Sessions / Show & Tell
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.