Welcome to the JALTCALL2020 Online Conference

Attending the Conference

To attend the conference, you just need to Join this Event Space (if you haven't already) then click the Get Ticket option below (it's free for attendees!), and on the day you'll be able to join either the Zoom or YouTube sessions as they become available. 


During these interesting times, we find ourselves building something new and exciting through the amazing efforts and huge patience of a wonderful group of presenters and sponsors including our keynote speaker, Dr. Charles Browne. More than ever this is a conference that aims to bring us together and showcases the role that technology can play in this endeavor. The role of technology in the classroom suddenly finds itself in the spotlight and we look forward to seeing you all on June 6th and 7th.
Gary Ross & James York, JALTCALL2020 Online Co-chairs

Online Only | Free or 2000yen
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Online speech: utilizing speech recognition #1

This talk will demonstrate a free online system for practicing conversation that utilizes the speech recognition and synthesis capabilities built into modern browsers. For the language learner, the ability to speak to a device that can simultaneously speak using different genders and accents will enable learners to take control of their learning process, by both time- and location-shifting their practice. This allows students to work at their own pace, providing learners with vastly more opportunities to practice speaking while receiving immediate automated feedback. Speech Recognition’s power is that: (i) Students can practice speaking at any time and receive instant feedback. (ii) Thousands of practices can be graded instantly. (iii) Every utterance can be stored as machine-readable text in a database allowing computer analysis of student patterns to discern common errors which can then be displayed to the instructor automatically. (iv) Machine learning (artificial intelligence) techniques can analyze massive amounts of data to discover deeper spoken patterns and errors. The talk will give a short demonstration of the system which was developed by the author, talk about future developments such as spaced learning and accent training, and show how teachers can sign up to the system and use it in their classroom.

Using artificial intelligence to interact with technology for EFL speaking practice #2

Recently, there are been a number of innovations in Speech Recognition (SR) to enhance the ability of technology-enabled devices to interact with human beings. We can, for example, conduct simple conversations and order some devices to carry out commands with digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is enhanced and the ability of a device to understand the spoken language has improved dramatically. Although the Voice User Interface (VUI) of computers and mobile devices to recognize English speech can very high, the ability to respond to such speech depends on a conversational corpus and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. Speakers can make use of such devices to transcribe speech to text, ask simple questions, and perform simple translations. Language learners can use such advanced methods for self-study and conversation practice. The problem lies in the ability of the foreign language learner to produce language that is native-like so that the device can understand the speech. Factors such as pronunciation, grammar mistakes, word order and use of proper vocabulary all contribute to the ability of the device to understand the spoken language. As the algorithms of these devices advance from a command-based structure to a more conversational one, there is a vast potential in using this technology to empower language learners. I will demonstrate some of the techniques that can be used for language practice with digital assistants and will encourage discussion on this new and relevant topic.

How to decrease teaching administration while maintaining learning outcomes by using CALL without LMS #4

This presentation is for computer system administrators seeking to reduce LMS (learner management system) costs while maintaining learning outcomes. LMSs track when and what students learn. For each student and learning task, the LMS reports variables such as the length of time spent on the task (time on task),the number of renditions of the task (practice count), correctness of the renditions (response accuracy), and the tasks preceding and following the task (task order). These statistics are valuable yet too voluminous and detailed to be analyzed while learning is taking place. LMSs are costly to install and administer. Some features are rarely used, either because there are extraneous features, or because there is insufficient personnel to use them. By contrast, web servers that merely ask questions and provide answers to users are almost as effective as LMSs. Adaptive testing increases learning efficiency. Opening the system to the public showcases the institution's capability. Not tracking the learners' learning history reduces costs. At my institution, the leading use of LMS is enforcing the completion of assignments. Among our CALL-based courses, Chinese language courses ceased using LMSs, and English language courses are transitioning away from LMSs. The reasons are (a) tracking individual students is not practical when the student-to-instructor ratio exceeds roughly 100 to 1, (b) enforcing task completion is unnecessary when task items comprise a question pool from which midterm or final exam questions are drawn, and (c) learning opportunities increase when students are not required to log in.


Practice and analyze beginner-level English conversations with a new activity plugin: the P-CHAT #5

This presentation introduces a new activity plugin for Moodle called “P-CHAT” (Practice Conversations as Holistic Assessment Tools). The P-CHAT plugin is a formative assessment tool that provides students with 1) an opportunity to practice conversational English, 2) immediate feedback based on hard data of their contribution, and 3) a timely opportunity to reflect on their performance with a view towards future improvement. Adapted from a formative assessment technique that has been developed over the past two years, teachers can use the plugin for student assessment and evaluation of speaking skills, and researchers can utilize a large quantity of data (e.g., audio recordings, transcriptions, student responses, quantitative analysis of speech) for investigating a variety of questions. In a P-CHAT activity, students first prepare to converse in English about a particular topic by considering target vocabulary before making an audio recording of their contribution. Once the conversation has ended, students transcribe their contributions. When students are finished transcribing, they receive immediate feedback on their oral production including total words spoken, turns taken, average turn length, longest turn length, target vocabulary used, and a comparison of their transcript against one generated using automatic speech recognition (ASR). Students complete the activity by answering a series of reflective prompts. Presenters will demonstrate the plugin by walking through each step in the student interface before highlighting teacher controls. This plugin is being developed with support by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 19K13309. It is available for download and use at no charge.

The strengths and drawbacks of LyricsTraining implementation in Basic Listening course #6

Development in ICT has resulted in new applications and software in English language teaching. This study aims to find out the strengths and drawbacks of LyricsTraining implementation as one example of the web-based CALL in Basic Listening course, one of the obligatory courses in the English Language Education Study Program of Sanata Dharma University. LyricsTraining is a website that integrates audio and video taken from YouTube with the song lyrics. LyricsTraining is chosen because it combines entertainment with the needed learning experience. Students have to play the music video and type in the missing lyrics or choose from the options provided. Survey was used as the method of this study, involving 30 students as the participants. A questionnaire with closed and open-ended questions was used to gather the data. The results of the study found that there are two main strengths of LyricsTraining in its’ implementation in Basic Listening course. The first strength is that LyricsTraining improves the students’ academic achievement in terms of their pronunciation, vocabulary mastery and their listening ability. The second strength is that LyricsTraining increases the students’ learning motivation. Two main drawbacks of LyricsTraining implementation were also found. The first drawback is the constant pop-up advertisement which disturbs the students’ concentration. The second drawback is the absence of clues provided to help the students. Possible solutions would be providing instructions on what to do when the pop-up advertisements appear and pairing up students so that they can get the necessary clues from their partner.

The International Virtual Exchange Project – Making bridges for cultural appreciation #7

Promoting cultural understanding within second language learners is typically desired alongside improving language skills in second language learning contexts. Although real cultural understanding can be a difficult target, cultural appreciation can be achieved if adequate contact with other cultures can be obtained. However, students in EFL classrooms within monocultural countries such as Japan, have the same cultural background and thus achieving appreciation of other cultures is often difficult as an international setting is lacking. Virtual Exchanges (VE) have been trialed to give students the opportunity to use English and become more culturally acclimatized. Though there are many benefits, joining such exchanges has been difficult for teachers. This presentation introduces the IVEProject which was created to allow university students to use the language learned in class, to interact with students from other countries. With almost 14,000 students and 220 teachers from 15 countries and 50 different institutions over the last 3 years, students interact online in various classroom settings (eg. communication, intercultural communication) using English as a lingua franca on a Moodle platform over an 8-week period. The IVEProject, sponsored by a Japanese government grant-in-aid for scientific research, is free for participants and easy to join. Tools addressing ease of use, connectivity for students and assessment will be outlined in this presentation along with pre- and post-questionnaires result showing improvement in students' understanding of their own culture and appreciation of other cultures. The presentation will end with an open invitation for interested teachers to join the exchange from 2020.

Application of Flipgrid: ESL video activities conducted via student smartphones #9

Flipgrid, a video software recording and social media platform, was integrated as part of a Moodle Communication course at Iwate University. The purpose was to get students more engaged in English, as well as requiring them to speak instead of traditional text-based discussion posts found in online classes. This session will focus on how we implemented Flipgrid, and conducted speaking assignments based on science related topics using National Geographic readers. The efficacy for utilizing Flipgrid in speaking tasks and other discussion activities on student smartphones will be examined. The presentation will cover how well students were able to 1) use Flipgrid to upload and share short presentations, 2) discuss topics in class and small groups using Flipgrid videos, and 3) using Flipgrid with a speaking rubric so that the teachers could give both formative and summative assessment. Number of video engagement hours and student feedback will be highlighted. The presenter’s aim is to encourage instructors to try new technologies to further improve English engagement of a communicative nature in the classroom.

Comparative analysis of learning gains and affective states in face-to-face versus online learning #10

As pointed out by Godwin-Jones (2018), "evidence is accumulating that a major shift is underway in the ways that second language (L2) development is taking place. Increasingly, especially among young people, that process is occurring outside of institutional settings, predominately through the use of online networks and media" (p.8). As this innovation of the web has created unique opportunities allowing individuals to enhance their knowledge on practically any subject from any location, sometimes even cost free, the question on many educators’ minds must be whether or not this new wave of self-learning and self-achievement will eventually have the ability to completely replace traditional modes of learning (Zhang, Zhao, Zhou & Nunamaker, 2004). The purpose of this study was to assess whether non-formal online context or face-to-face context impacted phrasal verb learning outcomes and affective states for L2 English learners. To investigate this question, a pre-test, post-test, delayed post-test design was implemented in a multiple case study using 4 students. Online students were sent links to a website where they were asked to watch one of 5 instructor-produced videos per day and complete exercises. Face-to-face students were taught in a one-on-one tutoring style before completing exercises. In addition, a questionnaire assessing engagement and satisfaction with each treatment type was administered. Interviews were also conducted to enhance the understanding of variations in scores and of the participants’ experiences in each context. The results indicate that similar learning outcomes can be produced in a shorter period of time in the online environment.

Comparing handwriting vs. smartphone tapping speed #11

One key factor that is often overlooked when designing writing tasks is the composition medium. Precursor research has suggested that Japanese EFL students write significantly less when composing on smartphones as opposed to on paper (p < .001, d = .54). The current study sought to follow up on those findings by investigating the hypothesis that input speed/proficiency was a possible factor in the lower production rate on mobile devices. Paper- and smartphone-based transcription speeds of either Japanese or English text were analyzed for N = 144 Japanese university students. Results indicated that when transcribing in their L1, participants showed some variation but were generally faster on smartphone (n = 74, p < .001, d = .66). However, when transcribing English, 100% of participants were slower on their phones than on paper, with group means significantly different to a very large effect size (n = 70, p < .001, d = 2.4). Many participants were also observed physically and verbally indicating exhaustion after transcribing the L2 on their phones. It appears that smartphone input in English required a higher level of exertion/cognitive resources than handwriting does, though this did not seem to be a factor in the participants’ native language. This study contributes the first known empirical analysis of writing vs. tapping speed among language learners to the field of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). Attendees will hear discussion of pedagogical implications, as well as strategies and apps which may be useful in increasing students’ tapping acuity.

