August 7, 2018 at 10:38 am

Linguistics Hosts the 10th Annual CALL Conference

Dr. Sebastién Dubriél discusses game development community of practice--with a PowerPoint presentation

Dr. Sebastién Dubriél discusses game development community of practice


The 10th annual Ohio University CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) Conference this spring featured a keynote by Dr. Sebastién Dubriel from Carnegie Mellon University, who described an innovative project where students learn practical use of French over the long-term development of an online game that explores French language and culture.

Dubriél’s talk on “Why should Language Educators care about games?”described the development of a project that started at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, when he realized that there were students around him with high interest in technology and low interest in language learning. These students became programmers on the game, titled Bonne Chance, and came to functionally use French within the context of the community of programmers, designers and players that grew up around the game.

OHIO’s Linguistics Department hosted the free professional development event event, which was also sponsored by Ohio TESOL.

PowerPoint on Reading strategies and Reading patterns, Eye Tracking on a Reading Passage

Eye Tracking on a Reading Passage

In another session, Dr. Elizabeth Specker, OHIO Linguistics alumna and instructor at American River College, gave an overview of how she is using an eye-tracking camera to help learners take control over their own reading habits.

After lunch, students and faculty from Linguistics, Modern Languages, and the Ohio Program of Intensive English shared innovative uses of technology for language learning.  Among them, Dr. Edna Lima and Linguistics graduate student Zoe Zawadzki demonstrated the use of Supra Tutor 2.0, an online pronunciation course that focuses on English suprasegmentals, including word stress, rhythm, and intonation. OPIE faculty and lab directors Abraham Reshad and Aaron Schwartz exhibited LRC favorites the holodeck and 3D printing, while fellow OPIE colleague Kyle Butler demonstrated how to create simple webpages using Sway, a component of Microsoft Office 365. Instructional designer Dr. Jeffrey Kuhn’s presentation on DIY Machine Learning, was a favorite of the fair attendees, winning the Greg award, a 3D printed likeness of Dr. Greg Kessler, the founder and organizer of the conference, who was unable to attend this year’s event.

Pronunciation, including suprasegmentals, was also the focus of practical sessions during the day. Dr. Lara Wallace, senior lecturer for the English Language Improvement Program, demonstrated Youglish, a searchable, video-based tool for improving English pronunciation. Visiting Professor of Linguistics Dr. Romy Ghanem taught participants how to use Praat, software that helps language learners to visualize their speech so that they can analyze sounds, stress, and intonation.

Innovative technologies demonstrating assessment were presented in later sessions. OHIO graduate student Yue Dong demonstrated Kahoot, a classroom game that utilizes that turns assessment into a game show and Plickers, and innovative audience survey response tool that allows a presenter to use his or her mobile device to scan the audience for quick feedback. Lu Cao, Lecturer in Linguistics, discussed her experience using Voicethread with elementary and intermediate learners of Chinese. Voicethread enabled Cao to assign speaking assignments and give spoken feedback and correction to her students’ pronunciation, which she reports students found more helpful than written feedback.

The conference also featured several sessions related to the changing nature of education. OHIO linguistics faculty member, Gabriela Castaneda-Gleason, Ohio State University faculty member Laura Thomas, and ESL Instructor Joel Keefer participated in a panel discussion focused on the implementation of an online practicum in TESOL. Ohio University Upward Bound Director Papa Kwabena Owusu-Kwarteng led a session where he focused on the secondary digital divide in education settings. He brought up the question of access and gave guidance for instructional designers and educators creating tomorrow’s teaching materials, highlighting the Quality Matters (QM) framework and other standards for online teaching materials.

OHIO Graduate and Columbus City School teacher Derek Braun shared his experiences with a sheltered instruction biology course, where content is taught in both English and Spanish by blending online tools and face-to-face engagement to differentiate instruction, allowing all students to the content while developing language skills at different paces. Another OHIO graduate, Filipo Lubua, led a discussion session stressing the importance of including entrepreneurship as part of a CALL curriculum, preparing professionals in the field for the monetary and societal value that can and will be created by innovations at the intersection of language, culture and technology.

The conference concluded with a buffet and social hour at Jackie O’s Brewpub. The participants and presenters celebrated a remarkable first decade of this annual assembly of linguists, language teachers and technologists.

One Comment

  1. This sounds like a conference I would like to have attended, lots of good friends here, and great ideas. Nice to hear about Filipo’s research, as he interviewed me for his project. Congrats to Jeff on winning the much prized Greg award, and seminar at Jackie O’s sounds like icing on a stimulating cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *