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This episode will run October 28, 2023 at Noon eastern.

The Rapid Expansion and Impact of The Digital School (TDS) with Dr. Waleed Al-Ali, Secretary General, TDS; Dr. Fuzan Al-Khalidi, Strategy and Organizational Development Advisor, TDS; and Dr. Lesley Snowball, Educational Director, TDS

From the visionary perspective of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the transformation of digital education from a concept into a thriving reality has been nothing short of remarkable. Since its inception on November 11th, 2020, this initiative has been driven by unwavering dedication, with a resolute aim to reach one million students and beneficiaries by the year 2026. Today, our footprint spans eight countries, where we proudly extend the benefits of digital education to over 100,000 beneficiaries.

The strength of TDS lies in its diverse range of offerings, designed to bridge educational gaps in underserved communities. We work tirelessly at both the strategic and technical levels, collaborating with countries to facilitate the transformation of their education systems into digital paradigms. A key facet of our mission is empowering educators – we provide professional development teacher training, empowering them to attain certification as digital educators. Additionally, we engage in pilot programs in close partnership with each host country’s ministry of education. These pilots allow us to gauge the feasibility of a full-fledged implementation, which stands as our ultimate long-term goal.

The core of our TDS model is its adaptability. We start by aligning with the national curriculum of the country where we operate, and then we methodically digitize it. Our education team crafts comprehensive lesson plans for various subjects, making these resources readily accessible through our Learning Management System. In summary, our approach to the digital school model is both unique and contextualized, tailored to the distinct needs of each country we serve. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here; our commitment lies in meeting the educational aspirations of diverse communities worldwide.

And last, but not least, the heart of The Digital School is in its educators – the facilitators and teachers who support the learning of TDS students. Many of our educators have no prior experience of using technology in the classroom. We have purposefully designed a sequence of professional development courses that orientate, guide and inspire them to be effective digital practitioners.

Readings and Resources: The Digital School progress and impact report

More about our guests below the video

Episode Guests

Dr.Waleed Al-Ali is Secretary General at The Digital School.

Dr. Waleed Al Ali – is the Secretary General and board member for The Digital School Initiative, He also holds responsibilities in a number of leading initiatives in Dubai including senior advisor at Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI), the general coordinator for e-learning initiative and the coordinator for Dubai Future Council for Humanitarian Aid. Dr.Waleed has extensive experience in the areas of strategic planning, educational strategies, digital transformation, and social & development innovation. Waleed has worked with leading private and public organizations in UAE including Dubai Holding, UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, and Mohammed Bin Rashid’s Smart Learning Program. Dr.Waleed holds a PhD in Project and Innovation Management, Master’s degree in IT Management and Bachelor’s degree in Information Security.

Dr. Fuzan AlKhalidi is Education and Strategy Advisor at The Digital School.

Dr. Fuzan AlKhalidi is a seasoned education strategy advisor at the Digital School, part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives. With over 18 years of experience, Dr. AlKhalidi has held various leadership roles in strategic planning, healthcare management, and the implementation of national education and healthcare projects. Dr. AlKhalidi is known for his visionary thinking and a strong track record of turning plans into successful outcomes. He holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Dr. Lesley Fern Snowball – Education Director – The Digital School

As the Education Director, Dr. Lesley Snowball directs and leads all aspects of The Digital School education strategy, including pedagogy, content and professional development for educators. With more than 30 years as an educator, Dr. Lesley’s educational passions and specific areas of expertise include students’ self-directed learning, curriculum design, multilingualism, inclusive education, and school improvement. Dr. Lesley has incorporated technologies into her classroom since volunteering to pilot a Sinclair ZX81 in the 1980s with her special needs students, and since 2010, has designed and taught online courses as Adjunct Professor of Education with George Mason University in Fairfax VA. She co-authored and published the Intemational Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and published more than 100 education resources with Pearson Education and Paramount Publishing. Dr. Lesley has a Doctorate in teachers’ professional development, a Masters’ degree in curriculum design, and an Advanced Diploma in language learning, A passionate multiculturalist, she has lived and/or worked in more than 50 countries worldwide.