Law undergraduates’ understanding and appropriation of arguments in online essay writing tutorials #12

The art of constructing an assertive argument is a crucial lifelong skill for law students to master. The English language teachers at Bennett University Law School introduce the topic of argumentative essay writing to its first-year law undergraduates and teach the basic structure of an argument in a standard five paragraph argumentative essay and then gradually elaborate on with the content. The pedagogy makes use of the online platforms of ‘ilearn’ LMS and ‘Clarity English’ programs (customised English Language teaching softwares) to engage students in essay writing tutorials. The study analyses how the students develop the understanding of framing a strong argument and move towards attaining appropriation in it. This has been done by comparing pre-test and post-test results of the control and experimental groups and by relational content analysis of the transcripts. The target group in the study includes 120 students of BALLB (hons) who are randomly divided into control and experimental groups. The study also tries to figure out the comparative advantage of classroom teaching in physical settings, online group discussions on ‘ilearn’ LMS forums and individual practice sessions involving only one student at a time on ‘Practical Writing’ program offered by Clarity English. This has been done through student survey analysis. The overall data involves pre-test and post-test essay writing transcripts, online discussion forum transcripts on ‘ilearn’, practice result sheets on ‘Practical writing’ and students’ survey. This educational intervention is an attempt to assess and design best teaching practice for teaching argumentative essay writing to law undergraduates.

How to use online collaborative strategic reading in your reading and writing classes #13

This presentation distills ongoing research on Online Collaborative Strategic Reading (OCSR), which is when students interact with a written text together asynchronously through a given online platform or tool to co-construct meaning within a text. The researcher has piloted and tested many online tools with both international and Japanese university students to best support the core principles of OCSR. He has found three that are the most accessible and easy to implement for instructors who may not have time to learn an entirely new system: Google Docs, Scrible, and Perusall. In the presentation, the researcher will give an overview of the theory of OCSR and how that takes shape in a typical reading course. From there, the researcher will go over three online tools that can be used to implement OCSR, how to use those tools specifically with OCSR, and the pros and cons of each tool in regards to OCSR activities. Teachers can expect to take away a clear understanding of what OCSR is, how it is beneficial for students' reading development, and information on and how to set up three tools that help support their learning aims with OCSR.

Going paperless is easier than you think: a comparison of two LMSs #15

Going paperless can help improve class efficiency and increase the amount of feedback between teachers and students. With proper execution, it can make for a better class for everyone involved. However, going paperless can seem like a daunting task, especially for teachers with lots of printed worksheets already prepared. However, with the tools provided in readily accessible learning management systems, even technologically inexperienced teachers can make the move to a paperless classroom. In this presentation, I will share the reasons why going paperless is beneficial for both instructors and students, despite some potential drawbacks. I will also show how to overcome those drawbacks. While going paperless can be a hassle at times, the overall increase in efficiency and teacher-student communication makes the payoff well worth the efforts. Additionally, I will share my personal experiences with both the Google Classroom and Schoology LMSs, and share ideas and tips on how to create everything from homework assignments, to in-class activities, to assessments using features built into the LMSs. Both LMSs offer instructors the ability to create assignments using various Google applications such as Docs and Sheets. By making the most of the free technology available, virtually any assignment can be made paperless. Both platforms also offer powerful assessment tools, meaning testing can also be done more efficiently, which, in turn, means that students can receive feedback in a more timely manner. Finally, I will also share how I make use of free website building applications to enhance my paperless classroom.

Engaging with the world: Reddit in the university classroom #16

This presentation introduces a pedagogical intervention designed to promote university-level students to participate in communities of English speakers from around the world using online affinity spaces such as those found on Reddit, Twitter, and online forums. Using successful and not-so-successful examples of student work collected through the project, the aim of the presentation is to provide practical advice for other educators who may are interested in using “the digital wilds” of the Internet in their own context. In keeping with the theme of the conference, I will introduce three key elements for translating theory into practice: methodology, materials and mediation. The methodology for this project was inspired by progressive pedagogical approaches including the connected learning manifesto, bridging activities, social pedagogies, and situated learning. Following, I will introduce the materials created as part of this project which were designed to stimulate thought, promote action, and augment a lack of teacher-student talk time which is a common issue with large class sizes. Finally, I will present a detailed analysis of the critical role teacher mediation plays in supporting student progress. Although student expertise is paramount in determining the success of a participation project, teachers need pedagogic, content, and technological knowledge, particularly awareness of how to use Reddit, as well as knowledge regarding memes and internet slang.

Adobe Spark Video: A fun storytelling tool to share ideas, improve skills, and engage students #17

As communicative language teachers, we always look for new ways and new tools to encourage students to improve their communication skills and to share their knowledge and ideas with others. Adobe Spark Video is a free content creation tool which can empower students to tell their own stories. Its ease of use frees up valuable class time so that more time is available for learning and communicating together. In this workshop I will briefly talk about what Spark Video is and why it is so different from all the other popular presentation or video tools currently available such as Powerpoint, Canva, Prezi, etc. After looking at some of the beneficial educational and design principles inherent in the application, I will discuss some my own teaching and research experiences of using Spark Video as a student presentation tool and what impact it has had on my own teaching and on my students’ learning. Finally, I will demonstrate and share different ways teachers can incorporate this content creative tool into their classroom to make student thinking visible, to build students’ language and communication skills, and to help students tell their own stories and ideas in fun and creative ways. After completing this workshop, you will be able to teach your students how to use Adobe Spark Video to demonstrate what they have learned, to share their stories, and to enhance their language skills, and you will learn practical steps and techniques to make storytelling and presentations fun and easy to do.

How to make online videos engaging for language learners #18

Open non-formal online courses hosted by commercial platforms are becoming increasingly popular as a self-paced option for learners across the globe. The numbers of students enrolled on these kinds of courses are significant and rapidly growing. For example, the Udemy course provider states that, as of October 2019, it has over 30 million students learning on 50,000 courses. These figures suggest that this type of online learning is popular; however, the attrition rates for such courses, similar to other online options such as MOOCs, can be high. In this show-and-tell presentation two teacher-researchers analyse their experience of creating instructional videos for online language courses. Videos are the main components of such courses and if they can be made as engaging as possible the chances of retaining students will be higher. The presenters collected data from an online survey and follow-up interviews with 19 English language learners from several countries including Japan, China and Hungary. Participants were shown short clips from six popular YouTube language teachers and asked to rate how effective they were. Results suggest various ways in which videos can be made more engaging. While the participants judged videos from a number of different criteria, which reflected their personal preferences and learning goals, there are some commonalities in style and quality that they expect to see in instructional videos. Although the data and analysis are focused on open non-formal online courses the findings and discussion are of relevance to other forms of online instruction and multimedia learning.

Methodological and technological considerations in flipped language learning interventions: A systematic review #19

Flipped learning has become an important area of investigation in the second language field. We located 56 flipped learning interventions through a systematic search on databases including Scopus and Proquest. Analysis of methodological and design features of these reports showed that almost half of them did not check the reliability of their outcome variables, that about 30% failed to include an empirical pre-test, and that no report conducted an a priori power analysis. We offer guidance on how to address these methodological and design issues after identifying them. Our results also showed that all reports relied on technology to flip their classrooms. Most of these interventions (75%) used videos and under half (41%) employed an interactive platform where students interacted with and/or through the technology. Using examples from the report pool, we then highlight how interactive and multimodal flipped applications might be most effective in light of recent theory, especially the drive to develop 21st century skills (van Laar et al., 2020). Finally, we make suggestions for future research based on gaps in our report pool, such as more research on certain language outcomes, on languages other than English, and on younger learners.

An open-source speaking practice and testing application #20

Recent advances in AI and neural machine learning have significantly improved the accuracy of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technologies. Consequently, ASR tools have been gaining headway in language learning environments. The presenter will first introduce recent trends in speech recognition and speech assessment and review a number of auto-graded speech tools that are currently available to teachers. The main portion of the presentation will focus on an open-source speaking practice and testing application that is being developed by the presenter. This web-based application enables teachers to easily create customized speaking tasks with embedded text, images, audio or video prompts. The custom speaking tasks are automatically scored and immediate feedback is provided at the individual level. The application integrates Google’s speech recognition engine with a phoneme-based text comparison algorithm to automatically generate a speaking score. A number of speaking activities that can be deployed and scored using this application will be demonstrated. Examples of imitative, intensive, responsive, interactive, and extensive speaking tasks will be provided. The software is available as open-source code on GitHub, and is compatible with the latest versions of the Moodle course management system.

H5P: Tasks for communicative language practice using a Moodle plugin #21

H5P is a content collaboration framework (a plugin for Moodle) that enables teachers to create interactive content including slideshows, interactive videos, games, branching scenarios, quizzes, and much more. In this workshop, attendees will first be introduced to a range of H5P content which were designed to facilitate a first-year university-level English course rooted in the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach. Applications and limitations of H5P to enhance existing classroom activities such as information-gaps and dictations will be demonstrated using PC and mobile versions, as will a handful of entirely new language learning tasks made possible through H5P. Following a demonstration of the end user experience, attendees will have the chance to build their own content in a dedicated Moodle course, as workshop leaders demonstrate how anyone, regardless of tech proficiency, can develop and share content that is engaging, eye-catching, and grounded in research. It is recommended that attendees bring their favorite device on which to create H5P content, and though most content is compatible on all browsers, please note that content involving automated speech recognition (ASR) is currently usable only on Google Chrome.

Using Google Slides to create collaborative choose your own adventure stories #22

The ability to produce written English is an essential skill that plays a vital role in the learning process for second language learners. Unfortunately, this skill is often inadequately adressed in Japanese high schools and students arrive at university without the basic skills necessary to create even basic paragraphs in English. Students find this lack of skill frustrating and their motivation to learn this fundamental skill is often adversely affected. This presentation will detail findings from a case study that explored the effects of having students participate in a creative writing project aimed at increasing motivation and task engagement. Forty-eight A2-B1 (CEFR level) EFL learners participated in a collaborative project-based language learning task designed to improve basic writing skills. Working in groups of 4, students created short gamebooks (approx. 1000-1500 words) in the Choose Your Own Adventure style. Google Slides was chosen as the medium to present these stories because of the program’s synchronous collaboration capabilities and its ability to link slides within a presentation. The findings showed that students could create interesting and entertaining gamebooks that met many of the language learning targets of their English course. Survey results revealed that students found the activity enjoyable and that their motivation to write in English also increased. This presentation will serve as a guide for educators who are interested in creating collaborative gamebooks using digital presentation programs such as Google Slides.

