CHI2013 reflection

It is almost a week after the CHI2013 conference in Paris, France and after a hectic three days at work I found the time to look back at CHI and reflect on what happened. 

First of all, it is a great event to catch up with ex-colleagues and dear friends who are spread around the globe.

Monday 29/4
In terms of content my favorite presentation was in the first day of the conference and that was Steven Dow‘s (et al.) presentation of the paper: A Pilot Study of Using Crowds in the Classroom. It was both inspiring and very informative on how to use the crowd to teach interaction design.

Furthermore, I attended the panel: “Will Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) Change Education?”. In this panel I particularly liked the discussion with the audience, especially the ones from Open University who strongly questioned the way MOOC’s are presented as something new. Although I recognize some of the points that were made, I can’t resist noticing how the establishment of a certain field (online education) starts to feel the earth under their feet shaking. It was really incredible to see how critical and in some cases bitter comments were made towards the panel. I did not hear any serious arguments apart from that MOOC’s are nothing new. Yeah sure, however they are also free and they are offered by better known universities from the ones that were so critical. Instead of embracing the efforts and offering something new to their students they seemed really worried about their own future and their overpriced classes. That was really an eye-opener and sad at the same time to experience. On the panel’s presentations I thought Scott Klemmer’s presentation on the key to successful MOOCS which is self-assessment. Rubrics and training students to understand and apply rubrics is key to self-assessment. He also mentioned the technique of calibrated peer assessment. In the first step (Calibration) students are asked to grade assignments which are already graded by stuff members. As soon as they have graded an assignment which is very close to the faculty’s grade they can move to step two (Assess 5 peers). In step two they are randomly assigned five assignments of their peers. One out of these five assignments is already graded by a faculty member. In the final step the students are asked to assess their own work. Here’s the link to video explaining the process and a link to the webpage.

Antonelli’s opening keynote was probably the best of the three keynotes for me. It was really great to hear her mention during the Q&A that “Eindhoven” was one of the top places when it comes to design and interaction design in the world!

Tuesday started off really nicely with Bonnie John’s course on CogTool. I must admit that I really liked the course. It was well prepared, well motivated and I found a lot of value in the tool that she has created. I would highly recommend it. It is really incredible to see a ±10% prediction in performance of experts on certain interfaces. The tool also includes touch-based interactions and voice commands. It is a great tool for the community to embrace and extend. On the same topic, my dear Greek colleagues from Hellenic Open University and University of Patras, also presented a tool for webform filling tasks which predicts the time for a user to fill out a common webform. More info about this ground breaking tool can be found at:

Wednesday was of course our day with presenting our poster: Picassopass: A Password Scheme Using a Dynamically Layered Combination of Graphical Elements. We had several people interested in our work and even got an invitation to present our work to another conference! Thus, overall very happy with the reception of the poster.

Evan’s paper: “Footprint Tracker: Supporting Diary Studies with Lifelogging” was also one of my most liked presentations. The work was a really nice combination of automatically gathered data from MS’s sensecam and a mobile phone in combination to a diary and the lesson’s learned for such a data gathering method.

Although somewhat outdated, I enjoyed listening to Jakob Nielsen’s talk for his lifetime achievement award. I also had the chance to personally ask him how would he define UX and got a somewhat surprising answer by him mentioning that UX extends the design of a certain system to customer support, branding, etc. however he also told me that “you can’t design for UX”! I am entirely sure what he meant but he certainly told me that!

The day closed perfect for NHTV’s ADE with Marta and Thomas, two IGAD students, taking home the student design competition for their category with their game titled: ATUM. Well done guys! Although NHTV had such a small footprint at CHI, Wednesday was a day that we took full advantage of our footprint! Their names were also announced just before the final keynote in front of all conference attendees!

On Thursday I really enjoyed Andres‘ poster: “Exploring the Interaction Design Space for Interactive Glasses”. Interactive glasses seems an area which is growing very fast and will probably explode in next year’s CHI. Although I did not attend the talk, I was also intrigued by the paper: “Spirituality: There’s an App for That! (But Not a Lot of Research)” which highlighted the gap between the thousands of apps in the various appstores aiming to support the religious practices of people and how little research (and the possible reasons for that) on the CHI community for this topic. It is my opinion that with CHI going to Asia in two years this topic needs to be more prominent in that spiritually rich continent.

Some final thoughts; the app was useful and can become even more useful by time-flitering of the program and the ability to pose questions through the app to various panels or the keynote speakers. The content at the conference was better categorized than previous years. Probably the crowd-based filters are responsible for that. Finally, the venue was ok, Vancouver’s (CHI2011) venue is hard to beat!

jQuery Mobile (jQM) grid with images and captions

For my latest course at IMEM I have been deeply involved with jQuery Mobile (jQM). The work that has been done on the framework is really extraordinary. It is extremely simple to develop a quite complex mobile website in few lines of code. Along with tools such as as well as Adobe’s DW CS5.5 development is even easier.

One thing that was not that intuitive though was developing a gride with images and captions for those images. The slightly challenging aspect was to align on the center the caption’s text as well as to properly resize and position the images.

For the following grid:

the following CSS rules are needed:

and those two produce the following result (app is developed for supporting the course):







Περισσότερες τεχνικές δουλειές για ξένους στο Αϊντχόβεν

Το Eindhoven News, σε σχετικά πρόσφατο άρθρο του, αναφέρει πως παρόλη την οικονομική κρίση, η κρίση εύρεσης ταλέντων στον τεχνολογικό τομέα φαίνεται πως είναι εντονότερη στην πρωτεύουσα της τεχνολογίας στην Ολλανδία, το Αϊντχόβεν. Διαβάστε το σχετικό άρθρο.

Δωρεάν διαμονή και διατροφή για 2 μέρες στην Ολλανδία

Το NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences καλεί φοιτητές που θα θέλαν να σπουδάσουν στην Μπρέντα, Ολλανδία είτε Media and Entertainment Management είτε Game Architecture & Development να έρθουν στην Μπρέντα όπου και θα φιλοξενηθούν 2 μέρες.

Δείτε την σχετική προκήρυξη:

CHI2011 reflection

After few days of letting the entire information sink in and have the jetlag wear off, I decided to write up my impressions of CHI2011 in Vancouver.

CHI2011 badge

Monday, 9th of May:
Nice opening keynote by Howard Rheingold, who is an expert in teaching social media and its role in the classroom. He has developed: and a few take-away messages for me are: his experiment with having a Twitter feed of participating students projected in classroom, his advice on the importance of having students sit on a circle to improve collaboration as well as his approach to learning which was to create the boundaries and facilitate the learning process by letting students take up leading roles in the class. I also liked his statement when he compared a sergeant, a warrior and a teacher. He said that a sergeant of 1000 years ago compared to a sergeant of today is a very different one; the same for the warrior. However, in his opinion, the teacher of 1000 years ago is the same compared to one today.

Although being a nice talk my highlight for the day, couldn’t be other than my friend’s Maurits Kaptein’s Talk. He presented his latest research on persuasive technologies and I found out in the conference that Wired had an article on his research. Well done Maurits, I am very proud of you!

Tuesday, 10th of May:

CHI2011 poster

Well having for the first time a WIP in CHI, my highlight for the day could not be other than my poster presentation! It took place between 10:00 and 11:00. Tuesday was the highlight for the conference for me, not just due to my presentation. The note titled: “Utilizing DVD Players as Low-Cost Offline Internet Browsers” by Gaurav Paruthi and William Thies from TEM, Microsoft Research India was probably the best work I saw during CHI. Very inspiring work of cleverly using the existing DVD infrastructure of an average Indian household to educate children and other family members of various topics. The researchers created an application which crawled and burned articles from Wikipedia on a DVD for Indian families and schools. Brilliant!

After this presentation it was the turn of a very good friend of mine, Andres Lucero to give his first full paper presentation, titled: “Pass-Them-Around: Collaborative Use of Mobile Phones for Photo Sharing”, work done in Nokia Research Center. Great work, great presentation Andres! I should also mention that in the same session I saw a paper titled: “Automics: souvenir generating photoware for theme parks”, from Benford’s tem, which was awarded for best paper and was indeed very nicely motivated, executed and presented research.

