Sessions / Zoom A
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.