Investigating college EFL learners’ perceptions toward the use of Google IPA for foreign language learning #25

One of the very promising CALL tools is the IPAs (intelligent personal assistant). Some famous IPAs are Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Echo. Some pioneering studies have found that these tools are indeed very useful for second language learners. (Moussalli & Cardoso, 2019) So far, most studies focused on the use the Amazon echo. Few targeted on the Google assistant. In this study, we decided to focus on the potentials of Google Assistant. We collected various useful language learning commands and invited a group of 29 college learners to use these various commands and explore the potentials of Google Assistant for foreign language learning. The subjects were provided a list of various commands and they tried to use these commands to interact with Google Home Hub. After they tried various commands for about 60 minutes, they were asked to fill in a survey. They were also interviewed briefly by the researchers. The results show that in general these learners enjoyed interacting with the IPA (4.31/5). They also feel that the pronunciation of Google TTS is quite natural (4.48/5) and they can also understand the content provide by Google IPA (4.14/5). They also felt that the IPA can motivate them to learn English and help them improve speaking and listening skills. In addition, the more proficient learners had better perceptions toward Google Home Hub. The least proficient learners had some difficulties when communicating with Google Home Hub.

How high school English teachers taught close reading using mash-ups #26

Drawing on social semiotics theory, this study intends to explore how the teaching of close reading was enhanced through the combinations of verbal and visual resources to achieve specific communicative purposes. In this sense, mash-up is a pedagogical tool, in which language and media can be integrated to make meaning. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the actual process of applying mash-ups to foreign language teaching. To fill this research gap, the present study aims to understand how English teachers taught close reading through mash-ups as well as to explore how they addressed the challenges or problems encountered. Firstly, five in-service senior high school English teachers were oriented towards a mash-up tool, i.e. book-snap, through which they could annotate reading texts using a photo editing app, PicCollage. Then, they learned to teach reading lessons in which book-snaps were utilized to help their students promote critical thinking and increase affective engagement. Lastly, the teachers reflected on the book-snap activity. Regarding the integration of book-snaps into close reading, data collected through lesson plans, think-aloud sessions, and interviews suggest that while the teachers preferred to annotate key information through doodling functions such as underline and circle, they tended to indicate authors’ attitudes via emojis available on PicCollage. On the other hand, data regarding the difficulties in actual teaching collected through reflective teaching journals, classroom observations, and interviews reveal that the teachers voiced some concerns, one of which involved problems with operating the digital annotation tool.

Autograding oral reading #27

Reading aloud in a different language is a simple activity and is useful for developing fluency and practicing pronunciation. It is also commonly used with young students learning to read in their native language. This presentation introduces Poodll ReadAloud, an application for the Moodle LMS that can be used to deliver oral reading practice. Poodll ReadAloud records the student's audio and evaluates how well the audio transcript matches the original reading passage. It produces a marked up passage showing the student "mistakes" , an accuracy score and a words-per-minute score. Using Poodll ReadAloud teachers can deliver regular, and formative, assessment of student reading without a negative impact on their own time. Students receive nearly instant visual feedback on their reading and can improve their score by re-attempting. Poodll ReadAloud is a commercial and open source product available as an annual subscription

Oral communication skill development with a cooperative digital game #28

While digital games are not often integrated into foreign language curricula at schools and universities, a growing body of literature in digital game-based language learning suggests that commercially-produced games can be an effective and highly engaging means of facilitating second-language acquisition (Peterson, 2013; Reinhardt, 2019). Previous empirical studies have focussed on vocabulary acquisition (e.g. Miller & Hegelheimer, 2006) and on the benefits of online interaction between learners and L1 speakers of the target language (e.g. Zheng et al., 2009). However, the potential of digital games to develop learners’ L2 speaking skills still remains largely unexplored. To better understand the learning mechanisms involved, a study was designed in which four groups of young adult Japanese learners of English played the cooperative puzzle game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes over four one-hour gameplay sessions. The game requires learners to cooperate by exchanging information quickly and efficiently in order to solve a series of information gap tasks, leading to the production of much spoken English and thus the potential for peer-based language learning. An initial discourse analysis of learner language elicited through the gameplay activity will be presented. This analysis is informed by a cognitive interactionist SLA framework that posits instances of learners negotiating for meaning as evidence for second language acquisition. Evidence pointing to gains in discourse management, vocabulary, pronunciation accuracy, and oral fluency resulting from game-based interaction between learners will also be discussed.

Developing a language learning system that appropriates the affordances of VR #29

This presentation concerns the current iteration of a VR system designed to promote speaking skills as participants carry out collaborative tasks. In a former study, a simpler system was used to explore the effect of modality on learners’ foreign language anxiety (FLA) where results suggested that participants anxiety was statistically significantly lower in the VR environment compared to video-chat. However, of three key affordances—presence, interactivity, and autonomy—the previous system only focused on presence. The current system also features an interactive component and was used in a comparative study against the previous (presence-only) system. The research question was: does more-fully utilizing the affordances of VR lower or increase students’ FLA? In a counterbalanced design, 30 participants (15 pairs) completed a spot-the-difference task in two different VR domains: interactive-VR and non-interactive-VR. Results of a post-experimental questionnaire suggested that there was no difference in participants’ FLA for the two domains. However, a significant difference was found in terms of ease of communication and enjoyment which favoured the interactive-VR mode. Additionally, compared to predictions that the interactive task would be more cognitively demanding, it was considered simpler than the non-interactive task by the participants. This suggests that using more of the affordances of VR by increasing interactivity further may make the embodied experience more life-like and therefore increase opportunities for learning. This presentation introduces the system, pedagogical implications, and future research directions.

Taking an English language curriculum online: a comparative study #30

Over the last decade, the prevalence of online asynchronous courses has increased in educational programs; however, their effectiveness is heavily debated, particularly in the language teaching field, which entails human interaction for communication. Although initial research into online learning options has previously been conducted at the same institution (See Mynard & Murphy, 2012), asynchronous online courses are still uncommon in Japanese tertiary language education curricula. The adoption of such courses could expand current programs to provide equal educational opportunities to non-traditional students, and offer practical alternatives to cancelling classes due to unforeseen circumstances. This study investigates whether, in a language-focused Japanese university context, online versions of core curriculum classes based upon the regular in-class course content, offer comparable value to traditional classroom-based lessons. The presentation includes practical descriptions of how traditional lessons were adapted to be delivered online as well as quantitatively evaluated feedback comparing the students' perceptions of asynchronous learning versus face-to-face lessons. Attendees to this workshop will gain a better understanding of the affordances and challenges of creating online asynchronous course content from the viewpoint of both educators and students.

Automated generation of vocabulary quizzes en masse for large-scale testing #31

Vocabulary testing is a common element of most language teaching curricula, but presents certain problems (in quiz consistency, difficulty, and security) when used in programs that have large student enrollment. This presentation describes and demonstrates the latest version of Word Quiz Constructor (WQC), an open-source free application the generates word quizzes from online and offline sources. WQC creates multiple-choice cloze questions, synonym questions, and free response cloze questions in a customizable configuration (e.g., 10 questions of each type). Stem sentences are drawn from online sources such as Wikipedia or offline corpora such as the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus. The target words for a quiz can be drawn from the Academic Word List (AWL: Coxhead 2000) or other customized lists. Google NGrams are used to ensure that the target word appears in contexts that are high frequency contexts. Finally, the select stem sentences are filtered using readability metrics (e.g., Flesch-Kincaid, Linsear Write) to control the difficulty level. Quizzes produced by WQC have been evaluated with various populations: native Japanese learners of English, native speakers of English, and experienced teachers of English as a foreign language. Results (published previously) show that WQC produces questions that are as well-formed as manually-produced questions. It has also been used productively for several years in a large-scale ESP program in Japan. This presentation will describe the architecture of WQC, demonstrate its use, and explain how to download and make use of the application.

Mobile phone presence and its effect on cognitive performance #32

Mobile technology such as the ubiquitous cell phone and the increasingly popular wearable technology, keep us up to date with the world around us. The amount of information that is passed through these devices is incredible. As businesses look to leverage such technology, classrooms around the world have made digital literacy an essential component of 21st Century Skills. Despite this, much research has also cautioned against detriments associated with actively cell phone use (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2012). Recently, there has been interest in the impact of cell phone "presence" on cognitive functioning. Have people become so psychologically dependent on cell phones that their mere “presence” can affect how they think and work? To better understand this, 54 Japanese university students participated in a two-week repeated measures experiment. Participants were given modified versions of the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI) under two controlled conditions: tests taken with mobile devices out of sight and tests taken with mobile devices in plain sight (i.e. on participants’ desks). Scores when mobile devices were present were 20% lower with significant decreases on problems requiring higher cognitive processing. These findings support previous research on the negative impact of cell phones on cognitive functioning (Thornton, Faires, Robbins, & Rollins, 2014). It is the hope that a better understanding of how mobile technology affects cognition will allow educators to better leverage technology in the class, capitalizing on the benefits such technology affords, while reducing its detrimental effects.

The effect of modality on oral task performance in voice, video and VR-based environments #33

Synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) is a topic of great interest in CALL literature where research has investigated the effectiveness of SCMC compared to traditional face-to-face instruction. However, there are few studies that investigate the intrinsic differences in SCMC modes. At the JALT CALL 2018 conference, we introduced research which assessed the anxiety-reducing affordances of three SCMC modes. This year we present results of a follow-up study which focused on the effect of SCMC modality on learners’ speaking performance. 30 participants (15 pairs) completed a spot-the-difference task within three different SCMC modes: voice, video and Virtual Reality (VR). Using the complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) model, participants’ oral complexity, accuracy and fluency were analyzed. Results showed that the voice mode promoted the highest structural complexity, however, the VR mode promoted the highest lexical complexity. Modality did not have a significant effect on accuracy. Finally, participants produced the most fluent output when completing tasks in the video mode. The results suggest that different modes of communication can be used to focus on different skill development. Practitioners must also consider how each modality affects learner anxiety and choose the most appropriate system for their students. This presentation introduces the VR system, a detailed analysis of results, pedagogical implications, and future research directions.

