Saturday, June 30, 2007

ED-MEDIA 2007, final day

Today's keynote was also excellent. Bebo White from Stanford (alias Santa Claus :-) ) presented a view on the so-called Web 2.0. Very nice! (I'll point here to his slides when they'll be available).

It was nice to hear the talk by Miriam Judge (Dublin City University) on the Interactive Whiteboards (IWB - Clair Bhana Idirghniomhacha in Gaelic...)

The work by the Leuven group (Erik Duval, Michael Meire, Xavier Ochoa presenter ) on their SAmgI system for automatic metadata generation for LOs was damn good! Exactly what I wanted to do - made in a better way than I had probably done it!

ED-MEDIA 2007, act III

June 28, 2007

The keynote speech by Terry Anderson, Athabasca University was quite good: Teaching and learning in a networked world. He made it available on, so here it is. Main concept: the taxonomy of the many, with transition from group to network to collective - see also communities of inquiry.
Interesting the Avanoo idea of asking info to the user as a return for users inquiries.
Among other examples of networking sites he mentioned
  • citeulike (A free online service to organise references to academic papers of interest and share them with others),
  • technorati (Real-time search for user-generated media (including weblogs) by tag or keyword),
  • slashdot (Source for technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues),
  • meeting wizard (Online meeting and event invitation hosted software program).
  • Facebook (a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them).

The rest of the day I was busy with my talks:
- Searching information in a collection of video-lectures,
- C3PO: a domain-aware course planning and publishing tool, presented by Joe Sant
- Case study: evaluation of a tool for searching inside a collection of multimodal e-lectures.

So I missed the talk by Li-Ling Chen on IWB and the one by Sandy Schuck and Matthew Kearney on the same topic.

Joe pointed me to the S5 system: a set of CSS for running a PPT-like presentation out of XHTML - cool. Thanks Joe!

ED-MEDIA 2007 - part II

June 27, 2007

Not a great day at the conference.

A few things to be remembered.

The CD-LOR project aims at identifying and analysing the factors that influence practical uptake and implementation of learning object (LO) repositories within a range of different learning communities.

Had a nice talk with Mike Wald, who had a presentation on using Speech Recognition to caption multimedia.


June 26, 2007

So I'm in Vancouver now. Beautiful surroundings - for what I've seen from the airplane. Unfortunately no time to visit them. Thanks to Joe Sant, I found an incredibly nice, good and inexpensive sushi place, called Tsunami (it's at Burrard and Robson). Joe also showed me downtown Vancouver. We had a nice walk on the west part.

I'm here for a conference - ED-MEDIA 2007.

First impression: lot of emphasis on Blogs and Podcasts as educational tools.

Best thing was a two-hours symposium on "Getting beyond centralized technologies in higher education", organized by Sebastian Fiedler.
The main issue was the death of Learning Management Systems (LMS), since they replicate functionalities that already exist on the web in a clumsly and closed way. The idea was that students should be able to use whatever tool they like. No more university-provided e-mail accounts and sites, but aggregation of several heterogeneous sources - see e.g. the concept of mesh-ups in the presentation by ??.
George Siemens made several good points: among them "the LMS should explode into a L + MS" separating the administrative management from the learning.

I learned about ManyEyes, Worldmapper, Quintura, Tagclouds, Elgg, Teqlo. Following that up I found a nice Web 2.0 tools list, and then a second one, then a third... how many are out there?

Learned the concept of "advance organizer" (Ausubel, D.P. (1960). The use of advance organizers in the learning and retention of meaningful verbal material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 51, 267-272.)

Other things:
- Found a neat tool for creating educatonal podcasts: Profcast (shareware for mac). Camstudio can be useful on Windows for recording whatever happens on screen and replay it later, or cerate a podcast out of it.

- A symposium on creating podcasts in courses was held by Li-Ling Chen. It was informative. Tools suggested were Audacity and Garageband to create audio mp3, movieMaker or iMovie to create .mov or .avi, xilisoft (shareware) to convert into mp4 (ffmpegX might do the same). Quicktime professional was also used. feedburn might be useful in the process. During the symposium Damien Koemans mentioned a new service by Amazon to create a transcript of a speech. It is done by a mix of machine and human processing (

- I also went to a symposium on Second Life as educational tool: too many people, too blah blah. Did not like it.

- Had a chat with German Nemirovskij - he has a project on using Semantic Web techniques to extract info from study module description (Bologna-agreement compliant description of university courses) for automatic comparison. Interesting, maybe overly ambitious?

AJAX frameworks

Got an e-mail from the Server Side with a list of Ajax frameworks - I'll keep a note here since they might be useful for some student projects in near future.

** Dojo 0.9 - Get an overview of the recently released, leaner, faster version of the Ajax powerhouse framework directly from the co-creator;
** DWR - Hear about advanced features for Reverse Ajax programming in the new release and more from creator Joe Walker;
** jQuery - Get information on how jQuery can specifically assist designers, and get both an introductory overview and an advanced session from creator John Resig;
** Prototype - Hear an overview on Prototype, and learn how to take full advantage of Prototype's unique features;
** Scriptaculous - See first hand how this framework can be used to help build larger Ajax applications;
** qooxdoo - Not ringing a bell? Only TAE features a session on this innovative new open source - and well documented - framework;
** Google Web Toolkit - Learn about one of the most popular frameworks for developers looking to build Ajax applications with Java - yes, Java;
** sympfony - Learn about rapid application development with this PHP5 platform;
** jMaki - Sun's Ajax architect dives into this client-server framework and how it can help build more extensible applications that are easier to integrate with your current environment;
** Xaja - Get insight into the first PHP Reverse Ajax framework from Xaja's lead developer;