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EC-TEL 2007

by , 11. 12. 2007

The second European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning took place 17-20 September at the Kalimera Kriti hotel in the beautiful setting of Crete, Greece. After the success of EC-TEL 2006, this Second European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2007) provides a unique forum for all research related to technology enhanced learning, including its interactions with knowledge management, business processes and work environments.

This is a competitive and broad forum for technology enhanced learning research in Europe and world-wide through specialized workshops, the doctoral consortium and the main conference. EC-TEL 2007 provides unique networking possibilities for participating researchers throughout the week and includes project meetings and discussions for ongoing and new research activities supported by the European Commission.

With the advance of metadata, standards, learning objects, Web 2.0 approaches to rip, mix & burn learning, wikis, blogs, syndication, user generated content, web-based video, games and the ubiquitous availability of computing devices we can and have to offer more flexible learning services on a global scale. As one of the objectives of the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission puts it: We need "responsive environments for technology-enhanced learning that motivate, engage and inspire learners, and which are embedded in the business processes and human resources management systems of organizations". An important challenge is to bridge between informal learning strategies of the knowledge society and formal competence development programs of organizations.

Again this year, the TEL community was very active sending high quality contributions on established and new research topics. The conference received 116 high-quality paper submissions. All of these were reviewed by at least three reviewers. After detailed deliberations, 30 submissions were selected to be presented at the conference as full papers: this means that EC-TEL 2007 has an acceptance rate of about 25%! That is just one indicator of how this conference has established itself already in its second year as one of the main research venues in the field.

Furthermore, 20 submissions were selected for presentation as short papers. Even though these didn’t pass the most strenuous scientific review process, each of these 20 included an idea that was certainly relevant to the community and therefore worth being discussed by the community.

Apart from the paper presentations, the conference also provided a forum for posters. 20 organizations and projects chose to discuss their research work and projects in this forum. The poster session took place at the hotel’s sea view balcony and took place in the beautiful Cretan sunset.

Full and short papers were also published in the conference proceedings “Creating New Learning Experiences on a Global Scale - Second European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning” by Erik Duval, Ralf Klamma and Martin Wolpers. The proceedings are published by Springer publishers as part of the Lecture Notes on Computer Science (LNCS) series.

The conference program also includes keynote presentations by two sources of inspiration for the field:
Bruce Sterling, professor at the European Graduate School and "visionary in residence" at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California is one of the early visionaries of the "Internet of Things". His famous speeches introduced new memes (like spime) that continue to be an inspiration for many researchers. Bruce is also ... a science fiction writer (! His keynote addressed technology enhanced learning from the perspective of a serious science fiction writer. Consequently, it was completely different to what the audience was used to, nevertheless well received. He addressed topics like attention and how to deal with it and read from his new book.
Hermann Maurer is professor of computer science at the Technical University Graz in Austria, with an impressive list of achievements in the form of numerous papers, books, companies and patents. Hermann is one of the pioneers of Technology Enhanced Learning in Europe and a widely acclaimed and sought after speaker. He is also ... a science fiction writer (! He talked about the influence of technology on what we learn, not only on how we learn in his keynote. 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.

Apart from giving highly interesting keynote speeches, both keynote speakers joined Erik Duval in an evening chat on science fiction under the great Cretan night sky. For about an hour, the participants were able to delve into the visions of the future of technology enhanced learning and beyond.

Other highlights in the program include:
· Global Experiences: The GLOBE consortium of learning repository networks ( used its panel session to hold a public dialogue about the audience’ requirements for share and reuse and how it can address these. The event was a unique opportunity to learn more about this global community of repositories.
· Industry Meets Research: almost a full day of industrial sessions where participants from IMC, BT, EADS, IDS, Synergetics and Giunti presented their experiences and lessons learned.
· Research funding opportunities: Several high ranking officials from the European Commission presented their views on technology enhanced learning, with a specific focus on research funding, the 7th Framework Program calls and other funding instruments.

Preceding the program, 6 high-profile workshops and a doctoral consortium took place. With its focus on specific topics in a more interactive fashion, the workshops attracted more than 110 participants. The doctoral consortium, organized by the PROLEARN NoE, provided a unique opportunity for advanced PhD students to present their work in progress in front of experienced and reputable researchers in the field of technology enhanced learning.

The conference website, available at, featured some new technologies to enable a more interactive format. For example, the EC-TEL 2007 blog, available at, provided easy access to up-to-date information on the conference. The wiki, available at, provides access to the conference program included many slide sets of the presenters as well as audio recordings of almost all events. Last but not least, the conference participants have set up their own facebook group on TEL, available at

In conclusion has the 2nd EC-TEL again been a highly successful event with participants from 30 countries. The majority of the 190 participants came from European countries, nevertheless participants joined from as far away as Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and the US. The largest participant group were researchers from universities and research centers, but still 17 well-renown international companies and political organizations were represented and partly played an active role in the conference, e.g. in the industrial session or the session of the European Commission.

Text provided by Martin Wolpers, KUL




EC-TEL 17-20 September 2007 Crete, Greece

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