September 28th, 2007

Back from EC-TEL07

Another week, another conference :)

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This time, it was the EC-TEL07 (European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning) in Crete. Elisa Dalla Vecchia and I presented the MACE project (slides, video 1, video 2) and besides, met a lot of nice people.

The conference itself was really well organized. The keynotes (Hermann Maurer and Bruce Sterling) were excellent and big picture, covering a wide range of digital lifestyle topics and wild ideas. Digital quacks & charlatans, why Google is not so non-evil after all, telepathy is trivial, flying cars. No kidding. Many of the session talks, on the other hand, were not that exciting at all. I have the feeling many people in this area first build a “framework for…” before actually trying out some ideas on real learners.

More info on the conference blog, wiki and the flickr stream.

Greetings to Martin Memmel from DFKI, who I met to talk about the ALOE project and Christian Glahn, who presented nice work on Smart Indicators for learner feedback, and Joris Klerkx, who is quite into information visualization. I am looking forward to future developments, guys!

And just for the record, here are my favorite insider nerd joke conference memes:

April 11th, 2007

Innovationsforum Interaktionsdesign: a late review

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Although finished already over a week ago, some words on the Innovationsforum Interaktionsdesign organized by the Interface Design Program at FH Potsdam (where I happen to study). To put it short: It was a blast!

Especially remarkable:

• The design concept of the conference itself: excellently conceived and executed with love to detail. See monomo for some pictures. Props and respect to formdusche

• The line-up was really impressive – find complete coverage of the talks at wmmna. Lots of pictures also on flickr, especially James King’s scribbled coverage of some of the talks — here’s the one of the 10 minute talk I gave together with Fabian at the student’s panel: jameskinginnoforum.gif

• Bruce Sterling’s talk was, as expected, “something completely different” and he really hit the nail on the head a couple of times:

Never thinking about it again is the ideal relationship of a normal human being and an object. That is the opposite of how designers think. I realized this when I was teaching at Art Center College of Design. My students were doing media design, some of them, and very commonly they would come out with some gizmo on a neck pendant. “See, the user wears this large device dangling around his neck, and…” “No,” I would tell them, “your design project is not hung around the user’s neck. The user has other uses for his neck. This project is hung around YOUR neck. You’re the designer, you’re the one who has to obsess about the device, not them.” You obsess MORE. Let them obsess LESS.

Read Shaping Things if you haven’t yet.

Other than that, Anthony Dunne, Bernard Kerr and Tim Edler really impressed me.

An inspiring event, I wish we could have that every year!