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Eurocall 2008 Conference
3-6 September, 2008 | Székesfehérvár, Hungary


Final Programme

The program of the conference is available now. Please click on the date to view daily program. By clicking the abstract title you can view the abstracts also.

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th, 2008

08:00-18:00Registration & Exhibition & Posters
09:00-10:00 Plenary session 3    [ A auditorium ]
A-0191 Auditorium Building A
Language Learning in a Digital World: From Language Laboratory to Parkour Performance
Patrik Svensson (Humanities and information technology, Director of HUMlab, Umea University, Umea, Sweden) What does it entail for language learning to take place in an increasingly digital world? Starting out from a critical discussion of the ‘digital natives’ that allegedly make up our current and future students, this paper addresses how the digital and language learning interconnect in multiple ways - tool, medium, study object, arena - and how these interrelations shape the kinds of competencies required and expected. It is argued here that it is vital to engage both creatively and critically with new media and digital technology. In the second part of the paper, the idea of emergent arenas and spaces for language learning is developed based on the framework above, and a largely socio-cultural perspective. Several traditional and emergent learning spaces are looked at critically and comparatively, and a range of current examples illustrate the emergence of rich and partly uncontrolled media places and learning spaces. Such examples include a student generated blog opera, a hockey musical and youtubed parkour performances. In conclusion, a set of guidelines for developing new digitally-supported spaces for language learning is proposed.
10:00-11:00 PANEL DISCUSSION - CALL: New competences and social spaces    [ Building A auditorium ]
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break    [ Building Ybl ]
11:30-12:15 Session O    [ Building Ybl ]
A-0102 Session room 1
Making Cloze Exercises with Computer Software
Kenji Kitao, K Kamiya (Doshisha University - Osaka Institute of Technology) In addition to being used for testing, cloze tests can be used as exercises to develop proficiency in reading, vocabulary, grammar, and listening. Cloze exercises can be made with a blank each n-th word. However, it can be time consuming to make blanks individually and keep a record of correct answers for each blank. It is also possible to make blanks for only words of a certain level of difficulty or of only certain parts of speech. However, this is time consuming and not practical for ELT. The presenters have developed Perl programs to make every n-th word blank, or every m-th letter of the n-th word, blank for exercises. This program can also be used to make blanks of only words of a certain level of difficulty (based on the eight levels of the JACET8000 word list) or of certain parts of speech, by specifying n, m, the level of difficulty (Levels 1-8), or the part of speech at the top of some of the programs. These programs, along with sample texts and close exercises made from those sample texts, are available on the Internet (http://www.cis.doshisha.ac.jp/kkitao/Japanese/library/resource/corpus/perl/ELT/e.htm). Anyone who is interested in making cloze exercises is welcome to download the programs. Teachers with Perl programming skills can easily alter these programs. Although using Perl Programs is not difficult once you learn how to use them, many ELT teachers are not familiar with them. The presenters made programs using CGI and other software which do not require any Perl knowledge to run them. Teachers enter specifications for the blanks and even make web pages on which students can do exercises and get immediate feedback or correct answers and time. In this presentation, we will explain these programs and show how they work. We will show what kinds of cloze exercises can be made and how to use them.
A-0106 Session room 2
Corpora as a Source of Materials for Practising English Syntax in Pre-Service EFL Training
Sarka Jezkova (University of Pardubice) The technology development is quick and its influence very wide, thus the language teacher training must shift its focus. Pupils coming to schools today are more “ICT- natives” than “ICT-immigrants”; and using computers for a wide range of purposes is quite natural for them. That is why, in programmes preparing language teachers we should aim at making various ICT sources an integral part of courses. As proved by research, personal preconceptions based on the learners' experience influence their future teaching style significantly, so it is desirable to provide future teachers with such types of activities in courses where they can see the added value of ICT and they feel it as a natural part of the learning process. Language corpora offer a huge amount of authentic material, but we should train language teachers to use it effectively and purposefully. One way which can help this process is incorporating the work with language corpora to their linguistic courses. As a part of the course of English syntax, teacher trainees are asked to work with various types of corpora (British National Corpus, or free on-line sources) in order to exemplify certain structures they study. Such a data-bank can later serve as a source of materials for interactive exercises which can become a part of study materials of the course. If the exercises are created with free, widely available software, students can experience the use of ICT in person and they can be more ready to use ICT in their EFL classrooms in the future. The presentation will cover some theoretical background for the ways of working with corpora in foreign language learning / teaching and also will describe some particular activities which were used in the course of English syntax for future English language teachers. The free HotPotatoes software was used to create an interactive set of practising materials and some of the products will also be demonstrated.
A-0066 Session room 3
Interdisciplinary insights derived from the pedagogical evaluation of web-based language learning courseware
Ana Gimeno, R. Seiz, J. M. de Siqueira (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain) The main objective of this paper is to propose a sound pedagogical evaluation methodology for Web-based CALL from a global and interdisciplinary perspective, by describing a specific Web-based CALL Research & Development Project and evaluating it thoroughly from a pedagogical standpoint with the aid of a systematic method and its related evaluation tools. In order to meet this objective, a number of steps are followed in the discussion. First, the EU-funded CALL Research & Development CALL@C&S Project is presented and analysed in context. This project started in 2005 with the aim of developing pedagogically effective online CALL courses for learners of Czech and Slovak at levels A1 and A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Since the courses were developed with the INGENIO online CALL Authoring Tool, some methodological implications of the use of this software and the rationale behind it are briefly stated. Second, the approach is broadened so as to include the proposal of an evaluation methodology to assess the pedagogical dimensions of Web-based CALL. This interdisciplinary, multifaceted and comprehensive methodology analyses the whole process of Web-based CALL development -covering its many stages and agents- from a global perspective and from a pedagogical viewpoint. It includes an open and dynamic evaluation framework as well as a specific tool called WIRESLAB, consisting of a pedagogical database for online CALL evaluation. Both of these will be presented in a concise way. After applying the suggested evaluation methodology specifically to the CALL@C&S Project, the results of the evaluation will be discussed. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn that may be of use for CALL researchers and practitioners in similar situations and educational contexts in order to improve not only the Web-based courseware design and development process but also its pedagogical evaluation and validation.
A-0023 Session room 4
Tool us up, Scotty!
Mirjam Hauck and A. Neuhoff (The Open University, UK - Technische Universitaet Dresden, Germany) In their contribution to a study commissioned by the Directorate General Education and Culture at the European Commission Davies and Fitzpatrick (2003) have stressed the urgent need for high quality staff development throughout Europe in the field of ICT and foreign language teaching. Five years on, demand for adequate training has grown even more, particularly from in-service teachers confronted on a daily basis by the increasing digital divide separating them from their students. While few question the positive impact of using the Internet as a platform which allows learners to generate, distribute, share, and re-use content, the majority find themselves ill equipped to benefit from the new developments fully and to adopt new media in their classroom successfully. The associated competencies, ranging from technical, critical evaluation and intercultural skills to the acquisition of new pedagogical and methodological approaches, remain for many a desideratum. In the trans-European project MEDIENPASS, funded within the Leonardo-Da-Vinci scheme, several researchers and practicioners in the field of modern language teaching - including the authors of this article - have come together in order to meet the challenges presented by the dilemma outlined above. This paper attempts to answer the question of how training programs should be preparing teachers for the informed integration of ICT tools into their language classes focusing on Web 2.0 technologies and �social computing�. The result is a tentative framework for the design of training units based on a blended delivery mode via a learning management system such as Moodle. Drawing on Hampel and Stickler�s (2006) pyramid of skills as a theoretical approach which aims to �move online tutor training one step beyond coping with difficulties�, and asks for �a truly original online pedagogy for language teaching� on the one hand, and on concrete examples from MEDIENPASS modules on the other, we discuss the difficulties encountered by the partners during the material development process. Finally, we will report on observations made by project members during their own trial of one of the modules, and present preliminary findings from pilot studies undertaken by MEDIENPASS partners in various European countries.
A-0046 Session room 5
How is Computer-Mediated Communication actually being used in the classroom?