CHI2011 NordiCHI Party

To top it, after the official end of the conference program, the NordiCHI party on the 19th floor of Rennaisance hotel which was rotating, was the perfect occasion to meet up with people and have a gorgeous view of Vancouver!

Wednesday 11th of May:
My highlight of the day was the first thing I saw, a panel on managing remote UX teams. Maybe I liked it cause it is not really something directly related to research or science and more to management. It is nice to see topics somehow related to what you do however, fundamentally different. It was surprising to me, SAP’s large UX department as well as the wit of SAP’s UX managing director, mr. Rosenberg. In terms of research, I found really interesting a paper coming out of CMU, titled: “Mobile users’ location sharing preferences with advertisers” presented by Patrick Gage Kelley. Although I think that the study was weak in ecological validity, it was nicely setup and had interesting implications. I think there is a lot of future work to be done on this topic. Finally, I found the posters much more interesting than group 1’s.

Thursday 12th of May:
THE highlight for the day was the closing plenary by Ethan Zuckerman. Absolutely stunning talk! He gave recently one in TED which addressed some of the topics he discussed during CHI.

Other highlights of the conference include:
- Have you ever placed a 3V battery in you tongue? What does it taste like? A poster from Japanese researchers (who else), were utilizing that effect, i.e. they were changing the taste of the user with the use of a battery!
- A paper that I missed but looked very promising was that of Pixar research in which they created a virtual 3D model out of a Tangible 3D one
- Bill Buxton’s interactive artifacts collection, a great addition to the conference with Bill standing most of the time around his collection and discussing about it
- As well as VCC’s great open area for companies to exhibit. Microsoft’s presence was the best in my opinion.

Moreover, we had great USI-alumni presence: posters from myself, Abdullah, Suleman & Nata, presentations from Maurits & Andres. I met Nikos, Nata, Toon, Pavan, Andres, Maurits, and Panos’, the new USI-director, presence was also very impressive: presented a course, was organizer of SIG, 2 WIPs and a full paper!

Vancouver Convention Center: great place, beautiful interior, huge spaces to socialize or rest or work, great view, great service but very bad wireless internet connection.

Vancouver Convention Center view

Vancouver’s food was great but pricy with The Sandbar in Granville island being my favorite place for lunch/dinner and Waves’ cinnamon buns with their coffee being my favorite place for breakfast.

Vancouver's Waves coffee and cinamon buns

We had bad weather almost throughout the conference and that didn’t really help in exploring the city but certainly helped my conference attendance!

People I have to check their research include: Ruth Dalton (UK), John Peponis from GaTech, Antonio Kruger (Germany) & Chris Kray (Germany).

My overall impression for CHI2011: a conference worthwhile visiting and I am really looking forward to visiting CHI2012 in Austin Texas.

Researching Communication Needs and Practices between Divorced Parents and their Children

An unpublished research proposal which I made back in Feb 2005 was quite ahead of its time I believe. The proposal was on researching the communication needs of single parent families and eliciting requirements for awareness systems. Recent research for example of Lana Yarosh has also looked into the subject with interesting results…

My proposal was titled: Researching Communication Needs and Practices between Divorced Parents and their Children

Μεταπτυχιακά στην Ολλανδία: διέξοδος από την κρίση

Με την πολυετή εμπειρία μου στα ολλανδικά πανεπιστήμια, πρώτα ως μεταπτυχιακός φοιτητής, έπειτα ως διδακτορικός, στη συνέχεια ως μετά-διδακτορικός και τώρα ως καθηγητής μπορώ να διαβεβαιώσω τους Έλληνες φοιτητές πως η Ολλανδία παρέχει μια διέξοδο με πολλές προοπτικές για αρκετούς για μεταπτυχιακές και διδακτορικές σπουδές και κατ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο ένα πολύ καλύτερο μέλλον, δυστυχώς ή ευτυχώς, από την ελληνική πραγματικότητα.

