We’re bringing Ignite to Limerick!

miLKlabs and IxDA Limerick are joining forces to organise the first Ignite talk series ever in our city!The event will happen on  Wednesday, April 6 2011, 7 pm in the Absolute Hotel.

Why this event?

The idea is to spread the news about miLKlabs, bring together likeminded individuals, create synergies between people from different backgrounds and highlight possible collaborations. We are also trying to shed a light on the creativity and talent of Limerick people and bringing them to the attention of the public. IxDA Limerick is hosting the event as part of their United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development programme.

What is Ignite?

In talks that are exactly five minutes long, Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Ignite events are run by local volunteers in many locations around the world, as part of the global Ignite network. Talks are video recorded and shared on the Internet, allowing local Ignites to share the knowledge and passion with the world (more about Ignite here ).

What is miLKlabs?

miLKlabs is a collaborative community space based in Limerick City, Ireland. The name is derived from ‘made in LimericK’. It is meant as a shared physical space for any and all creative projects: art, woodwork, software, photography and electronics – to name but a few. The aim is to provide Limerick with a place for people to work and collaborate on creative projects, to learn and to share their knowledge.

What is IxDA Limerick?

IxDA Limerick is the local chapter of the Interaction Design Association, a global network dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design.

How can I participate?

You can sign up for attending the event either on Facebook or on the IxDA meetup page.

If you have an interesting idea or project you’d like to talk about, there’s still room for speakers! Please drop us an email at ignitelimerick@gmail.com with your name and a title for your talk.

April 02 2011 | Events and Ireland and Limerick | 1 Comment »

Academia 2.0 workshop at ECSCW’09

At ECSCW’07, I was running a workshop on GSD and couldn’t attend the one organised by Michael Koch and Wolfgang Prinz on Web 2.0. As this workshop took place next door from ours, I couldn’t avoid noticing the enthusiasm and the fun the participants had.

For the current edition- ECSCW’09 in Vienna, Michael Koch and Isa Jahnke proposed the workshop Academia 2.0 and beyond – How Social Software changes research and education in academia, and it was one of the workshops that generated a lot of interest.


The organisers put together a wiki page and a  blog was created to allow the participants to publish their own position papers and to get acquainted to the others’.

The workshop was structured in two parts: the morning was dedicated to the applications of web 2.0 tools in education, while in the afternoon we spoke about the applications of the same tools in research.

During the morning session, I was scheduled to fill the first slot. I had prepared slides, but it seemed to me that things were very relaxed and I decided to speak from my place instead, with no visuals. All I had to share were stories about tools I’ve used in both education and research, their adoption(or rejection!) by various groups, the feedback I got and what I’ve learned from these. My position paper can be accessed here. The discussion flew from there – there were a lot of interesting contributions, stories and solutions shared. Here are some of the things we spoke about:

  • different student groups have different needs – one size doesn’t fit all!
  • the use of social media tools almost always generate more work for the students, and more work for the teachers as well. But:
  • most of the students love the feeling of having created content that becomes public and can be seen as a meaningful contribution;
  • the first cohort of students using a specific tool seem to have the hardest time; once  examples are out there, and a precedent was created, things seem to work better.
  • the introduction of social media tools tends to add more problems, as these tools are brought in to support an old paradigm.
  • the use of social media tools is challenging  academics and students to update their own teaching/learning style.

A number of interesting questions came up – here are just a few of the ones I jotted down:

  • do students like social media tools?
  • do social media tools really support learning?
  • do these tools make learning more attractive?
  • are teaching institutions interested in supporting this adoption?
  • what is the impact of social media adoption on the position of the teacher? Is he still the expert, or his role is shifting more toward facilitating knowledge sharing?

The afternoon was dedicated to social software applications in research: e-science, research collaboratories. I heard a lot of interesting things about various communities using web 2.0 tools, and also about various initiatives and projects meant to facilitate collaboration at distance, serendipity and open sharing.

September 12 2009 | conferences and Events | No Comments »

There’s a crack, a crack in everything…

… that’s how the life gets in!

On Wednesday evening, I took my daughter to the O2 to see Leonard Cohen. Other mothers (in the movies) might make more expensive gifts to their daughters at graduation, like a car, or a shopping trip to NY, but I’m not in that position…so this seemed to me the perfect gift, that none of us will ever forget!

It was a fantastic night – words cannot describe the atmosphere in the O2! Cohen is a great singer, poet and human being – his generosity and spirit were overwhelming.

I remember very well that the first time I heard him singing (on a tape) – it was on New Year’s Eve ’76, and the song was Suzanne. One of our friends had emmigrated with his family to Germany, and now he was back for Christmas holidays, and he brought this tape with him. For days, “Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water” kept on playing in my head.

And then nothing, for years and years. Censorship never allowed Cohen songs to be played on the radio  in Romania before 1989.

In 1998, on a trip to Germany, I bought my first Cohen CD.

I never imagined I’m going to see him live, although last year when he played in Dublin I made an attempt. The only other famous person I’ve seen live was Billy Joel in Croke Park in 2006. And it was a major disappointment – the way he treated the audience was simply outrageous. Maybe it was part of the show-his show. Cohen was a completely different experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

There were many astonishing moments – but one of the highlights was definitely “So long, Marianne”. Here’s a recording someone made on Sunday night:

He sang most of his famous songs. He recited “A thousand kisses deep“. He sang a few songs I’ve never heard before as well. He spoiled us with solos of the members of his band. He was on his knees in front of us very often, but he also danced like a young man.

It was a great night that none of us will easily forget!

July 24 2009 | Events and Life and Uncategorized | Comments Off on There’s a crack, a crack in everything…