Randall Sadler (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) With the explosive growth of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) for language learning, there have been a number of recent studies which investigate various aspects of CMC, including its effect on motivation (Hofsoy, 2001; Paver, 2003), opportunities for authentic interaction and meaning negotiation (Kern, 1995; B. Smith, 2003); reducing anxiety and producing more talk (Fanderclai, 1995; Harris, 1995), etc. However, none of these studies address a key question: Are classroom teachers actually using CMC tools and, if so, in what ways? This presentation provides the results of a survey examining the actual use of CMC by language teachers, both for their personal use and for language teaching. The study surveyed a stratified sample of 400 members of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with 50% of the sample located in the United States, and 50% taken internationally. The survey included a quantitative/qualitative mix of questions investigating their use of CMC tools, including email, text chat, audio chat (e.g. Skype), video chat, message boards, MOOs, virtual worlds, Blogs, Wikis, Textcasting, Podcasting, Vidcasting, Social Networking Sites (e.g. Facebook), and Virtual Worlds (e.g. Second Life). It asked about personal and professional use of CMC and also about technical support available via their current places of employment. The preliminary results indicate that while certain forms of CMC are widely used, such as email and text chat, other forms are currently being used by relatively few teachers for either their own language learning or teaching. In some cases these decisions are largely based upon a lack of access to the needed technological support—there was a clear correlation between this use and institutional support—but in other cases it appears more likely due to a lack of teacher training in technology and language learning. The presenter will also include a discussion of the qualitative results, focusing on teachers’ positive and negative experiences with CMC for language teaching. Key Words: CMC, Computer-Mediated Communication, language learning, ESL, EFL
12:15-13:00 Session P    [ Building Ybl ]
A-0180 Session room 2
Teaching ESP (Tourism) with the Web 2.0
Raquel Varela (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) Madrid, Spain) Teaching ESP (Tourism) with the Web 2.0 By Prof. Dra. Raquel Varela Méndez (rvarela@flog.uned.es) Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia - UNED- (Spain) Abstract Tourism learners need to possess a wide array of skills which surpasses the typical contents found in English text books. Professionals who work in the international tourist industry come in contact with native English speakers from all over the world, as well as non-native speakers of English. From this evident fact, we can diagnose the need of establishing a Global English approach to the language (Crystal, 1997; Graddol, 2006) together with an approximation to the cultures of the possible future guests and professionals. Oral skills must be especially emphasised due to the fact that the future professionals will be encountering a wide array of accents, intonations, pronunciations and vocabulary depending on where the native speakers come from. Most commonly studied varieties are European, American, Asian, Oceanic and African. Working in an international environment also involves coming into daily contact with non-native speakers of English (Jenkins, 2000, 2003). Pronunciation is not the only key issue in the professional training for business and tourism. Culture and body language have also great influence on communication among people from different origins. Many misunderstandings may arise in an international atmosphere due to a lack of knowledge of the interlocutor�s culture. Once again, students encounter many obstacles to learn cultural facts and body language, especially if their lecturers are not native speakers of the language. The cultural content in course books is very limited and usually concentrates in some British or American events. This paper deals with the ways lecturers and students of English Language for Tourism had to overcome those problems thanks to the Web 2.0. During the 2007-2008 university academic year, a ICT project called Redes, is being carried out to try to provide Tourism students with the necessary tools to communicate with people from all over the world and find out by themselves the key cultural factors, different English (native and non-native) accents, international body-language and tourism destinations and possibilities from peer-students and professionals. They have participated in blogs (for writing practice, creative writing, learning diaries- both personal and collective-), wikis, chats (written and oral), web quests and photo and video editing/sharing. The students participating in the project have been followed up by the means of qualitative research and the positive findings in motivation, collaborative learning, autonomous learning, language abilities and tourism skills will be shown. Key words: Web 2.0, English for Tourism, Global English, collaborative learning, autonomous learning. References: Crystal, David. 1997. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: CUP. Graddol, David. 2006. English Next. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jenkins, Jennifer. 2003. World Englishes: A resource for students. New York: Routledge. Jenkins, Jennifer. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A-0132 Session room 3
On-line CALL teacher training course
George S. Ypsilandis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) On-line teacher training courses have now become a trendy distance learning mechanism of delivering life-long education to language teachers. The Internet commodity has offered an added value to these courses as it now offers the possibility for more elaborated instant feedback (using various means) and increased (synchronous - delayed - asynchronous) interactivity between learners and learners and teachers. This paper offers insights on the design and implementation of a distance teacher training course for teachers of Greek (from three continents) as a foreign language in which CALL education was an integrative part. Reactions of participants to the course were registered through the means of a questionnaire focusing on the means of feedback initially provided and that sent over upon request. In particular, we measure student reactions to the overall design of the course and the information provided, the design of the material in the learning unit, the initial feedback supplied, the significance of the feedback provided upon student request to the process of learning, amount and value of collaborative learning, and participation to scheduled FORA within the course. Findings were generally positive and the material was found interesting, corresponding the participants’ language level, and useful to their practice. In addition interesting insights were reported as to the value of synchronous communication, participation in the organised on-line FORA and presentation design features of the material. Students seem to show a clear preference for a cyclical development of the learning material while teaching objectives were found to be clear. Finally, communities of practice initiated by the participants were found a powerful learning mechanism and an informal and relaxed society of exchanging of ideas.