Promoting teacher-trainee reflection and development through feedback on a lesson study application #34

This paper introduces a Lesson Study Application (LS APP) that has been used for Iwate University teaching practicums in Japan and also Thailand. The purpose of the LS APP is to facilitate student-teacher reflection by giving them a means to receive feedback from those who observe their classes. The Content Management System, WordPress and various plugins were used to develop the application. Before each lesson, the teacher-trainee makes a “Lesson Research Page” on WordPress which consists of their lesson plan and a list of issues they want observers to comment on. The plugin WPDiscuz was used for commenting on lessons. Users write their comments in real time. They can provide keywords for their comments, tag other users, “like” other comments, and submit pictorial or video data to support their observations, which is something not possible through paper-and-pencil observation. The researcher asked teacher-trainees to choose feedback they found useful and explain their choices. He also conducted a questionnaire about using the LS APP. It was found that the feedback student-teachers received helped them improve their instruction and develop teaching concepts that they could use in the future. However, student-teachers have not reflected on how to bridge the gap between the teaching theories studied in the university classroom and their actual practice. Bridging the “Theory-practice Divide” was one of the intended uses of the LS APP. The presenter will discuss how future variations of the commenting form as well as training of student-teachers to use the LS APP might improve this area.

Intercultural perceptions and peer-feedback in China and Japan in transnational video podcasting #35

This presentation will describe the preliminary results of an ongoing podcasting project between Japan and China. It will describe how podcasting can be integrated as Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) activities into English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses. Learners were second-year university students in the two countries. As part of the project, the students chose a subject, wrote a script, acquired copyright free photographs or video material, produced a video podcast, narrated a script, added background music, swapped the video podcasts with students from the other country, received peer feedback, edited their projects and the submitted their final projects as part of their English course. The project integrated computer skills, podcast production and video editing, and cultural perceptions between the two countries via podcasting. The research method that was used employed online surveys regarding learner perceptions of improved computer skills and perceptions of culture. Results suggested that podcasting and contact with the other country made the course more enjoyable, but that intercultural understanding is a fluid notion requiring deeper investigation. Learners also suggested that peer feedback is a useful tool for classroom interaction, second language development and in improving their podcasts. Transnational video podcasting projects can be unitized to enhance learning and integrate meaningful CALL activities into EFL courses.

Online discussion to fuel in-class participation #36

Encouraging students to continue their studies outside of classroom walls and ensuring they prepare for/participate in each class is a constant challenge. This poster examines one way technology can allow teachers to continue discussions outside of the classroom using online platforms. An online discussion forum was established via Google classroom for two freshman communication classes. The students utilized the tool for one academic year, participating in twelve semi-structured online discussion assignments. These assignments were directly tied into the classwork, culminating with discussion skills tests centered around the same topics. Students were encouraged to provide explicit feedback about the effectiveness of the program via group interviews at the end of each semester. The poster will discuss the aims of the online discussion, its practice and results, student feedback, and the observed problems/limitations of the project. It will explore topics such as social cohesiveness, interpersonal relations, fluency, and how to smoothly integrate the technology into the classroom. Teachers will be able to share their experiences using similar formats or take away new ideas that they can integrate into their classroom with little or no learning curve.

An email magazine for teaching English #38

The presenter writes a daily English email magazine that is freely available for any learner. He will discuss the genesis of the project, the affordances of email as a platform, and reader participation. Since the project began in 2005, the number of subscribers has risen to over 13,500 (as of January 2020). While most of the readers are individual learners, many are teachers in public junior high and senior high schools who use the magazine to supplement the textbooks that they use in their classrooms. The news, stories, and anecdotes in the email magazine provide adolescent and mature learners with topical stories familiar to Japanese learners and with posts that introduce them to other cultures. The readings are short, on average 100 words, which make them accessible even to false beginners. There is a special “Readers’ Corner” every Friday that allows the more ambitious learners to become active participants by sending in their own stories. The presenter will introduce different activities using the email magazine in a variety of teaching settings.

Using a lexical database for semantic analysis of word lists for language learning #39

Corpus-derived word lists are increasingly being used in the production of language learning materials. This is in an effort to focus vocabulary study on high-frequency items in the belief that these will be the most helpful for learners. However, these lists are generally compiled without considering word sense or part-of-speech, as many large corpora consist mainly of raw text without labels to provide semantic information. Additionally, these word lists have generally not been subjected to detailed semantic analysis even after being compiled. Absent this semantic information, researchers often assume that words can be represented by a single canonical sense and that learners who know the canonical sense can be assumed to know all other senses of a word. How many word senses does this assumption really entail knowing? This talk will provide an introduction to WordNet, a freely available and machine-readable lexical database of English, and show how it can be used with a small amount of programming to provide a preliminary analysis of the semantic ambiguity present in a commonly used word list for language learners. This talk will be of interest to anyone concerned with vocabulary acquisition or computational approaches to language learning materials development.

Using e-Rubrics for academic writing #40

Helping university learners to critically evaluate their academic writing performance or engage in self-directed learning are the hallmarks of the student-centered approach. Traditionally, rubrics have been used by instructors to assess the quality of student performance on a learning event based on evaluation criteria. A set of indicators in a rubric provides detailed information that explains what a student has to do to demonstrate proficiency in particular skills. Recent research has shown that when students are involved in formative assessment, rubrics (especially e-rubrics) have the power to guide the learning process and promote self-directed learning. Goobric is a third-party add-on (available through Doctopus) that works with G-Suite and is available for free. Instructors can freely use Goobric to create an e-rubric and grade any assignment, be it a Google Document, Google Slide presentation, or even a Google Sheet. In this presentation, the presenter will provide a step-by-step approach to guide the attendees on how to use Goobric; even novice users of G-Suite products will find it easy to use. The presenter will also offer pedagogical insights on how to design an e-rubric in such a way that it becomes a learning tool for the student.

Implementation of visual novel mobile games to enhance the reading experience in EFL in Japan #41

Smartphones have recently gained sufficient features and capacity to compete with computers with the advantage of convenient size and mobility and have already become a vital part of our lives, as an ideal platform for users’ daily activities. Gaming is one of such an activity. For game developers, smartphones present a fruitful market through which to launch their products. In this context, teachers have an opportunity to adopt mobile gaming in their English courses to enrich the students’ experiences, both in the classroom and out. For the current presentation, with an emphasis on reading, the context of Japan has been chosen due to the historic focus on reading input activities, such as grammar-translation activities; Japan is also the country of origin of the visual novel genre. What distinguishes visual novels from other game types is their generally minimal active gameplay, and a heavy focus on text-based information, along with graphics and sound. The majority of visual novels present multiple storylines that rely on the choices of the player to further the story’s development. This presentation will demonstrate how mobile visual novels affect students’ attitudes, comprehension and motivation levels by comparing data before and after activities utilizing visual novels. Data was collected through surveys and interviews and during the in-class reading activities of the high-level English university students that will also be described. In addition, several teachers’ attitudes towards the use of visual novels will be presented.

Saving time by using Moodle auto-grade function #42

The prevalence of English education focusing on single sentence translation exercises and grading mainly grammar and spelling mistakes has resulted in students who are unaccustomed to create a meaningful composition with logical organization. However, often in real life, minor grammar and spelling mistakes are ignored or forgiven, but not having a structured composition could cause misunderstanding or failure to convey real meanings. Therefore, in preparation for using English in the real world, writing composition exercises are a crucial part of English study in college education. Furthermore, when students attempt to write or speak their own sentences, they could notice and learn the grammar (Swain, 1985). However, reading students’ composition, grading and giving feedback are very time consuming parts of an educator’s job, especially when he or she has a large number of students in the class. Fortunately, with the help of technology, this could lighten the workload and save precious time. In this presentation, the auto-grade essay function in Moodle is introduced to assist with grading students’ composition. Mainly, simple word counts can help to grade the students work when it is combined with sentence and paragraph count. The teachers can focus on organization and structure of the writing rather than grammar and spelling mistakes. This presentation intends to introduce some useful Moodle functions to those who are new or still learning to use Moodle. Also, suitable types of assignments and tests are discussed along with some useful functions to guide teachers.

Preparing for online assessment of speaking and writing in the new Center Exam #43

This presentation will introduce an open-source, online tool for assessing English ability, that features the automatic grading of not only reading and listening, but also speaking and writing. This four-skills test will allow the general English ability of large numbers of students to be checked quickly online, thus making it suitable for use in entrance exams and placements tests, as well as preparation for the new Center Exam to be introduced in Japan in 2024. The major commercial tests, including TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS and Eiken, are all available online nowadays and most include speaking and writing sections. However, the use of human assessors means that the fees for taking these tests are high, and furthermore the results only become available a few weeks after the test has been taken. To overcome these issues, a new open-source test is proposed that is based around the Moodle LMS. The test features several new plugins to automatically grade speaking and writing. The presenter will detail the development of the plugins, reveal the preliminary version of the test, and explain how the the reliability of the test will be verified by comparing students' scores with human-ratings and widely used tests such as IELTS, TOEIC and CASEC.

Visualization in test item writing #44

When writing grammar test items, the item writer is often reliant on intuition and professional judgement in selecting distractors and structuring samples. However, one criticism of this is that it is open to bias and misjudgments that can reduce the reliability and validity of a test. The English Language Program at International University of Japan was recently tasked with improving the grammar portion of a placement test. The purpose of the placement test is to determine which incoming students need further language support for their English-only Masters degrees. To improve the test, we took a visual approach that helped us to make decisions about test constructs, specific items and distractors. Through analysis of a learner corpus and an academic corpus, we created visual plots, including mosaic plots, residual plots, word clouds and bar charts which work alongside standard concordancing software in helping us to improve the placement test. This poster focuses on how we put visualization into practice in order to construct test items by explaining how we interpreted the various plots. The poster will also outline how the plots were generated and offer further suggestions for automating this process in the future.

Challenges and risks of the use of NLP summary applications in EFL reading and writing #45

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications in education are on the rise and have received a lot of attention in the last couple of years. Natural Language Processing (NLP) in AI technologies is closely related to our field of foreign language teaching and learning. NLP in AI development has recently reached such a level that there are available a few applications that can analyze a huge number of call center text threads and phone calls for labeling and sorting by moods and style. Another challenging NLP development is online services that can produce summary reports on web passages and newspaper articles on the internet in a minute or so. Naturally, it is anticipated that EFL learners may blindly depend on such summarization applications for reading assignments, as they do with machine translation applications for writing assignments. EFL teachers should start thinking about how to incorporate such challenging developments in AI and NLP, rather than ignoring such trends. This paper demonstrates one summarization application called “SummarizeBot” and to discuss the merits and possible risks in EFL teaching of reading and writing. A holistic evaluation will be presented as to the quality of the gathered collection of summary reports both in English and Japanese. Join us to discuss how such summary services can be used in teaching reading and writing skills in EFL settings.

