Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 in retrospection

Around 80 participants followed the invitation of EFQUEL and became a part of the Innovation Forum 2009. The strongly increasing attractiveness that EFQUEL achieved in this conference was impressive and surprised even the core organizers. But the most important fact about the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 was surely the overall satisfaction of the participants and keynote speakers.

In one of the final speeches, Rolf Reinhardt emphasized that "EFQUEL recognizes every single participant in its individuality as valuable and important". In this way, the forum structure was created in a highly interactive conference-workshop mix. Ulf Ehlers overtook the planning of the workshops which included parts like speed dating and vision development. In the end of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009, every participant was at least once in contact with everybody of the other participants, had the chance to share opinions and to discuss state-of-the-art quality approaches in learning.

In the end of the conference, the participants had commonly created EFQUEL's Innovation Agenda 2010: A manifest that leads in the future of technology-enhanced learning and underlines the important role of EFQUEL in this process. The four main "pillar statements" voted by the participants and dedicated to EFQUEL are:

  1. Showing leadership and vision in the field of quality of e-learning, while fostering a culture of sharing and dialogue
  2. Promoting the use of Open Educational Resources through the identification of suitable methods for quality development for Open Educational Resources
  3. Exploring the innovation dimension within Quality Assurance frameworks for Higher Education, and develop methodologies to support it at European and National level
  4. Demonstrating ways that ICT can enhance learning by putting and keeping learners and communities at the centre of the quality or learning landscapes

Claudio Dondi is convinced that EFQUEL is the right body to follow these statements: "Only a network which is strong in its membership orientation and linked with a broad range of different stakeholders is able to fulfill such a mission. EFQUEL provides in its tradition a very fertile soil to get in touch with leading representatives of other organizations." In this year, EFQUEL even extended this possibility on an international level: Around 20% of the participants came from beyond Europe.

The international dimension of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 was also reflected in choosing the keynote speakers: Nnenna Nwakanma represented Africa in her speech and pointed out the meaning of opening education. Muneo Yoshikawa from Japan impressed the participants with his double-swing model for learning. Apart from them, some of Europe's most well-known speakers like Gilly Salmon (University of Leicester, UK) and Markku Markkula (Aalto University, Finland) gave an overview about the future development of E-Learning. Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz (Adviser to the Director, Directorate General for Education and Culture) and Brian Holmes (Head of Unit at the European Commission's Executive Agency) represented the policy dimension in their speeches.

The EFQUEL Forum 2009 was not only innovative in its program: This year, the Foundation streamed the speeches live in the internet. Around 200 visitors from all over the world followed the broadcast and had the opportunity to comment via a Twitter backchannel. Rolf Reinhardt was sure: "EFQUEL proofed by this, that we are not only talking about the promotion of ICT for learning or how to assure and develop quality by inclusiveness. Among others, we are demonstrating how the conferences of the future might look like and what possibilities nowadays technology offers!"

EFQUEL Website:
EFQUEL's Innovation Agenda beyond 2010:
Pictures of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 on Facebook:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Playing computer games in school?

We started the ENGAGE project about Game based Learning in the beginning of this year. Our primary target group are teachers in schools who are not very experienced with games in general and in particular how to use games for education.

One of the main outcome products is a web portal in which teachers can inform themselves about a wide range of possible games (Online Games Catalogue) and can even be guided to choose the right game for their purposes (Decision Making Tool): (will be finished in the end of next year)

Rolf Reinhardt, Executive Manager of EFQUEL, is very optimistic about the impact of this project: "Especially since the last years, schools are doing a lot concerning digital education. When I went to school, we had blackboards and chalk, today a lot of schools have already implemented smart boards. I see overall the advantages of this development, since we have to take in consideration that the kids are grown up with electronic devices, web 2.0 and for sure, also computer games."

That computer games are not only for fun but could really support holistic learning processes is proofed by games like "Helios". This game plays on another planet which is in high danger: The energy resources are extremely limited and the player has to be very smart in using a mix of different energy sources to rescue the planet.

EFQUEL did the review for this and several other games. For sure, we are still very open for your suggestions concerning games that teachers could use in school. You may send your propositions to .

Friday, October 9, 2009

We are using Open Source Software

Most of our staff is now using Open Source Software for the daily work. Instead of Microsoft Windows Vista, we have Ubuntu Linux as an operative system in place. OpenOffice replaced Office 2007 and instead of Adobe Photoshop, we are working now with Gimp and Inkscape...

We can just encourage everybody to take Open Source Software in consideration. It is definitely very simple to install and to use - and it costs you NOTHING.

During our Operational Management Team (OMT) meeting today, we confirmed the place for the next EFQUEL conference in 2010: Oeras in Portugal is agreeing to host us in September next year. You can maybe already imagine what topic we are discussing there. Since we have became fans of Open Source, we would like to foster also the possibilities of Open Education Ressources - especially under the terms of quality.

We are opening the registration in the beginning of the next year! More information will be soon available at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning is now also blogging!

Due to the excellent experiences in our conference blog, we have now decided to go ahead with blogging and to inform you about our activities.

We figured out, that especially the personal touch of a blog attracts people a lot and therefore we use the blog in addition to the News section on our website.

You are also encouraged to use the RSS feed in order to get regular updates!