Keynote Speakers





Professor, Honorary Research Fellow

Department of Education, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


Professor Barrett is a past President of the UN-established International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). He is Emeritus Professor of Management in Property and Construction at Salford University in the UK and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at Oxford University.
Peter is an international advisor to the OECD and the US-based Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and the American Institute of Architects. He has produced over one hundred and seventy single volume publications, refereed papers and reports, and has made over one hundred and ten presentations in around sixteen countries.
Professor Barrett has undertaken a wide range of research. For the last ten years this has focused on the theme of Senses, Brain and Spaces with a particular interest in the area of school design and achieving optimal learning spaces. The findings of this work have, for the first time, isolated the significant scale of the influence of physical classroom design on variations in pupils’ learning. This has directly influenced, for example, the US Green Building Council and the Norwegian Education Directorate.
Peter now provides strategic consultancy on optimizing the impact of school buildings on learning, for example, for the World Bank in Romania and, in the UK, for the Girls’ Day School Trust and the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School.
For more details of Professor Barrett’s work, including a fuller cv, see:  and

Speech Title: The technology of human-centric learning spaces: blind spot or opportunity

Abstract: The school is the place where face to face human interaction leading to learning experiences can and does take place. Schools are also the places where many children live for many hours of the day, week in week out. Despite this, the impact on learning progress of the physical space occupied has, until recently, been hard to pin down. A major UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council project has now addressed this issue and created a sound evidence base for the characteristics of the physical learning environment that are salient and their relative importance. The findings highlight a large and significance influence spread across three broad areas. Naturalness concerns issues of healthy spaces; individualisation the extent to which pupils can “own” their space; and level of stimulation deals with the ambient background influence. These SIN factors involve the technology of the built space provided, augmented by a variety of controls and features. Implicit in the findings is the understanding that, not only should a comfortable, functional space be provided, but it should respond to the pupils, allowing ownership and displaying personality. As with any “human-machine interaction” it is now evident that a range of hard and soft factors must be addressed to achieve optimal results.




Alexandra Cristea

Professor, Fellow of BCS, Fellow of HEA

Durham University, United Kingdom


Alexandra I. Cristea is Professor, Head of the Innovative Computing research group at the Computer Science Department, Durham University. Her research includes web science, learning analytics, user modelling and personalisation, semantic web, social web, authoring, with over 250 papers on these subjects (over 3700 citations on Google Scholar, h-index 31). Especially, her work on frameworks for adaptive systems has influenced many researchers and is highly cited (with the top paper with over 180 citations and growing). She is within the top 50 researchers in the world in the area of educational computer-based research according to Microsoft Research. Prof. Cristea has been highly active and has an influential role in international research projects. She is experienced in running research projects and has led various projects - Newton funded workshop on Higher Education for All ('14-'18), Santander funded Education for disadvantaged pupils ('14-18'), Warwick-funded project APLIC ('11-;12), EU Minerva projects ALS (06-09) and EU Minerva ADAPT (’02-’05); as well as participated as university PI in several EU FP7 projects - BLOGFOREVER (’11-’13), GRAPPLE (’08- ’11), PROLEARN (’07) and as co-PI in the Warwick-funded Engaging Young People with Assistance Technologies (’13-’15) also featured by the BBC. Recently she has taken giving back to the community to a different level, with the project TechUP (2019-2020) training 100 women in computer science from various (BAME) backgrounds. She has been keynote/invited speaker, organiser, co-organizer, panelist and program committee member of various conferences in her research field (including, for example, ITS, AIED, UMAP, ED-MEDIA, Hypertext, Adaptive Hypermedia, ICCE, ICAI). She is a member of the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, executive peer reviewer of the IEEE LTTF Education Technology and Society Journal and she was co-editor of the Advanced Technologies and Learning Journal. She acted as UNESCO expert for adaptive web-based education at a high-level (Ministry of Education and Educational institutes) meeting of East European countries, educational invited expert for the Romanian prime minister, as well as EU expert for H2020, FP7, FP6, eContentPlus. She has interacted with various international and local media (she has given a recent live radio interview to Power 106FM in Jamaica; work from her lab has been publicised by Free Radio Coventry & Warwickshire, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail,, The Daily Dot, Mirror, Vice Motherboard, BBC News, Pinterest, Globenewswire, Romanian TV). She is a BCS fellow, a HEA fellow, IEEE Senior Member and IEEE CS member, EATEL (European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning) founding member, ACM member.