Factors that influence satisfactory blending learning in an ESP classroom #46

This study attempts to investigate the key factors that contribute to a satisfactory blended learning norm in an English for specific purposes classroom in Taiwan. In achieving the goal, the study utilizes Special Private Online courses (SPOCs) accompanied with in-class instruction and discussion to facilitate the acquisition of the professional Nursing vocabulary and its related reading comprehension. Questionnaires, distributed to 100 students who were enrolled in one semester ESP course, were based on four dimensions: instructor styles, course characteristics, student attitude and technology support. The qualitative and quantitative results highlight the key factors lying in instructor’s voice and expressing styles, the tangible contents, students’ engagement and adaptive technology assistance. The statistical result showed that the higher scores students gained in vocabulary and reading comprehension tests, the much amount of time they had spent in SPOCs. Both high and low achievement students considered blended learning as a beneficial trait in acquiring difficult professional nursing vocabulary and reading than teacher-directed instruction alone. They also approached that adaptive and useful e-learning contents are key to continuously concentrate on online learning.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes: fluency training via bomb defusal #47

“Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” is a hybrid digital-analog cooperative game in which teams race a countdown timer to defuse bombs. The team is split such that a single player, called the defuser, uses a computer to manipulate a simulated bomb only they are allowed to see, while the remaining team members, the “experts,” parse convoluted defusal instructions found in a paper manual and relay the information back to the defuser, all under intense time and accuracy pressure. The design of the game makes it a natural information-gap activity that demands both reading and communicative fluency. The presenter used the game in five second-year non-English major reading skills classes in the Science and Technology Department at Kwansei University in the spring of 2019 as part of a study on student perceptions of game-based language learning. The first third of this workshop will feature a brief introduction to Game-Based Language Learning and explain the impetus behind the activity. In the second section the participants will have the opportunity to play the game themselves. The workshop will wrap up with a brief presentation of the study’s findings, participant questions, and suggestions for using games like “Keep Talking” in the classroom.

Designing CALL into a CLIL Curriculum #48

Active Learning (AL) in undergraduate programs has been highlighted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) as an educational aim in Japan for over ten years. The push to adopt AL approaches has been felt at universities throughout Japan, and one answer has been to adopt Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) as a cornerstone in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programs in different parts of the country. The current paper provides an overview of one such program, with special attention to CALL elements that have been designed into the overall curriculum, specific courses, and individual lesson plans. Participants will be walked through the what, why and how of several web-based apps and online/offline tools for facilitating content delivery, language acquisition, course management, reflection, and assessment. The central role played by the theoretical frameworks of learner engagement and self-determination theory (especially the basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness) will be highlighted as powerful lenses through which to evaluate CALL elements, designing curriculum and boosting learner engagement.

Utilizing AI smart speakers to improve the English skills of Japanese university students #49

Participating in digital environments via artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to facilitate English learning and enhance student motivation. Recently, AI technologies can be experienced efficiently and enhance the construction of broader learning environments and viewpoints (Kepuska & Bohouta, 2018), as well as promote the personalization and contextualization of the second language (L2) learning experience, resulting in a more integrated approach to language learning. The main goal of this presentation is to introduce two case studies carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of using AI smart speakers to improve the English proficiency of native Japanese studying at a private university in Tokyo. The participants were required to study English with the assistance of AI speakers. At the conclusion of the training, students delivered presentations of their impressions of the training with the results indicating it had an overall positive effect on improving their English language skills. Both pretest and post-test evaluations were conducted to examine the overall effectiveness using the AI smart speakers, indicating the training helped the students in improving their English communication skills. Post-training surveys revealed a majority of the students were impressed by the use of the AI speakers in improving their English skills, although some students expressed apprehension about using the technology and reported negative outcomes. The presentation concludes with some practical suggestions about how AI smart speakers can be used to improve English education at the tertiary level in Japan.

The best podcasts for English learners in Japan #50

Do Japanese university students enjoy listening to podcasts to improve their English skills? How effective are podcasts for learning English? How do teachers in Japan utilize English-learning podcasts? What are the most popular podcasts for language learners? First, this poster will cite research which has concluded that, theoretically, podcasts seem to be effective tools for improving English as a Foreign Language (EFL) skills. Also, the presenter will explain about numerous recent longitudinal studies which have concluded that the use of podcasts has led to improvements in certain EFL skills. However, research will also be cited which shows that students have mixed emotions about using their free time to study English via podcasts. Then, five of the most widespread approaches to using podcasts in the language class will be delineated. Finally, in the most important part of this poster, the presenter will give several short lists of “the best podcasts for students of English in Japan.” Of course, all students have different English abilities, different goals, and different likes. Thus, several lists are provided. The lists were all compiled earlier this year, after researching about 100 English-learning podcast sites, after taking various pedagogical principles into account, and after surveying about 80 university students. For almost 15 years, the presenter has conducted research on using podcasts in EFL classes, especially in Japan. He is the main producer of “Hiroshima University’s English Podcast,” which is thought to have thousands of listeners each week.


Hacking our vision: binocular rivalry and language learning #52

Can an innate quirk of vision help study foreign languages? Binocular rivalry (BR) is a visual phenomenon that occurs when our two eyes simultaneously look at very different things, causing our conscious perception to alternate between the two (Blake and Logothetis, 2002). BR research shows that (1) the frequency of the perceptual alternation can be controlled by several factors and (2) both dominant and suppressed stimuli are perceived at a level of consciousness sufficient to influence decisions, suggesting that BR can be used to access and alter perception. In this study of 26 participants, English and Japanese texts were shown simultaneously to each eye, creating a bistable perceptual experience with one text dominating temporarily over the other. Stimulus strengths of the texts were adjusted via motion to test the possibility of externally controlling the language that dominates participants’ awareness. Results showed a positive correlation between stimulus strength and dominance of awareness. This suggests that language learners could view two different language texts simultaneously, while dynamically controlling which one dominates their conscious perception. With the ever-deepening understanding of the BR mechanism and advancing technology that can be used to produce the experience (such as affordable head-mounted displays (HMDs)), these findings suggest that BR is an area of research of increasing potential in foreign language study. Possible applications of BR such as HMD assisted text glossing and vocabulary flashcards are suggested as enhanced versions of the red/ green plastic anki sheet memorisation tools that remain popular in Japan today. 3D Glasses Required! This presentation is best viewed while wearing blue and red 3D (anaglyph) glasses. If you have access to a pair, then please have them ready. I am happy to post glasses to people who request them (within reasonable limits). Please email me ASAP with your mailing address and the number of glasses required (up to 4 per request). whall@sky.miyazaki-mic.ac.jp


Teaching reading with tech: How Readizy helps EFL teachers #53

Teaching with tech, if works appropriately, will facilitate teachers in their instruction. Teaching with tech may appear in different forms, with the majority of teachers using technologies directly in their classrooms. However, preparing for the class and evaluating students’ performance with proper technologies can also be part of teaching with tech, as they indirectly facilitate teachers to plan, organize, and evaluate their instructional practice and student performance. In our presentation, we introduced Readizy, a reading diagnosis technology, to facilitate teachers with their reading instruction. Readizy is an artificial intelligence technology through facial expression recognition techniques to help EFL teachers evaluate the reading text and assess students’ reading proficiency. In response to how this technology facilitates teaching, we present our rationale in two aspects: Readizy helps teachers screen and select text materials that are fit to their students’ actual reading proficiency levels; it also helps teachers diagnose their students’ comprehension of the reading text through their emotions, including excitement, joy, anxiety, and boredom. In our actual presentation, we also report how this tech has worked in our sampled reading classes and provide attendees with a demo on how it works to help our reading instruction.

The impact of mobile learning on student English levels during long vacations #54

Japanese university students have two long vacations in a year: spring vacation; and summer vacation. Both exceed 40 days. This research explores the following issues related to English learning during vacations: 1) How does the English language ability of students change after a long vacation: does it stay the same, improve, or decline? 2) Face-to-face teaching is unlikely to be available during vacations, so will e-learning, especially of mobile learning, play a role in maintaining or even improving the English ability of students? In 2019 and 2020, before the summer vacation started, we surveyed 344 students, in total, by asking them if they had an English-learning plan for the coming summer vacation. In addition, we recruited 77 volunteer students - 30 in 2019 and 47 in 2020 - to follow several free online learning English programs – all compatible with mobile phones, so that they were able to continue to study English during their summer vocation. After the summer vacation, we administered a TOEIC test not only to verify the changes to the English level of the students during the long vacation but also of the efficacy of mobile learning. By analyzing the data from TOEIC tests taken before and after the summer vacations, coupled with the questionnaires, the questions above were answered: most students do not study English during long vacations and accordingly their English ability declines. Fortunately, however, mobile learning is effective in stopping the decline and it maintains, even improves, the English language level of students.

Using smartphone gaming to teach business strategy in EFL contexts #55

This study uses post-game survey data from six gaming sessions of the English language smartphone edition of Klaus Teuber’s The Settlers of Catan conducted throughout one academic semester in a Business English course at a private Japanese university to analyze how smartphone gaming can be used as a pedagogical tool to teach enrolled students (n=4) how to develop effective business strategies in dynamic systems. Instruction on the development of effective business strategies for dynamic systems comprised of unpredictable variables including environmental contexts and multiple agents influencing the system may benefit from more active pedagogical approaches that utilize interaction with business simulations (e.g. game-based learning) instead of simply relying on passive instruction (e.g. textbook explanations) in order to allow students to discover for themselves the most effective strategy to cope with such dynamic systems. The simulated trading environment provided in The Settlers of Catan has shown itself to be an effective pedagogical approach to simulating dynamic systems and providing students with opportunities to develop their own effective strategies to cope with dynamic systems such as supply and demand, resource management, and trade while using the target language. The results from the post-game surveys used to identify and track how the students’ game strategies and language use changed throughout the study period suggest that utilizing the pedagogical approach outlined in this study not only promotes intellectual engagement with the concepts of supply and demand, resource management, and effective trading strategies but also encourages linguistic development of business-oriented English.

Does the platform matter?: using "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes" on multiple devices. #56

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a commercial video game that has been adapted for use in the EFL classroom. The goal of the game is to defuse a series of briefcase shaped explosives. Participants engage in one of two roles, either as a "defuser" who is tasked with solving puzzle modules or the "expert" who holds a manual and must relay information to the defuser. The virtual bomb explodes if the participants fail to solve the puzzles before the timer runs out. Previous studies have focused on how the game facilitates communication (Dormer, Cacali, and Senna 2017) as well as the role of the timer in encouraging speech (Fine, 2016), the role of nonverbal factors in the game (Wijk, 2016), and collaborative and uncollaborative communicative acts in relation to successful task completion. Because the game is now available on over 10 platforms in the categories of Mobile, PC, Console, VR, and Mobile VR. We are investigating how the task varies according to the platform in relation to second language acquisition. Because the game is now available on multiple platforms we decided to investigate how the task varies according to each platform and the effect on language acquisition. During the workshop, the game will be made available on Mobile, PC, Console, VR, and Mobile VR. Participants will be encouraged to try both roles on two or more platforms. After the workshop, participants will be given a QR code linking to a short survey that will contribute to ongoing research.

