Founder of MetaMindz, a learning and enrichment centre with a difference, Irum Farhat Farooq talks to us about the importance of digital learning and why parents are getting involved too.
How did MetaMindz come about?
I am a trained English Language instructor with international experience and I set out to explore ways to make English learning fun and experiential for children. I didn’t want to dictate to my students or have them go through lectures or inundate them with worksheets. I wanted them to participate in their learning in the style they are most comfortable with. In the process, I discovered that doing any supporting activity on a multimedia device would light up their little faces. And so it became clear to me what today’s digital natives needed; academic subjects that blend technology in core instruction. We offer Maths, English, Sciences, SAT prep, Robotics, Financial Literacy and Personality Development courses to children and young adults, individualised according to our students needs and supported by cutting edge programs from US and UK.
Why will MetaMindz appeal to parents?
Our skill-based learning method allows us to focus on student’s individual needs regardless of school and curriculum (if you need to know quadratics, we will make sure you will. It does not matter to us whether you are in grade 9 in a British school or grade 10 in an American school). Students start with a diagnostic test, which is free of charge, to establish needs and to set an initial learning path. The initial learning path may be re-architected by our tutors based on student progress, pace and further need identification. In some cases, a few hours at MetaMindz can fix gaps in a child’s learning and he/she is ready to fly!
What is on offer for kids?
Enrichment in core academic subjects like Maths, English, Sciences and Economics are offered for Elementary to High school students. SAT Test prep for High schoolers and General English for adults is also offered. At MetaMindz we also know the importance of co-curricular subjects like Robotics, Financial Literacy, Art and Personality Development since these complement core academic learning. We therefore provide a holistic learning experience to students under one roof.
Tell us about the tutors involved, how do they engage with and encourage the children?
At MetaMindz, our tutors wear different hats which change as student’s progress through our program. Starting as friendly guides at the time of assessment, our tutors become learning architects who design individual learning paths. They then become mentors, nudging students forward and scaffolding their learning through the computer-assisted learning and switch to remediation experts when it’s time to give learning a bigger push.
How are the lessons structured? Is it fun for the kids?
One of the core philosophies behind blended learning at MetaMindz is to make students “independent learners”. To achieve this, each lesson is structured as a blend between online and face to face components; the online component offers colourful animation, quizzes and activities that allow students to work at their own pace towards independent learning. Online learning is often followed by worksheets to reinforce concepts learnt online.
What kind of results has MetaMindz seen from the kids who attend?
Students join us for different reasons and goals. I am proud to say that, in nearly every case, we were able to achieve the desired outcome. For example, SAT Test takers are looking to reach a certain score and we have been able to do that in 99 per cent of the cases. At younger levels, students are looking to catch-up with school work and therefore see improvement in school grades. We get word back from parents about the higher proficiency levels reached by our students. To sum up, less than 5 per cent of parents discontinued our programs within the first month of joining (a metric that we use to determine our effectiveness).
Do you offer courses for parents too?
We offer General English from Cambridge University Press and ESP (English for Specific Purposes) courses to adults. We also have workshops on Financial Literacy and Power Point Presentation Skills for enterprising parents. IELTS is available for adults who are considering immigration.
How many branches are there in the Dubai?
Currently we have a branch in JLT, Dubai. Our second branch is opening in a few weeks in Motor City, Dubai.
Are there plans for expansion across the UAE?
We are constantly approached by interested education providers from the region and even internationally to venture out. At this time, we are discussing two locations internationally. We are always looking to partner with enterprising people who want to make a difference to their communities through education.
www.metamindz.com (04 368 5604).