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21 October 2007 / erikduval

EC-TEL07: the conversation continues

Time is broken: how else could it already be more than four weeks ago that EC-TEL07 closed?

Gráinne Conole blogged about the workshop on “WWWrong: What Went Wrong? What Went Right? Exchanging Experiences in Technology Enhanced Learning” that I helped to organize. We had a really good discussion on what failure and success really means in our context and I was struck by how many perspectives people have on this issue – or should I say by how confused people really are about this topic…

Adam blogs that it was “good conference with a lot of interesting talks in very nice location”🙂 He participated in the SIRTEL workshop on social information retrieval that I also helped to organize. (The educational data mining workshop is covered by Anjo.)

Mo presented our MACE project, and remarks:

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.

Indeed, I was very happy with the keynotes: Bruce did a “different” one, read a piece from his forthcoming new book and got me thinking about “attention camp” – not exactly the vision we try to enable through our work on attention metadata. Hermann talked about the influence of technology on what we learn, not only on how we learn. He also argued that Google has become way too powerful and that it should be forced to break up – a theme that is certainly getting more and more traction.

Kai Pata blogged the keynotes (Bruce, Hermann) in more detail and also covers the session where Pat Manson presented the EU initiatives. Chris enjoyed Hermann’s keynote and Ralf was also struck by attention camp. Davinia started reading some of Hermann’s science fiction writing after the keynote. Both keynotes certainly created a certain “buzz” at the conference and, as mentioned, I was very happy with them.

Of course, you can hear for yourself and check the sound recordings on the EC-TEL wiki, where we also provide recordings of all the other talks! Some presenters have also added their slides, or references to their prototypes on the wiki. This is already becoming a nice addition to the proceedings, though I am a bit underwhelmed with the response so far. (No need to worry: if you presented at ECTEL, then do feel free to add your material now!)

Another outcome is the ECTEL group on facebook – a sign of the times, I guess😉

Overall, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. My highlight was the conversation I did with Bruce and Hermann in the evening under the warm evening open Cretan sky, about science fiction, flying cars, expanding the scope of the thinkable, etc. – listen for yourself. Certainly, I want to try more of this different-kind-of-format sessions at conferences. If you have any suggestions, or other feedback on the conference, please let me know!

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