Advanced learning technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning show incredible potential for enabling school learners and university students doing STEM subjects to better understand difficult concepts through experiential and interactive learning, and to motivate and inspire them to take up careers in STEM. The COVID-19 pandemic has created extensive disruptions to education both at school and tertiary levels, resulting in urgency to implement and develop solutions to combat this disturbance. The recognition of technology-enabled learning (TEL) that has been forced due to the pandemic is opening doors to learning opportunities that are unprecedented in human history. However, the recognition of the affordances of such technologies is not merely a reaction to the limitations brought on by the pandemic, but is a marker for the future of STEM education in this country.

In South Africa, the imperative for the integration of ICT in learning is expressed through the White paper on e-Learning where it is stated that the successful integration of ICTs can advance higher-order thinking skills such as problem solving and creative thinking, and enhance employability. In the midst of a global information technology revolution, South Africa needs to keep abreast of learning technologies and how these can be exploited in scaffolding learning. In an emerging economy like South Africa, there is a strong need to exploit the use of technology within the sphere of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the advancement of knowledge acquisition.

The University of Johannesburg through its strategic focus on 4IR initiatives is at the forefront in research in the development and use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in STEM education subjects. In recognition of this leadership role, the university has been invited to host the international Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology-Enhanced Learning (VARTEL) Conference will bring together top scholars and researchers from throughout the world who will share cutting-edge research with the community of lecturers and teachers in STEM. We are excited to host you, and our esteemed keynote speakers: Professor Wouter van Joolingen from Utrecht University and Professor Eleni Mangina from University College Dublin. The conference will be held in hybrid format during 1-2 December 2022 with delegates attending in-person at the UJ Library and other delegates participating virtually.


  1. In anticipation, I perceive an inspiring and insightful conference presentations on learning technologies that would enhance learning of difficult concepts in STEM.

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