First European Technology Enhanced Learning Conference

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Technology Enhanced Learning Conference


Tuesday, October 3, 2006:
Chia Shen
MERL Research Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

From Clicks to Touches: Enabling Face-to-Face Shared Interface

Abstract: Making the interactions with a digital user interface disappears into and becomes a part of the human to human interaction and conversation is a challenge. Conventional metaphor and underlying interface infrastructure for single-user desktop systems have been traditionally geared towards single mouse and keyboard-based WIMP interface design. On the other hand, people usually meet around a table, facing each other. A table setting provides a large interactive visual surface. It encourages collaboration, coordination, as well as simultaneous and parallel problem solving among multiple people. In this talk, I will describe six particular challenges for the design of direct-touch tabletop environments, and present solutions and experiences to these challenges.

The term display suggests a device used solely to output visual information, untouched for fear of occluding or dirtying the screen. Surfaces, meanwhile, are free of this burden - they are a part of the physical environment, and invite both touching and interaction. What happens, then, when surfaces become displays and when input and visual output spaces are superimposed, creating touchable, interactive surfaces? Such surfaces can be used in any number of ways; one exciting form-factor is as a horizontal, interactive, computationally augmented tabletop. Interactive tables provide three potential benefits for users over traditional displays: First, since a direct touch interactive table serves both as a display and as the user's immediate direct input device, natural hand gestures and intuitive manipulations may be employed to improve the fluidity and reduce the cognitive load of interaction between the user and the digital content. Second, by leveraging the tendency to gather around a table for face-to-face interaction, a horizontal tabletop surface offers affordances and opportunities for building and enhancing co-located collaborative environments. Third, large surfaces such as tabletops offer a spacious work area that may influence working styles and group dynamics. The larger area also provides a larger visual field, which may be utilized as external physical memory in order to extend the working memory capacity of its users, and as an external cognitive medium.

In the past few years, in our pursuit to exploit the advantages and the affordances of direct-touch surfaces, we have designed, implemented and studied a variety of tabletop user interfaces, interaction techniques, and usage scenarios. We have also carried out empirical evaluations, and obtained preliminary findings on how people using a story-sharing table with digital photos, on non-speech audio feedback on multi-user interactive tabletops, and on some of the effects of the size of groups on different aspects of multi-user tabletop collaboration.

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Chia Shen, MERL Research Lab  
Chia Shen is a senior research scientist and Associate Director of MERL Research Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA.

Her current research interests are in the area of human-computer interfaces and interactions with nonconventional visual surfaces, including tables and walls. She holds BS and MS from SUNY at Stonybrook, NY, and a PhD from University of Massachusetts. She is ACM UIST 2007 Conference Chair and is on the Editorial Board of ACM Computers in Entertainment.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Fabrizio Cardinali
Giunti Interactive Labs, Sestri Levante, Italy

Innovating eLearning and Mobile Learning Technologies for Europe's Future Educational Challenges, Theory and Case studies

Abstract: This paper is authored by Fabrizio Cardinali, the CEO of Giunti Interactive Labs (, provider of Europe's leading SCORM based eLearning and Mobile Learning Content Management Solution, learn eXactT. The paper introduces how new generation Learning Content Management Services and Solutions for rapid and massive content production and personalization can better manage changes needed in the professional and vocational training methods and tools for global corporations entering the new Millennium. Skills based Content Tagging and Mobile, Location Based, Learning Content management are presented as two possible possible trends towards learning personalization to accelerate time to competency in global economies needing to cope with the the demographic and up skilling chellanges launched by New World Economies such as China and India.


Fabrizio Cardinali, Giunti Interactive Labs  
FABRIZIO CARDINALI was born in London, UK. He studied Electronic Engineering and obtained a degree in 1988 specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the University of Genoa (Italy).

After launching and managing the Expert System and Multimedia division in Hay Space Consulting Technologies (European Hi Tech branch of World's leading HR consulting firm HAY Management, Boston, US), he set up Giunti Interactive Labs, the new media and eLearning Company of Giunti Editore, the leading Publisher in Primary Education and Cultural Heritage in Southern Europe.

Today Giunti Interactive Labs is the main private eLearning Standardization and R&D contributor in Europe with official positioning in all major international sector standardization bodies and more than 30 ongoing RD projects on the future of eLearning, knowledge and ePublishing.

Giunti Interactive Labs is licensor of learn eXact, the first and leading Content Management Solution provider in Europe. learn eXact is installed in more than 500 eContent authoring teams worldwide and is now moving to Mobile, location based and context aware content management (eXact Mobile).

Today Fabrizio Cardinali is CEO of Giunti Interactive Labs and one of Europe's main eLearning standards experts and author of numerous papers in international journals and conference proceedings on the future of eContent, with official roles in main international eLearning Open Specifications bodies (e.g. Technical Board Co-chair of IMS Global Learning Consortium, Board of Directors of European IMS Network, Vice President of European eLearning Industry Group, MIT's OKI Global Strategy Advisor and ADL SCORM co-writer and reviewer). He serves as a regular expert for the European Commission Experts Group on eContent from DG Information Society and DG Culture & Education and on several National Governments eContent strategy plans for eLearning uptake towards the Knowledge Society (e.g. Recently in Italian, Russian and Polish national eLearning plans).

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