Σε αυτό το άρθρο θα προσπαθήσω να αναδείξω μερικές προοπτικές, κυρίως για φοιτητές πολυτεχνικών σχολών καθώς και των φυσικών επιστημών. Μία ιδανική λύση (απόφοιτος της οποίας είμαι και εγώ) είναι η αίτηση στα τεχνολογικά μεταπτυχιακά προγράμματα του Σταν Άκερμαν Ινστιτούτου τα οποία προσφέρουν πολλαπλά πλεονεκτήματα. Πέρα από το υψηλό επίπεδο των σπουδών και την αξία του μεταπτυχιακού τίτλου, προσφέρουν εννιά-μηνη πρακτική εργασία στις καλύτερες επιχειρήσεις τις Ολλανδίας καθώς και μισθό ο οποίος υπερκαλύπτει τα έξοδα διαμονής και για τα ελληνικά δεδομένα είναι εξωπραγματικός. Εγώ σπούδασα στο User System Interaction και έκανα πρακτική εργασία στην Vodafone R&D. Στη συνέχεια δούλεψα στην Philips Research και εργάστηκα στο πανεπιστήμιο του Αϊντχόβεν όπου και έκανα την διδακτορική διατριβή μου. Αυτή τη στιγμή είμαι καθηγητής στο πανεπιστήμιο της Μπρέντα: NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences.

Ένα βίντεο που καλύπτει τις γενικότερες πληροφορίες για την χώρα και το εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα:

Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες καθώς και για συμβουλευτικές υπηρεσίες μην διστάσετε να επικοινωνήσετε μαζί μου.

Η πρωτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση στην Ολλανδία

Με τον γίο μου να είναι 2 χρόνων κινήθηκε το ενδιαφέρον μου για την πρωτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση στην Ολλανδία. Από συζητήσεις μου με στελέχη δημοτικών σχολείων μπορώ να αναφέρω τα παρακάτω:

Από την ηλικία των 2 ετών, τα παιδιά μπορούν να εγγραφούν στο Peuterspelzaal ως και την ηλικία των τεσσάρων. Το Peuterspelzaal είναι σαν παιδικός σταθμός, δεν είναι υποχρεωτικός, είναι κυρίως για την ανάπτυξη της κοινωνικότητας των παιδιών, είναι μόνο για 3 εώς 4 μέρες και για 3-4 ώρες καθημερινά και είναι συνήθως παραπλήσια σε δημοτικά σχολεία (basisscholen).

Την στιγμή που το παιδί κλείνει τα 4 χρόνια, δηλαδή την ημέρα των γενεθλίων του, το παιδί μπορεί να εγγραφεί σε δημοτικό σχολείο. Από την ηλικία των 5 είναι υποχρεωτικό. Το δημοτικό διαρκεί 8 χρόνια μέχρι την ηλικία των 12 ετών.

Σε ηλικία 12 ετών τα παιδιά δίνουν ένα παν-ολλανδικό διαγώνισμα (eind-CITO toets). Το διαγώνισμα αυτό, μαζί με την γενική πορεία του παιδιού είναι καθοριστικό για την περαιτέρω εκπαίδευση του παιδιού. Το σχολείο, βασιζόμενο στο διαγώνισμα και στην πορεία του παιδιού δίνει την εκτίμησή του για το μέλλον του παιδιού. Ειδικότερα, αυτή η εκτίμηση είναι καθοριστική για εάν το παιδί θα συνεχίσει για τα υπόλοιπα 6 χρόνια στο VWO (γενικό), HAVO (τεχνικό), VMBO (δεν έχει αντίστοιχο στην Ελλάδα). Τα τελευταία είναι καθοριστικά για το εάν το παιδί θα συνεχίσει τις σπουδές του στο πανεπιστήμιο (Universiteit), στο ΤΕΙ (HBO) ή σε ΙΕΚ (College). Για παράδειγμα, εάν το παιδί πάει σε HAVO σχολείο είναι αδύνατον να σπουδάσει στο πανεπιστήμιο και πρέπει να συνεχίσει σε ΗΒΟ (ΤΕΙ). Τα ΤΕΙ παρόλαυτά είναι ιδιαίτερα αναβαθμισμένα στην Ολλανδία και η πλειοψηφία των μαθητών και των εταιρειών διαλέγει αποφοίτους των ΤΕΙ.