Gamified Learning Takes Hold in Dubai -Shafaque Riaz, UAE

“My mother was a teacher, so she was an inspiration. [What inspired me was] how reachable she was to her students all the time. If they were having an issue, if they were having any problems, they could talk to her any time. She was very much accessible and she was there to support them.” – Shafaque Riaz, Dubai

For Shafaque Riaz, listening to Ziauddin Youssafzai (father of Malala) advocate for girls’ education at the recent E2 conference hit close to home. Both of Riaz’s parents are from Pakistan, where Yousaffzai and his daughter are fighting for girls’ education. And that background played a big role in Riaz’s own commitment to gender equality in education. 

Riaz places a high level of importance on building strong relationships with her students, regardless of gender. “A teacher is not there only to teach you subject and content,” she says. “[A teacher must also teach you] to be a good human being. You spend a major part of your [young] life with that person, so that person should be someone you can look up to, who you can idolize.”

Connecting with her students on a personal level is critical to Riaz, but she’s also focused on imparting the kind of skills they’ll need for their next steps. Riaz uses games-based learning to meet students where they are.

Her Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert project, Game Jam, had students learning game design principles, from story line and narrative to mechanics, research and analysis. This project required students to collaborate with each other and a wider community, while also learning to be “in charge” as independent learners.

Riaz frequently writes about gamified learning, problem-solving and other related topics, and as this profile demonstrates, she’s continuously working to evolve her own practices, while sharing them with others. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Shafaque Riaz, an innovative and inspired educator.


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