Friday, September 28, 2007

ICL conference in Villach - part 2: Talks

The talks were organized in parallel sessions - although the organizers did their best to make sure that all the papers were presented there was a non negligible number of no-show, which messed up the program by changing the timing mand making it difficult to jump from one session to the other. So I surely missed many good talks - parallel sessions are always a problem. Of those I attended to, some did not give me much, others were interesting. Here is a short note of those that I found worth listening.

- Claudia Steinberger from Klagenfurt gave a nice talk on her experience in running a course using web 1.5 (i.e. some web 2.0 techniques without a complete and satisfactory integration). I heard her talking about mobile learning a few years ago, I always like her talk. Simple stuff but well grounded, without nonsense.

- Matjaz Debeve, a slovenian PhD student, presented yet another system for recording videolectures. he mentioned a number of commercial system, I have to look at them in detail:
The main point of his work was to have a cart with all the necessary mounted on it (Camera, pc, microphones) and to provide subtitles and gesture language for deaf people.
He mentioned that they plan to conduct a usability evaluation using SUMI questionnaires and semistructured interviews (see also the FAO site on this).
They also plan to be compliant with the EBU reccomendations, event though they are for TV.

- Frantisek Schauer and Miroslava Ozvoldova presented a system for accessing and steering physics experiments on line. Experiments are built with the ISES system. Cute, but I'm not so convinced of their advantage with respect to real experiments or simulations.

Someone (maybe Balacheff?) mentioned applications of neuroscience to learning - Natural learning by Zulls - also quoted here: it looks like a theory that describes learning as a process that (to me) sonds very similar to the scientific method. Also Kolb's learning styles is something I should look a bit into (see also this).

BTW, following some pointers on Web 2.0 I found a site that looks juicy: social computing magazine.

The whole special track on Schools and ICT was good. Here are the talks:

Erika Hummer presented a report on supporting the introduction of ICT (and in particolar LMS) in Austrian classes ( One of the points in the project was to allocate money to teachers for doing extra work in the form of pairing to coach and mentor a colleague ( Another point was trying to relief the problema connected with the management of HW and SW by hosting Moodle instances in a centralized location (

Anton Knierzinger and Marianne Ebenhofer presented their initial work on intercultural integration in the primary schools. It seems that ICT can be really effective on this crucial issue.

Then came my talk on Interactive Whiteboards. The slides are available on Slideshare: Introducing interactive whiteboards in the schools: an experience report (paper written together with Benjamin Dandoy).
Unlukily my talk was at the same time as the one by Enrique Canessa and Marco Zennaro, that presented their fully automated lecture recording EyA system that I saw last week in Trieste, but we had the time to talk and exchange ideas couple of times in these days.

Stevens Scott (Carnegie Mellon University) presented a work aimed at helping novice Physics teachers.: the PATHWAY project. It is based upon the informedia project that extracts metadata from movies by creating transcripts and analysing them. They also have a question-answering system that analyses the query and provids a pre-digested response in the form of a movie (

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