A perspective from learning analytics into the international virtual exchange project #57

The International Virtual Exchange Project is a collaborative online activity in which students from non-English-speaking countries asynchronously interact through text and graphics using Moodle forums for the purpose of learning about different cultures and developing English communication skills. Since its introduction in 2015, this activity has been taken by more than 15,000 students and 300 teachers from 15 countries. During the series of exchanges, the participating students generate various data, including the time and frequency of access, the number of posts and replies, and the choice of partners. Thus, the presenter examined the exchanges from the perspective of learning analytics (LA). More specifically, the student-generated data were visualized and analyzed using the LA tools available within the learning management system and those of third parties. One of the tools, the Statistics, for example, showed the chronological transition of the views and posts in the forums for the teachers to learn the timing of surge and ebb of the students' interest, while the Forum Report provided the number of posts and replies as well as the word count of each individual in a particular group. Furthermore, the Forum Graph visually presented the interrelationships among the groups of students. Overall, this poster presentation reveals the hidden realities of the international virtual exchanges and aims to trigger discussions regarding what the data suggest in comparison to the results of the questionnaires and interviews conducted at the end of the project.

A database of student-contributed photos in a virtual exchange #58

The IVEProject is a virtual exchange that has been allowing EFL students from around the world to connect via forums. It has been growing steadily and had over 3200 students participate in the autumn of 2019. A supplemental feature called ‘Photos of the Day’ was added to create a new avenue for students to learn about and discuss the countries involved. For seven of the eight weeks of the exchange, students were encouraged to upload original photos corresponding to daily themes related to forum discussion topics. Using Moodle’s database module, a total of over 3600 photos were uploaded from participants from five countries. By filtering the photos by theme and country, participants could gain a new visual perspective of various aspects of daily life in different countries. It also acted as a catalyst for both in-class spoken discussions as well as forum discussion. The presentation discusses the setup of ‘Photos of the Day’, differences in how different countries used it, and qualitative data from students’ forum posts. Furthermore, it offers lessons learned for improvement in the 2020 iteration.

Lessons from Second Life: Qualitative research methods in online learning communities #59

There is no disputing the potential for quantitative analyses of some online language learning communities to efficiently provide information on user backgrounds and opinions. Surveys can canvas large communities with little effort, while biometric data, some already publicly available, can provide insights into behavior and preferences that participants may not even be aware of. Data gleaned from quantitative studies on independent online learners can then be utilized when developing online components to university language classes. However, quantitative methods have limitations in online communities which value anonymity, trust and personal relationships over convenience. This presentation will outline research methods used to examine learning communities within the online virtual world of Second Life in studies conducted from 2008-2020. It covers the details and efficacy of various qualitative methods, including multimodal discourse analysis of interactions within and outside the virtual classroom, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic participant observation. Particular attention is given to the importance of longitudinal participation in such groups. Finally, recommendations will be provided to future teachers and researchers interested in utilizing online learning exemplars to inform their own investigations into online pedagogy and learner motivation. When focusing on environments in which participants may be reluctant to discuss the details of their offline existence, researchers need to prioritize long-term relationship-building within the group and be willing to candidly share details of their research focus and their own offline existence.

Survey of recent research in CALL and MALL in Japanese EFL Contexts #60

Today’s technology has brought a revolution in access to world cultures and languages for language learners. Consequently, language teachers are experimenting constantly to make the best use of such technology in the language classroom to teach both language and content classes. This presentation will provide a survey of the CALL-related research literature in Japanese EFL contexts from the previous seven years. The presenter will provide examples of how various technologies from computers to smartphones to video cameras to virtual reality devices are being employed in English classrooms in Japan. Topics to be covered include how mobile devices such as iPods, iPads, tablets, and smartphones are being used in language learning in Japanese universities. The presentation will also explore how social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Line are being incorporated into language lessons. Finally, a review of websites that have been reported on in the literature will be provided. Attendees will have a chance to share their own experiences with using technology in their classes. Attendees will come away with specific examples of how various technologies are being used in English education in Japan, as well as an annotated bibliography of recent CALL and MALL research for their future professional development. This presentation will be done primarily in English, but Japanese explanations are possible.

Learning about smart home technology in a CALL classroom #61

In a soft CLIL-based CALL classroom, EFL students in a Japanese computer science university learned English using video production (with Adobe Spark), information design (with Venngage and Canva) and ontology-oriented software (with MindMeister, Sketchboarding and IHMC Cloud) on the topic of smart homes (SH). Moreover, students had to do reasonably extensive online reading to better understand IoT-based technologies and complete the assignments. For the group-based PBLL (project-based language learning) activities, students focused on SH technologies (e.g., Amazon Echo family, Google home, home security systems, smart thermostat, etc.) in the Japanese and European markets by (1) planning video production with taxonomy and ontology design, (2) analyzing existing online smart home commercials based on advertising rubrics and (3) producing commercials on SH technologies. The presentation will explain how students have performed (a) with their planning of the videos using concept/mind mapping software, (b) how they analyzed the web commercials on SH technologies (c) students' ability for information design on SH technologies for print media and (d) their introductory skills in designing and producing SH technology videos. The discussion will focus on the dynamics of conducting a joint graduate-undergraduate course on SH, and with German university student partners with quarter-long project activities, resulting in joint ACM international conference presentations on the group project(s). The takeaway for the attendees would be a better understanding of the logistics of such a PBL context that can help develop language acquisition skills, group dynamics, collaborative practices, intercultural exposure, and awareness of the global technology marketplace.

Evaluating online vocabulary systems for assurance of L2 learning #63

This paper reports the results of a program-level, evaluation of online applications for vocabulary learning and their likelihood of best contributing to our system of Assurance of Learning (AOL) (MEXT, 2014). The investigation followed an argument-based approach (Gruba, Cardenas-Claros, Suvarov, and Rick, 2016). A team of tenured faculty were appointed as the Assurance of Vocabulary Learning team. The team investigated various online flashcard systems such as Quizlet, Memrise, Word Learner, English Central, and Word Engine. Following a system of evidence gathering and member checks, themes emerged with arguments for how each system best supports the vocabulary learning of Japanese university EFL learners. Methods included interviews with CALL experts, reading extant research, and a micro-level quasi-experimental comparison between two Pre-Intermediate English classes. One group used English Central and the other used Word Engine for the semester. Additionally, individual students were videotaped and interviewed while using both systems. The two groups were tested using the Pearson Progress test at the beginning and end of the semester and matched t-tests were performed to determine whether either system had an effect on Progress test vocabulary sub-scores. The results we report will include the categories for comparing systems that emerged in the data collection and analyses along with how some of the alternative systems compare side-by-side as well as our reflections on the argument-based evaluation system.

Effective usage of ICT in review and feedback in EFL class #64

Office 365 Forms is a useful service which collects students’ feedback. It is generally used to create feedback questionnaires due to the easy access and collection of data. However, Office 365 Forms is also worthwhile in creating review quizzes which students can easily access with their smartphones. Students scan the QR code of quizzes created via Office 365 Form and then send the answers. The results of the quizzes pop up on their smartphones immediately so that students can see their test results promptly. This can help university students obtain a small sense of accomplishment. Motivating undergraduate students in liberal arts classes to study English is challenging even though they are expected to pass STEP Eiken grade 2 by the end of the course. The forms can be used for building vocabulary as well as reading comprehension proficiency. I did a pre and a post survey asking university students how they felt about their vocabulary building skills. In addition, I did a post survey on how satisfied the students were with the usage of the feedback questionnaires via Office 365 form. The results will be shown in the poster presentation.


Quizlet and Slack in English for Mathematics #65

English for Mathematics is a series of workshops designed for university students and teachers of mathematics at a Japanese institute of technology. Sessions are offered to provide students with additional opportunities to practice English in an area of interest. The focus of the workshops for attending content teachers is on developing language skills to teach their content area in English. In previous iterations, these workshops have focused on general mathematics topics, teaching English through content. In the fall 2019 semester the content was changed from general topics in mathematics to applied mathematics, specifically space and aerospace engineering. These topics contained familiar mathematical concepts, but solving word problems with many new vocabulary items caused the learners difficulty. To address this issue, Quizlet word lists were created and distributed via the Slack application for learners to practice before and during each session. Slack is a work-oriented messaging platform that has intuitive workspace management for handling multifaceted projects. Using both of these applications allowed the attendees to prepare and acquire the vocabulary more quickly. Slack provided the space to share ideas and ask questions, while Quizlet allowed for a more interesting and diversified way to practice new vocabulary. This poster presentation will explain why Quizlet and Slack were used and how each were implemented. The presenter will also discuss examples of the content-specific vocabulary included and how Quizlet improved the learners' experience. Details from an example session will also be shared.

Exploring EFL student use of digital backchannels during collaborative learning activities #66

This presentation highlights several findings related to the learners’ use of digital communication channels during online collaborative activities. The term “digital backchannel” is used to imply that there are two channels of communication operating simultaneously during the collaborative activities. The predominant digital channel is that of the online content management system controlled by the instructor and accessed in the target language, English. The secondary channel of digital communication (or digital backchannel) is that of the outside personal social network systems (SNS) that students employed to interact in their first language, Japanese. The researcher collected qualitative and quantitative data on learner interactions within a yearlong series of collaborative language learning activities through internet logs and interviews. The activities were online discussions and accessible through a range of mobile and non-mobile devices to allow the method the participants found most agreeable. The participants were studying English at a four-year private university in Tokyo, Japan. Students’ language use changed when moving between these primary and secondary communication channels. Commonly used SNS, such as Twitter and Line, were drawn into the collaboration acting as an independent channel to communicate in their private language of Japanese. This appears to have reduced their motivational barriers to the homework by providing support for their public use of English by reducing the potential for embarrassing mistakes. The presentation includes a summary of the findings, quantitative and qualitative supporting data, limitations, and possibilities for furthering the study topic.

Online self-reflection to enhance students' learning with Socrative #67

The importance of self-reflection has been advocated in the fields of second language teaching and learning. Through taking five minutes for self-reflection at the end of each lesson, students can look back at what they have just learned and at the same time what they have not completely mastered; meanwhile, teachers can benefit from them because they can learn what students have achieved and what should be reviewed so as to maximize their learning in the following lessons. But how can we do this in today’s new online teaching environment? This presentation introduces an online tool called “Socrative” (https://socrative.com/) and its use for reflection activities in EAP classes at an English-medium university in northern Japan. The application Socrative has been utilized to provide self-reflection opportunities to students at the end of each class in addition to the in-class reflection activity using Zoom’s Breakout Rooms. The researchers will share how they have been using Socrative to receive end-of-class feedback and the examples of questions that can be used for online reflection activities in order to ensure our teaching objectives being met in each class as well as to enhance students’ learning in this challenging online ecosystem we face today.

