Sessions / Zoom D
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.