Bridging the gap between Arts and IT for a more playful world

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In our next interview, we had the pleasure to talk with Nikolaos Vidakis  (Technological Educational Institute of Crete) the General Chair of ArtsIT 2017 & DLI 2017The 6th EAI International Conference: ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation, and the 2nd EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation will both take place in Heraklion, Greece between October 30–31, 2017. Modern interactive art forms will be found in collaboration with the constant evolving technologies in these two exciting conferences.

What is the central theme of ArtsIT & DLI and why is it important? What is the vision for these co-located events?

ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation is meant to be a place where people in arts, with a keen interest in modern IT technologies, meet with people in IT, having strong ties to arts in their works. Since 2009 the event has become a leading scientific forum for the dissemination of cutting-edge research results in these areas.

DLI, Design, learning, and innovation frame the world of ICT, play and playfulness opening doors into an increasingly playful world. Whether it is about developing tools, technologies, environments, as well as content and approaches that can spark and nurture a passion for learning and transform domains such as education, rehabilitation/therapy, workplaces, and cultural institutions, design, learning, and innovation is a powerful catalyst in empowering individuals to participate, communicate, and create to be able to exceed their own limits in a playful way:  Such is the spirit behind driving the DLI 2017 conference.

What is the rationale behind co-locating ArtsIT and DLI? How does interactive art intertwine with design, learning, and innovation?

The main scientific areas that ArtsIT addresses are (a) Arts, Design & ICT, (b) Interactivity (Interaction Design, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality etc) and (c) Game Creation (such as Serious Games, Gamification, Leisure Gaming, GamePlay, etc.).

On the other hand DLI addresses scientific areas such as (a) Digital games and toys, (b) Playful designs & Theoretical frameworks, (c) Innovation in design and learning for generic or specific purposes, (d) New trends in formal and informal learning practices and (e) Emerging tools and technologies in design, learning and innovation. We can clearly see that the two conferences address similar scientific areas from differed perspective. Both conferences use ICT as means of action for their main course of research and both have a strong preference and emphasis for design, games, learning, education and innovation.

What have been the most important developments in these areas? What are the biggest challenges that we are currently facing that you expect will be addressed at the conference?

Important developments and challenges in the areas of the ArtsIT and DLI conferences embody ongoing work on Game-Based Learning, Game Accessibility, Special Education & Inclusion and Child-Computer Interaction. All the above areas are considered highly topical areas which require a cross- disciplinary researcher to target advances of knowledge. We thus consider research and development important. In the following paragraphs we describe each area in detail.

Accessibility of video games systems and content are human, societal and legal issues. According to a recent update of legislation in the US (21st Century Communication and Video Accessibility Act, CVAA) video games must embed accessibility features before January 2018. This restrictive context leads to fostering researches on game accessibility, both from an academic and an industrial point of view.

Digital game-based learning (DGBL) currently is a highly topical area within different kinds of educational practices (formal, semi-formal or informal). The topics that DGBL addresses include: Digital Game Design and Learning, Role Playing Games, Digital Games in eLearning  Environments, Digital Games as Motivational Drivers, Digital Games and People with Disabilities and so on.

Educational technology targeting inclusion currently is also a significant area of focus. How is it possible in both a global and local perspective to investigate – and employ the affordances of technologies in the design for social inclusion of the disadvantaged in general, and of learners with physical and mental special needs in particular? What is the inclusive and educational potential of robotics (r-technologies) or other technologies for acting as vehicles for empowering the disadvantaged and special needs learners and support the development of digital and social competencies?

Finally, it is important to bridge the GAP between Researchers and Practitioners in Child-Computer Interaction (CCI). The rapid spreading of affordable handheld devices combined with the continuous launch of new applications and products as well as new forms of interaction, e.g. touch and tangible technology, poses new challenges to practitioners and researchers.

What are your expectations for ArtsIT & DLI?

ArtsIT and DLI conferences seek important developments in the areas that they represent. They intend to extend and widen the scope and research imprint of the conferences and thus enlarge their scientific impact and further their main goals. ArtsIT & DLI is expected to embody ongoing work on Game-Based Learning, Game Accessibility, Special Education & Inclusion and Child-Computer Interaction.

To be more specific, we expect to continue to be a leading scientific forum for dissemination of cutting-edge research results, sharing experiences and best practices while exercising a scientific dialogue on new and innovative developments within the field of ArtsIT & DLI. Our aim is to contribute to innovations for learners in different educational contexts, foster researches on game accessibility, both from an academic and an industrial point of view. In addition, we encourage academics as well as designers and practitioners working in the cross-disciplinary fields of the conferences to submit papers and to participate in the actions of the conferences.

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ArtsIT 2017 and DLI 2017  are accepting papers until 23 June.

Editorial Staff

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