Published on: 16-Nov-2015
Educators from six local universities are gathering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) to share the latest ideas and solutions on how technology can enhance students’ learning.
The inaugural Singapore Technology-Enabled Learning Experience (Singapore TELE) conference will see more than 600 university educators present and discuss key topics and methods related to technology in education.
These include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), smart classrooms, cloud-based e-learning and innovative learning approaches such as team-based learning, blended learning and learning through gaming.
The six universities taking part in the two-day conference are NTU, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and SIM University (UniSIM).
The Guest-of-Honour of this inaugural national conference is Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
In his welcome address, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said as a forerunner in adopting technology-enabled learning, NTU is honoured to lead this inaugural conference.
“With ready access to digital resources, students today don’t need to be taught more content but rather what they can do with the knowledge acquired. How can educators encourage curiosity and ignite their passion to learn? And how can technology be harnessed to nurture the skills students need to excel in the 21st century workplace? At NTU, we have already started implementing the flipped classroom pedagogy, team-based learning, and Massive Open Online Courses. We have just opened The Hive, a technology-enabled learning hub with smart classrooms and also established a centre dedicated to doing research on new pedagogies for effective learning at the tertiary level,” said Prof Andersson.
Professor Lee Sing Kong, NTU’s Vice President for Education Strategies, the Chair of the Singapore TELE, said the insights given by the speakers and the participants from this conference are important as they will chart the future of learning in Singapore.
“All universities in the world are facing a common challenge: a new generation of tech-savvy learners. These learners are digital natives well-versed in googling for answers to questions in their quest for knowledge,” explained Prof Lee.
“The feedback we have received from this new generation of learners include a desire for more face-to-face time with their peers in the classroom and more online resources which they can access anywhere at their own pace and time.
“So we need to be looking at the following questions: What kind of education do we want to create through technology-enabled learning? What are the current and emerging practices worth developing further? And how do we encourage the adoption of these new practices?”
Renowned experts inspire educators
Shedding light on the future of the university education landscape were three internationally renowned educators, which included Professor Carl Edwin Wieman the 2001 Nobel Prize winner in Physics.
Prof Wieman, named the United States Professor of the Year in 2004, is renowned for his research which shows that team-based learning helps students learn physics better than traditional lectures.
To demonstrate the possibilities of augmented virtual reality, NTU arranged for Prof Wieman to give his presentation via an interactive holographic display direct from Stanford University in the United States.
The other two keynote speakers who spoke at NTU were Professor Philip D Long, Associate Vice Provost for Learning Sciences at University of Texas, Austin and Professor John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation.
Prof Long is known for his work on Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and the design of modern learning environments such as the blended classroom.
Prof Brown, an independent Co-Chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge and a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California, has also published various books on research and innovation. He had integrated social sciences and arts into the traditional physics and computer science research during his time at Xerox. His latest book explores play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning and is titled The New Culture of Learning.
NTU’s push towards technology-enabled learning
Over the past few years, classes at NTU have been moving towards technology-enabled learning (TEL), which uses multimedia components such as 2D/3D animations, simulations, augmented and virtual reality.
Just last month, NTU officially opened The Hive, the centrepiece of its new learning pedagogy known as the flipped classroom. In this new mode of learning, students access course content on digital devices and the face time with professors in class is devoted to team-based learning.
The Hive has 56 smart classrooms equipped with the latest technologies to support team-based learning. In the last three years, NTU has converted most of its tutorial rooms into smart classrooms and after The Hive, NTU is now building a second learning hub which will be ready by 2017.
NTU aims to redesign at least 150 courses for the flipped classroom in the next year, with a third of them already completed. Over the next five years, 1,500 courses will be redesigned using this new pedagogy. It will invest about $75 million implementing this new approach to learning.
Marking this TEL transformation is also a new integrated learning and teaching platform – i-NTULearn – to be launched in 2016. Designed as a virtual learning environment for both students and faculty, it provides easy access to online learning resources, peer collaboration, as well as student records and exam systems.
Internationally, NTU has some of the most popular courses hosted on Coursera, one of the world’s leading Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms. These courses have seen a total of 200,000 enrolments worldwide since the first NTU course launched in February 2014.
Taught by NTU’s best professors, the courses are varied in topic and lets participants from around the world have a chance to experience NTU’s teaching. . These courses include: “An Exploration of Symmetry”, “Foundations of E-Commerce” and “Forensic Science”.
NTU is also the world’s first university which allows credits or academic units from Coursera’s ‘Signature Track’ courses to be used by students to fulfil part of their degree requirements.
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Nanyang Technological University
About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg
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