Monday, 3 December 2007

Online Educa Berlin 2007: Day 0

I was at Online Educa Berlin (OEB) last week, where I was giving a talk on issues in sharing educational resources via learnig object repositories. This was my second time at OEB, and based on my previous expereince (in 2002), I didn't have high expectations. I was however pleasantly surprised with the overall good quality of this year's keynotes and most parallel sessions I attended (maybe I am getting better at judging the potential quality of a session from a short description in the programme :-)

I was mostly twittering - rather twitter spamming - the sessions, as well as taking notes, however I thought I would consolidate my impressions from each of the three conference days in a bit more reflective way than twitter allows.

Many other people blogged about the various aspects of the conference: Inge de Waard , Steven Verjans , Wilfred Rubens (in Dutch) , Marc Dupuis , Keith Russell , Willem Karssenberg (in Dutch) , Steve Wheeler , and Sebastian Graeb-Konneker among others.

Before the conference, I attended a full-day pre-conference workshop on "Research in e-Learning in Berlin's Universities" organised by Technical University of Berlin. I was unimpressed either by the organisation or by the content of the workshop. Firstly, it was not a workshop as it was advertised but a tightly packed series of presentations with very little time for discussion or any hands on stuff (isn't that what workshops are meant to be?). The research that was reported was rather uninspiring (not to say boring), although reasonably well executed methodologically - evaluation of CD-ROM based course materials, use of VLE in primary schools, and so on.
Berner Lindtsrom from Gotheborg University was on the agenda with the most promising-sounding presentation on application of socio-cultural approaches to technology-enhanced learning - and I was very much looking forward to his talk given my interest in activity theory. Unfortunately he spent most of his presentation talking about his research group and his university (which was interesting but not the reason why people had paid to attend this workshop) .

We had a lovely lunch though (glorious German bread, I couldn't get enough of it!), and I met Prof. Casper Schutte who teaches Chemistry at University of Pretoria, who had a great sense of humor and who knew some of my previous colleagues from University of Twente, so we had a nice conversation at the Conference Party the next day.

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