beloushi, the science centre will fall under the Directorate of Family and Childhood Development in her Ministry, and will contribute to formal and non-formal science education and awareness programmes in Bahrain. Khalid Ishaq, Assistant Undersecretary of Community Development of Bahrain’s Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development said, “Importance of science centres to the community and education is undebatable. Our aim is to strengthen the science and technology culture of Bahrain by engaging young people, and their families, in activities that excite their interest in science, technology and engineering.” The Ministry has awarded a two-year contract to MTE Studios to develop the science centre. MTE Studios is a consultancy company that specializes in the conceptualization, design, development and operation of science centres, museums, visitor centres and other edutainment destinations. One of their most recent projects was the development of the Museum of Science and Technology in Islam at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Commenting on the appointment, Ishaq said, “We are excited to open the centre soon and collaborate with MTE Studios, whom we have identified as an experienced and valuable partner for our new Science Centre. We are confident that their extensive experience in operating Science Centre’s will help us achieve our goal in the accomplishment of social cohesion and attract the young generation towards science education and research. We look forward to the launch and success of the new centre.” “We are delighted to be awarded this contract as we believe that a science centre will contribute strongly to the Ministry’s social development programmes”, says the CEO of MTE Studios, Ludo Verheyen. “It has been shown worldwide that science centres are one of the most effective ways of bringing science and technology into the mainstream of society and strengthening a country’s science culture”, added Verheyen. Over 2 500 interactive science centres have been established in more than 90 countries worldwide, and they receive over 310 million visitors per year. Globally, science centres and interactive museums have taken the lead in hands-on, inquiry-based learning, and have achieved a high trust rate for the accuracy of the information that they convey. The Bahrain Science Centre will be an active participant in this worldwide community of science centres. “Science centres play many important roles in society”, says Professor Mike Bruton, Director of Imagineering at MTE Studios and the Consultant Director of the new Science Centre. “These roles include promoting awareness of science and technology among the youth, families and adults, supporting the school curriculum in science, mathematics and technology, and creating a forum for public debate on topical science and technology issues.” School Groups will be formally invited to the Bahrain Science Centre from middle of April onwards. The target audience of the Bahrain Science Centre will be children as well as families and adults, and one of its most important roles will be to promote cross-generational learning between children and their parents and grandparents. The science centre will also endeavour to promote social engagement across different cultures as well as an ethos of lifelong learning.