4 things we learnt from listening to university educators during the 3rd Annual Digital Campus Forum

Not too long ago, Digital Senior attended the 3rd Annual Digital Campus Forum organised by Clariden Global as a media partner.

Held from 7-9 December 2020, the event saw leading educators from Singapore’s education institutions come together to share insights and discuss how to leverage the latest education technologies for enhanced learning experiences and knowledge retention.

Here are some interesting takeaways from the event that we’d like to share with all of you!

Disclaimer:  Not to worry, the event followed very stringent social distancing measures!

1) We need to know how to learn the right way

The keynote speaker for this event was Professor Robert Kamei, Associate Provost (Education) and Director, Institute for Application of Learning Science and Educational Technology (ALSET) at the National University of Singapore—we’re certain that some of you may know of him, or have taken a class with him before!

During his keynote speech, Prof. Kamei shared about the need to get ready for the new normal in education. It’s one where we’ll see new jobs created across multiple industries, including ones with job scopes that will be entirely new and unheard of. Students (that’s you!) will then need to have 21st century skills like digital literacy and critical thinking, and be able to learn quickly.

Professor Kamei shared that students will then need to know how to learn strategically, and that many students are unaware of how to learn well. To help them, NUS has rolled out a module called ‘Learning to Learn Better’, and Professor Kamei has an upcoming book in the works that you can check out. It will be called ‘Strategic Learning: A Holistic Approach to Studying’, and we can’t wait for its release so that we can learn how to learn better too. Until then, you can follow Professor Kamei’s Instagram page for insights and further tips!

Here are some ideas that may boost your learning, which we can offer whilst you wait:

2) Having empathy in ‘the never normal’

I wish that we were the ones to coin ‘the never normal’, because this is such a witty way to describe the current times we find ourselves in and the future ahead of us, but we didn’t. It was used by Dr. John Fong, the President and CEO of JF & Associates Global Consultancy, and we thought it was too accurate not to share!

Indeed, we’re now living in the ‘never normal’, and as Dr. Catherine Shea Sanger (the Director, Centre for Teaching & Learning at Yale-NUS College) shared during her talk on teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, educators need to recognise that a community spirit and camaraderie are very important.

What struck us deeply was her point about how some students discovered learning impediments that may have otherwise gone unnoticed due to the sudden change in learning modes, (some examples of this are poor vision and hearing difficulties) and the varying levels of trauma and worry that may have arose.

It’s a timely reminder that times have been tough on everyone, and that our peers may be going through situations we aren’t aware of. Be kind to them and reach out when you can; most of all, be kind to yourself as well. Let’s all establish what Dr. Sanger aptly calls ‘camaraderie in crisis’!

A panel discussion during the event

3) Gamification in education: SMU’s Accounting Challenge app

Singapore Management University has been making wonderful strides when it comes to incorporating gameplay elements in their curriculum, and we think that you should check out the Accounting Challenge app if you haven’t already.

Created to answer to student’s needs for more exercises and practise sets, it was first launched in 2013 and can be downloaded from both the Apple app store and the Google Play store for free. The app has since been downloaded over 30,000 times and has received several awards[i], with one of them being the Runner-Up award at the Howard Teall Innovation in Accounting Education Award.

The app currently has timed MCQ questions for users to answer, and a leader board to motivate students to get fired up. We hear that SMU has exciting plans to make the app even better, so keep your eyes peeled on both this article and the app!

4) Tech in education: NUS Medicine 

Did you know that immersive learning plays a part in an NUS Medicine student’s education?  The use of gamification and VR gaming systems has only accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and here’s a sneak peek of how NUS Medicine students have been learning in their classes!

NUS Medicine students have also been learning more about the human anatomy through the Virtual Interactive Human Anatomy (VIHA) system! While VR can’t fully replace in-person and actual hands-on learning, it’s definitely a welcome and engaging solution!

Did you learn new things like how we did? There was so much to listen to and absorb during the event, and we hope we’ve succeeded in bringing some of the highlights to you! We couldn’t thank Clariden Global enough for extending an invite and look forward to what’s in store next year!


[i] https://accountancy.smu.edu.sg/accounting-challenge-ace


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