United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) signed a partnership with Al Bayt Mitwahid Association, a community development organisation by employees of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in collaboration with technology giant Google and education sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) to develop a technology lab that seeks to turn young people's obsession with phones and gadgets into a desire to create their own products and businesses.
The Google Innovation Hub is scheduled to open by the end of this year at the UAEU’s Science and Innovation Park. There will be regular classes and workshops related to the development of Android mobile apps in a space known as the App Factory. Attendees aged between 16 and 24 years will also be able to learn coding for the Web, and in virtual reality.
At the Machine Learning area, students will be taught basic machine learning concepts through hands-on experiments. Google used this to develop Google Translate, and its search engine app Go Google. The user simply states what they are looking for and the results appear on the screen, as with Applie's Siri.
Over at the Maker Space, students between the ages of 8 and 16 years will be able to learn skills like 3D printing, robotics and laser cutting.
“The excessive use of mobile devices by our children is clear, but is it the right kind of use? With this centre we want it to become the right kind of use,” said Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, Chancellor of UAEU.
“I want to see students from the innovation hub participating in conferences for exceptional people; I want someone to stand up and say I am participating from Abu Dhabi, we should have a stamp everywhere.”
The facility can accommodate about 80 students at a time, with a plan to have six sessions every day. In future, courses may even be offered to teachers and other adult learners.