December 2015, Issue 72


Highlights of the Inaugural STELE Conference held on 16 and 17 November 2015

Centre for IT Services

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) hosted the inaugural Singapore Technology-Enabled Learning Experience (STELE) Conference on 16th and 17th November 2015, first of its kind involving the six local universities (NTU, NUS, SMU, SUTD, SIT and UniSIM). The conference was held at NTU's Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre and the newly launched beautiful learning hub, The Hive. Some 500 faculty and academics from the six local universities participated in the event.

Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre

The Hive

This inaugural national conference, initiated by the Ministry of Education, aimed to inspire and excite the higher education sectors to engage and adopt technology-enabled learning strategies in the learning and teaching landscape. It brought together the six local universities to embark on a joint effort and close collaboration to promote technology-enabled learning in shaping future education ecosystems at universities in Singapore.

Themed “Shaping Future @ Universities”, the conference discussed what universities are doing now and what they intend to do to shape the future environment in which students in Singapore learn. It focused on a vision of the future in which educational technology is adopted and integrated in the everyday experience of students, and thereby enhancing and improving the quality of learning. Technology-enabled learning has become an unavoidable necessity, and hence the conference focused less on ‘why’, than on ‘how’ and ‘where to now’.


Prof Lee Sing Kong, Vice President (Education Strategies) and Chairman of the organising committee, first welcomed all participants to the conference with a warm welcome speech.  NTU President, Prof Bertil Andersson, then delivered an inspiring opening address, followed by the Guest of Honour Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Social and Family Development, who graced the occasion with an insightful speech on learning and teaching landscape in Singapore.

In the first keynote address at the two-day conference, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Prof Carl Wieman, a professor of physics at Stanford University, delivered his lecture on stage – as a hologram, the first ever education conference using such technology in Singapore. He greeted an enthusiastic audience (some of whom then moved to the front seats at the Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre to get a better view), and even "shook hands" with the master of ceremonies. Via the interactive hologram from Stanford, some 14,000km away in the United States, Prof Wieman spoke on how technology could support teaching methods. The presentation was arranged by NTU and is believed to be the first lecture delivered via hologram by an educational institution here. 

Prof John Brown, advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California (USC), then delivered a keynote on “Re-imagining learning in/for our exponential age”. This was followed by a video presentation on the innovative use of ICT to enrich the learning and teaching experience in Singapore schools. The video was provided by the Ministry of Education.

The second day’s keynote on learning spaces and their design was delivered by Prof Philip Long, Associate Vice Provost for Learning Sciences, University of Texas, Austin. The session was wrapped up with a panel discussion by the keynote speakers and representatives from the universities. Topics included the need to create a culture of mind-set shift, and the approaches to adopt new online learning technologies to achieve the various learning outcomes.

Being a technology-enabled conference, participants witnessed the use of cutting-edge and emerging technologies. Besides holographic technology, mobile app, video streaming, social media and collaboration tools were adopted to support the event and to achieve a paperless objective.

Through the afternoon concurrent breakout sessions and workshops conducted by the six universities, as well as exhibitions by technology partners, participants were free to explore and discuss the online learning trends, technologies, solutions and best practices. The workshop sessions were designed to provide an immersive technology-enabled experience which drew on the student engagement models associated with ‘flipped-classroom’ and ‘blended’ learning pedagogies, leveraging on state-of-the-art learning technologies, and underpinned by good pedagogical and instructional design perspective. These included Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), smart classrooms and innovative learning approaches such as team-based learning and learning through gamification.

A breakout session in progress
One of the technologies & solutions exhibitions


To download the presentation slides of the conference, please visit