Constructivism approach for academic writing through technology: Writing process through collaborative peer activities #68

This presentation aims to demonstrate how language teachers can facilitate students’ collaborative work for writing for a variety of academic genres. Students can work collaboratively at each stage of the writing process. For example, in the pre-writing phase, students participate in collaborative brainstorming to develop their topic ideas using applications such as Padlet or Zoom. Collaborative brainstorming encourages students to gain different perspectives and ideas of their peers. In addition, brainstorming and collaborative pre-writing activities result in improving students’ writing ability and influencing their writing pieces positively (Abedianpour & Omidvari, 2018; McDonough & Neumann, 2014). As for the writing stage, an iterative model in which students exchange their papers and continue to write their peers’ papers is used to increase students’ opportunities for collaboration (Eckstein, 2011). Regarding the post-writing activity, students who choose the same topic share their papers and summarize their writing pieces together into infographic, report or newsletter genres. Piktochart or Canva, which is a graphic design platform, is used for this activity. Participants are expected to come away with ideas to incorporate students’ collaboration into pre-writing, writing and post-writing activities in academic genres of writing using technology: Padlet, Google doc, Canva, Piktochart, Google hangout and Zoom video conference. Participants are expected to learn a) how to facilitate collaborative work in the writing process, b) how to use different online platforms to maximize students’ collaboration.


How Kahoot! and Duolingo help Japanese EFL Learners with limited proficiency #69

This presentation showcases how to best use two already well-known platforms for game-based learning--Kahoot! and Duolingo--in an EFL classroom, with a focus on benefits for Japanese university students with limited English proficiency. These false beginners may be different in their vocabulary size/depth and understanding of grammar, but they are typically weak in spoken English (due to lack of basic oral/aural training) and unwilling to speak up or do speaking practice in class. Kahoot! works great to bring excitement to the whole class and even shy or quiet students end up being more responsive to what is going on (making some noise, thinking out loud, asking/teaching each other, etc), which helps to maximize pair or group work. Question types are limited but a wide variety of uses are available, from a quick vocabulary review to an introduction to a new topic or concepts, and its new student-paced game mode (Challenge) has added more possibilities. Duolingo can help (false) beginners to train their oral/aural skills while internalizing grammar through spaced repetition. Though sometimes example sentences are unusual and repeating simple sentence patterns may be too boring, advice from the teacher works well to remind them that they need basic oral/aural practice to refine their phonological representations, which can help students to change their ways of learning English. Occasional or regular Kahoot! quizzes and weekly Duolingo assignments via Duolingo for School are quick and easy additions but the impact can be huge.

Give your students more speaking time with PeerEval #70

Peereval is an app, available on web browsers and iOS systems, that allows students to rate their classmates in real time as they are speaking, according to criteria that you establish before hand. Students can, at the end of the session see a summary of their evaluations by the other students, including comments. The instructor can download all results as an Excel file.The app is free to use although there is a 'premium' version which allows the teacher to keep the results indefinitely (and defrays server costs). The app was originally designed so that groups of students could give presentations in small groups rather than frontally to the entire class. This allows more total speaking time for students and reduces the stress the often results from speaking in front of the entire class. The app also encourages more frequent speaking practice since the instructor no longer needs to evaluate the presentations or transfer data from individual paper-based evaluation sheets. Registration is simple, and no student data is required except a 'handle' for each student. The presenter developed PeerEval for his own classes, but it is now in use around the world.


The interface of entrepreneurship, language and technology #71

The efficient harnessing of technology can help students and adult workers with their language development and entrepreneurial skills. This poster examines how successful entrepreneurs make use of digital tools and e-learning within their Personal Learning Environments. It also explores how management students entering the workforce boost their language proficiency and creative, critical and leadership skills. A survey was administered via Google Forms to university students in a Japanese management department, as well as entrepreneurs and general workers in the tourism sector who reported back on their job searches and working lives. The questions focused on how the interviewees had made use of technological resources to improve their foreign language skills, including their ability to read critically and hone their creativity and leadership skills. This was particularly relevant for the female students and workers who described much greater hurdles in the workplace than the males. For example, in the tourism sector only a small percentage of management jobs were occupied by female workers. The results of the interviews suggest that greater technological training and improved second language proficiency have a positive correlation with employability and success as an entrepreneur, especially for females.

Online courses in a time of crisis: What can be learned #72

What can be learned about online courses from Hong Kong in the 2019-2020 academic year? Face-to-face classes were interrupted by the sudden closure of schools for 3 weeks due to protests in the Fall term and for 11 weeks due to the coronavirus in the Spring term. In both terms, courses were suddenly converted to an online mode. This has meant that lecturers - many with little experience with technology - have had to quickly make decisions about developing an online course to achieve course intended learning outcomes, selecting tools, assessing students, and encouraging student engagement. This has also meant that students have had no choice about their mode of learning and no preparation. This has resulted in a wide range of successes and failures. For example, in a recent online academic writing class delivered in a mandatory 3-hour session, the presenter found that students were "attending" with mixed success and engagement while shopping, working, traveling in public transportation, and sharing space at home with family members. Many students were limited to mobile phones; many reported no access to printers and free wifi. While this kind of disrupted education is unique, lessons can be learned in regards to how lecturers can adapt courses for online delivery and for addressing students' online needs. In this session, the presenter will share the following: feedback from students, feedback from colleagues, local education news, and personal reflections. The presenter will end with some general thoughts on adaptability in teaching and best practices for moving courses online.

CALL & Learner Development Forum: Learning transformations with Schoology, online workbooks, and Google Suites #73

The Learner Development SIG Forum at JALTCALL 2020 is an interactive event featuring Learning Transformations, CALL approaches that are changing the way teachers and learners are focused on learner development. The aim of this forum is to critically explore the practical experiences of both learners and teachers in CALL. This LD Forum consists of 3 presentations. First, Ivan Lombardi will present some of the affordances and challenges of going paperless using the Schoology LMS. In particular, the presentation will focus on transformations in speaking activities, assignment submissions, and online readings. Next, Blair Barr will critically compare two publisher-developed online workbooks with a self-developed workbook using a combination of the Manaba LMS and Google tools. In particular, he will outline the advantages of taking control over the workbook development and how students benefited from this approach. Finally, Rachelle Meilleur and Michael Barr focus on autonomy, and identify changes they have witnessed as they have begun the process of implementing activities based on Google Suites. After the presentations, time will be provided for reflection and discussion on key discoveries. At the end of the forum, short written reflections will then be collected to initiate a shared reflective piece for the Learner Development SIG’s newsletter, Learning Learning.

Collaborative storyboard writing with LEGO bricks #74

Grammatical correctness is the main achievement goal frequently set in English writing class. In such a course, learners are expected to monitor their writing carefully to produce fewer grammatical mistakes. This expectation from the teachers puts high pressure on language learners and leaves little space for fun in learning. A peer editing activity is an enjoyable way to reduce learner stress, and it can promote active engagement among learners in L2 writing. But, based on my teaching experience, peer editing can sometimes result in simple grammar checks. This presentation explores a collaborative writing task that requires smartphones and LEGO bricks. This group activity is designed for English majors in college. In this group work, the learners use LEGO bricks to recreate scenes from Japanese folktales, take pictures of these scenes with smartphones, and add English captions to each image file. And then, they show their photos to the class. This collaborative L2 writing activity has encouraged learners to pay attention to correct grammar in the form of negotiation. The presenter will share participant feedback to illustrate the effectiveness of the task, especially in the establishment of peer connections and a changing view of peer editing. The presenter will also point out the negative side of using LEGO bricks in the classroom. This classroom practice is for teachers who want to promote group communication and collaborative writing in a language-learning classroom, and it provides a glimpse into the educational and practical uses of LEGO bricks in these contexts.

SMART presentations: How tech helps #75

Self-expression and performance evaluation support the integration of technology and education. The smartphone and Learning Management System (LMS) are examples of digital tools that I incorporate into the classroom to support a multimodal learning approach. Multimodal learning is the basis of one course design that features the development of presentation skills and demonstrates how students benefit from the portability and accessibility of these technologies. Students can easily make video and audio recordings of their presentation practice sessions which help them monitor and assess their achievement level. Students strengthen their commitment to learning by selecting the speaking skills they wish to develop. A student may select "pausing effectively" to help her be more expressive with her voice. This skill becomes her SMART Goal. The acronym SMART means (1) specific, (2) measurable, (3) attainable, (4) relevant, and (5) time-bound. It provides structure to goal setting which can cultivate “I can do this!” attitude for speaking English. The goal is specific and can be measured using self- and peer-assessment (in class as well as online). The goal is attainable as long as the student practices her strategies and is time-bound because of the impending presentation deadline. Lastly, the goal is relevant because it helps the student become a more proficient English speaker. SMART Goals together with technology build effective learners because they provide a platform for documenting and archiving not only the development but the accomplishment of presentation skills.

Using machine learning to power English learning #76

EnglishCentral has collected the largest corpora of non-native students speaking English on the planet, with over 400 million lines of spoken speech from students using EnglishCentral’s self study interactive video player across the world. EnglishCentral also gives over 15,000 live 1:1 lessons each month using its online teacher platform. By combining this speech data from spoken self-study practice with feedback from teachers in live lessons, EnglishCentral has developed a “machine learning” loop focusing on assessing students’ speech. The results allow EnglishCentral to both identify the most problematic words spoken based on the millions of lines of speech, plus assess students’ speaking competency based on “task completion” by adding in the human assessment in the machine learning loop. This system, which this session will demonstrate, is now being deployed in high schools in Japan. This session will also cover other AI solutions from other providers in the global English learning market.


Using discipline-specific corpora data-driven learning in an EFL-medium university setting #77

With increasing cuts to the funding of direct EAP teaching at tertiary level, Data-driven Learning (DDL) as a vehicle for tertiary writing support has become an economic necessity. A key problem has been generating a streamlined concordancer that exclusively targets the learner-writer, with the sacrifices in complexity that entails. In this paper, we report on LegalEasy, a 26m. word single-genre database of judicial case reports. We follow in the footsteps of Crosthwaite (2019a, 2019b) and Frankenberg-Garcia (2019) in seeking to integrate concordancing and lexicography within the student writing process and produce resources that are transparent and intuitive for learner-writers. Therefore, LegalEasy search results feature linear concordanced displays of lexico-grammatical frequency patterns in the corpora. A key feature is that concordanced results are displayed in descending frequency, with one example per pattern found. Users are offered an initial focal choice between lexical POS combinations: a permutation of verb, noun and adjective [rarely adverbs]. Lexical searches tend to be over 90% nominal [e.g. legal concepts], so users will be offered three display options: Adj + N, N + N, or Vb + N; reasons for these decisions will be given. We then describe how we handle students’ writing and how LegalEasy fits into that process; the long-term aim is for students to become autonomous users of LegalEasy during the rest of their legal studies. Finally, we offer results of our analysis of student usage and of student evaluation of the online writing support offered by the LegalEasy program.