A-0020 Session room 4
Screen Capture Software: how useful is it for student feedback?
Billy Brick, E Lloyd (Coventry University) The paper reports on a new method of providing feedback on language students’ written work via wmv files, created using Camtasia screen capture software and delivered to students’ mail within Blackboard Vista. The process of creating such files will be described and some of the practical and technical difficulties will be identified. The paper will also report on the students’ evaluation of this new method, and discuss pedagogical issues associated with providing feedback, including student motivation, and learning styles and preferences.. In the UK National Student Survey (since 2005), students have consistently reacted negatively to questions regarding the quality and helpfulness of the feedback they receive on their written work. A recent report (THES 2008) stated that “the Higher Education Academy's assessment team has confirmed that it gets more requests for help to improve the system of feedback in universities than on any other issue”. A number of recent papers (e.g. Hyland and Hyland, 2001) have discussed students’ reactions to traditional written comments from the tutor, but little investigation has been carried out into how students may feel about supplementary spoken feedback or the influence this may have on student motivation. Two groups of students were provided with media file feedback: one of them was a level 2 EFL class who completed a task involving summarisng clips from the BBC’s Video Nation website and the other was a level 3 German-English translation class who were required to translate a text. In order to provide the feedback through the VLE, each individual media file was restricted in length to approximately three and a half minutes which produced files of under 4MB This paper builds on the work of Stannard (2003), who looked into the possibility of using screen capture software to enhance communication between tutor and student. We suggest that feedback in the form of a media file may provide a richer learning experience for students by employing “dual-coding”, as defined by Paivio (1986), and may also provide new opportunities for lecturers to ‘model’ academic and professional behaviours. Key words: spoken/written feedback, screen capture software, dual-coding, motivation, quality, learning experience
A-0049 Session room 5
Ethical standards for research in Virtual Worlds: A call to virtual arms
Randall Sadler (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) The growing popularity of Virtual World (VW) environments like Second Life, There, and Active Worlds, in addition to Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) like Worlds of Warcraft, have led to increasing numbers of participants using these as tools for language learning. There are also a number of studies being conducted in these worlds on topics ranging from their effectiveness in enhancing language learning to the role of VWs in medical training. Unfortunately, there has been little discussion regarding the ethical challenges of doing research in VWs. That will be the focus of this presentation. In these VWs users can gain access to speakers of different languages. Although VWs infrastructure may be based in a single country (i.e. their servers and corporate offices), the users come from around the world. While Second Life’s corporate headquarters are near San Francisco in the U.S., recent research has shown that only 16% of users are actually from that country (Gronstedt, 2007). Indeed, there are actually more Germans in Second Life than there are Americans. This situation provides ample opportunities for meaningful communication in a number of languages, both in the informal social situations which seem to be the main source of interaction in VWs, and also in the many virtual language schools (e.g., English Village in Second Life) being created. These VWs are rich environments for educational research which should be investigated further. However, there is also an unfortunate trend that we, as researchers, wait until an ethical disaster occurs before we create policies to better protect our participants (e.g., Humphrey’s (1970) Tea Room Trade study, the Rimm Cybersex study (1995), and Finn and Lavitt’s (1994) research on computer-based support groups for survivors of sexual abuse). Each of these studies started out with good intentions, but ended up harming both the participants and also the opportunities for future researchers. The history of CMC research shows us that it only takes one of these disasters to effectively ban future research on a site. While there have been a number of discussions regarding the ethics of performing CMC-based research, most notably the important June, 1996 issue of The Information Society, these discussions have failed to keep pace with the rapidly developing technology, with the majority focusing on text-based communication. To fill this gap, this presentation will begin with a brief overview of Virtual Worlds, providing several examples as mentioned above, followed by a review of previous discussion on ethical issues in CMC research. Next, these discussions will be related to the Virtual Worlds of today with specific examples provided via movie clips from Second Life illustrating ethical and non-ethical research situations. Finally, an outline of new ethical standards for performing research in VWs will be provided. This outline will then be posted on a wiki for further feedback from the audience after the conference, with the ultimate goal being the publication of these standards. CMC, research, ethics
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break    [ Building A ]
14:00-14:30Closing Ceremony