"Let my laptop lead the way": A middle eastern study

Bradley Saunders
Phil Quirke

Abstract

This paper describes the experiences of both students and faculty in two tertiary institutions in the Middle East: a university for women and a vocational college for men. Both of these institutions have recently made it mandatory for students to purchase a laptop computer. Four factors are identified as crucial when introducing new technological innovations into curricula: culture, gender, infrastructure and support, and faculty. Moreover, specific cultural factors affect Gulf and Islamic students. Gender differences in learning styles are of particular importance given the single-sex school background of all students in this Islamic state. The impact of unexpected technical problems and the need for institutions to develop and implement integrated plans for change are considered particularly important to faculty, who have to cope with a new workload created by the introduction of laptops and an unexpected new learning paradigm.