Three Lingolab sites for engaging phrase-level practice #78

In this presentation there will be interactive demonstrations of the set of free LingoLab web apps, which were developed by the presenter and Tokyo-based programmer/teacher Paul Raine. Attendees of this session can expect to learn how they can use these sites to provide their students with phrase-level practice as homework, as an in-class quiz game, and as a one-time assessment. The LingoLab activity itself involves learners being shown a prompt which can be a combination of text, audio and picture. The learners respond by choosing target words in the correct order to form the target sentence. While this format may look similar to the standard ‘scrambled sentence’ or ‘narabikae’ activity, the LingoLab design offers a lot of flexibility with prompt types (especially as regards audio) and has some unique features which add value to the learning interaction. One such feature is that learners get immediate prompts about errors made while actually doing the activity, which is arguably more conducive to learning than after-the-fact feedback. Another original feature is the ‘first-last’ letters mode for answering, which requires users to be actually retrieving component vocabulary, rather than just selecting and reordering presented words. The three separate sites which feature the LingoLab activity have functionally distinct purposes, as follows: www.lingolab.co (for self-study practice with progress tracking & sharing functions); www.lingolab.online (for a one-time quiz which reports all results to a teacher); www.lingolab.live (for an in-class real-time multiplayer quiz game).

Shadow Puppet: Improving Oral Presentation Skills with Audio/Video #79

With dozens of video applications and platforms out there, whether it be video-making, -sharing or -conferencing, it can be difficult for teachers to know which ones to use in their classrooms and more importantly, in ways that maximize learning while also lowering the affective filter among learners. In this short presentation, the presenter will share their experiment using the IOS video-making application, Shadow Puppet, to help improve oral presentation skills and build communicative competence among Japanese senior high school students. The presentation will detail their approach, share sample student videos, reflect on the fails and successes, and how the experiment gave new insight into how we ought to approach classroom presentations in the future. The presenter will also offer some ideas in how this application and others like it can be used to teach other language areas and enhanced in the virtual classroom.

Writing classes in a Google environment: synchronous feedback and other features #80

This workshop will focus on how to conduct face to face and/or online writing classes using Google Applications for Education (GAFE). It will begin by briefly comparing and contrasting available options for educators with (a) independent Gmail accounts, (b) those with Google School affiliation, and (c) other alternatives. Next, I will demonstrate synchronous and near-immediate feedback features that are possible using GAFE. Following that, there will be a brief overview of the Google environment as it pertains to writing classes (Classroom, Folders, sharing). Next, various add-ons that support writing via Google Docs will be discussed (Draftback, Doctopus, Goobric). Subsequently, rubric design and peer evaluation options will be demonstrated. Finally, enrollment procedures via a Google School Administrator’s console and alternatives for independent account holders will be demonstrated and discussed. By the end of this workshop, participants should have a good grasp of how to implement and use GAFE for face to face and/or online writing classes.

Facial Expression Analysis with a Virtual Interview and Presentation Assistant: IPA 4.0 #81

Preparing students for public speaking and/or interviews places greater demands on the teacher in the EFL classroom. “Total communication” consists of verbal (VC) and nonverbal communication (NVC), and in the large EFL class sizes in Japan it is difficult to focus on NVC. Our system, the Virtual Interview and Presentation Assistant, uses the Microsoft Kinect to help evaluate the NVC performance of EFL students. In this report, we focus on the development of our facial expression (FE) component. We simulated a job interview with twelve 19-year old students using questions from local companies. Their responses were recorded by the Kinect sensor and a standard video camera. The Kinect monitored any change in FE: facial movement, gaze, and engagement. After completion, the judge rated their impression of the interviewee’s FE using a 5-point scale at 3-second time intervals. At this stage, users can see a video of the assessment along with real-time scoring. The purpose of this experiment was to create a baseline for future research into differences in FE within L1 and L2 environments. By doing so, our system can provide valuable feedback to users and help them get ready for that important interview for their future.

Language learning as agency for a social purpose: examples from the pandemic #82

Developments in technology—such as mobile devices that afford connection and social interaction anytime and anywhere, social networking offline and online, horizontal patterns of connectivity that allow users to create natural bonds based on shared interests—all offer possibilities for user-driven, self- and group- initiated practices that redraw models of production, distribution, and reuse of knowledge. This evolution is perceptible, for instance in recent sociotechnical developments such as crowdsourcing, digital activism and citizenship science and the creative practices of online user communities (including fan communities), all of which invite us to redefine the nature of out-of-class language learning. The term digital wilds (Thorne, Sauro, & Smith, 2015, Sauro & Zourou, 2019) has been adopted to refer to “non-instructionally oriented contexts” (Thorne & al., 2015, p. 225) that support social activity, are less controllable or organized than a classroom, “but which present interesting, and perhaps even compelling, opportunities for intercultural exchange, agentive action, and meaning making” (Thorne, 2010, p. 144). Key in understanding this concept is the desire to include student experience and agency and supporting and amplifying opportunities for language learners. Research on this type of environments and their potential for Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is growing, although still in its infancy. This paper contributes by means of a critical appraisal of the potential for L2 use occurring in online communities formed around the fight against COVID-19. Due to the disruption to education that has occurred worldwide, possibilities for social action have multiplied. In this contribution we examine the potential of several possibilities for digital activism in the framework of the pandemic and its connection to L2 use. Sociocultural theory is used to frame the current study, for its emphasis on social interaction as a catalyst for learning (Bonk & Cunningham, 1998, Lantolf & Thorne, 2006, van Lier, 2004). The agentive and participatory dimensions of digital activism will be explored for their potential in SLA. Beyond enthusiasm for social action driven by spontaneous, user-driven, bottom-up practices, the study will also offer a critical appraisal of advantages and pitfalls of such an approach for language education.

Utilizing Corpus-based Wordlists with Free Online Resources: A Modular Approach #83

This presentation will briefly introduce 7 open-source, corpus-derived high frequency vocabulary word lists that the presenter helped to create for second language learners of English, and then move on to introduce and demonstrate a large and growing number of free, pedagogically-driven online tools apps and resources for helping to utilize these lists for teaching, learning, assessment, materials creation as well as research and analysis. The tools include interactive flashcards, diagnostic tests, games, vocabulary profiling apps, text creation tools, and more. Each word list offers extremely high coverage (92% or higher) of language in that genre and includes lists for general daily English (New General Service List or NGSL), spoken English (New General Service List-Spoken or NGSL-S), academic English (New Academic Word List or NAWL), business English (Business Service List or BSL), TOEIC English (TOEIC Service List or TSL), children’s English (New Dolch List or NDL) and fitness English (Fitness English List or FEL). Most lists were developed in a modular approach so they can be efficiently mixed and matched to meet a broad range of academic needs.

The Evolution of Speech Recognition in English Learning #84

This presentation covers the IntelliSpeech assessment system developed by EnglishCentral as well as AI-based speech solutions from other providers in the English learning market. It reviews the use of these technologies in read-aloud applications, elicited imitation, sentence building and finally conversational chatbots. The accuracy and efficacy of these systems are discussed as well as the pedagogy that underpins them.

EFL.Digital : Digital assignments for 21st century English teachers #85

EFL.digital is a platform for generating, assigning, and submitting a range of different English teaching and testing assignments. It is compatible with smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops, and runs on all modern browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and iOS Safari. Teachers can log into the site with their Google account and start making assignments immediately. Students do not need to register with the site, and simply input their details when they submit an assignment, thus making onboarding for students super simple and easy. When a teacher makes an assignment, a link is generated, which can be passed to students for submission. Links can also be easily posted on the LMS of your choice, including Google Classroom, Blackboard, Moodle, and many others. This presentation will introduce and demonstrate the main features of the platform, which include: Audio Recording : Create Audio Recording assignments with time limits and a variety of prompts; Multi Choice Quiz : Create Multiple Choice Quizzes with a variety of prompts; Read Aloud : Create Read Aloud assignments which allow students to practice their speaking with voice recognition; Text Gap Fill : Create Text Gap Fill activities with naturalistic text-to-speech voices; Video Gap Fill : Create Video Gap Fill activities with any subtitled YouTube video; Written Report : Create Written Reports with word limits, time limits, and a variety of prompts; the ability to upload and attach a variety of file types to assignments, including text, image, video, audio, and PDF; and the ability to download assignment submissions and scores in a spreadsheet and easily insert into your final grade sheet.

Using adaptive tools for English language learning #86

Adaptive learning is an educational tool for delivering personalized learning to students based on their performance in an ongoing series of tasks. Adaptive learning uses computer algorithms to continually analyze and adjust the presentation of materials to students at a level that is appropriate and unique to them, rather than following a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The purpose is to make the learning process more efficient, effective and engaging. While adaptive learning has been successfully utilized in math programs for several years, it is relatively new to language learning programs. In this presentation, we will be looking at LearnSmart Achieve (LSA), which is an adaptive learning program on the Connect platform, that is aligned with the New Interactions series. ALS is a skills-based program for learning academic vocabulary, grammar and writing. We will explore the science behind the program and examine its practical applications by looking at how it can be used to complement ongoing academic English language courses in face-to-face and remote learning situations. Participants will have the chance to see how the application works for teachers and learners.

Developing presentation skills through video projects #87

Teaching presentation skills can be challenging for any number of reasons. One major challenge is the time factor. The best way to learn how to present well is to do some presentations. But, facilitating student presentations can eat up a lot of class time, and if you are leading a class of 20 (or more) students once or twice a week, there often isn’t enough time to give students meaningful, ongoing practice. Students are lucky if they give one or two short presentations during a school term. Without practice, students may gain an understanding of the concepts but lack the ability to successfully carry out a presentation of their own. Another challenge facing educators is the fear factor involved in public speaking. Even among native speakers, speaking in front of an audience can be terrifying. As a second language speaker, the fear is compounded. In this presentation, we will be exploring how to meet these challenges through the use of collaborative video projects using NewsMaker, a video editing tool for use in secondary and tertiary education. It will cover the benefits of collaborating on projects as a complement to in-class presentations, as well as look at the usefulness of video for practice and feedback. It will include step-by-step guidelines for implementing and overseeing video projects in English language classes.

How EFL.Digital empowers teachers in ERT and Blended Learning #88

Technological solutions should empower teachers, not try to replace them. Whether engaging in Emergency Remote Teaching in times of international crisis, or delivering powerful blended learning courses in times of normality, teachers are paramount. EFL.Digital provides effective and intuitive tools for teachers to do what they do best: deliver engaging language learning experiences to students all around the world. This presentation will include voices of real teachers in real (and virtual) classrooms, who are using EFL.Digital’s innovative tools to help their students engage with English, through all four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Opening Ceremony #89

Gary and James will be giving advice on how to get the most out of JALTCALL2020 and talk about the challenges of setting up the conference.