1999 Thursday Sessions


Conference Presentations
Day One: June 3, 1999


10:00 – 10:45   

Speech Recognition Technology and Course-ware Development
Steve LaRocca, John Morgan, Sherri Bellinger, and Dave Bennett
Report on speech recognition (SR) development efforts in the Department of Foreign Languages, US Military Academy, West Point, NY. Arabic, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese speech recognition systems developed at West Point and produced with Entropic development tools are discussed and demonstrated. Three distinct levels of speech recognition are incorporated into course-ware designed with the WinCALIS Authoring System, which has been modified to incorporate SR. Level one, comprised of simple recognition; level two, which provides qualitative feedback on recognized utterances and pinpoints weaknesses; and level three, which gives the student human-like, individualized bio-feedback on their utterances.

The Interactive Textbook: Concept, Implementation and Evaluation
Els Heughebaert
On the basis of previous research, Didascalia has developed the concept of the interactive textbook as a curriculum-bound tool for (home) language learning. So far, Didascalia has developed five interactive textbooks for learning French in Flanders. They each incorporate more than 20,000 interactive items, integrated dictionary and grammars, a user’s manual, combinable selection mechanisms and ten strategies (dictation, multiple choice, written, combination). With more than 6,000 users, it was time to make an evaluation. In this presentation the interactive textbook will be briefly demonstrated; needs analysis, implementation strategies, user satisfaction and didactic efficiency will be discussed in detail.

Exploiting the Potential of a Computer-based Grammar Checker with Advanced Level French Students
Jack Burston
The best current French grammar checkers are capable of detecting nearly 90% of the morphosyntactic errors typically found in student compositions. Yet student use of this tool is not widespread and, in some quarters, is even discouraged by instructors fearful of its counter-productive effects. The purpose of this paper is to report on a study of grammar checker usage which surveys the steps taken to successfully integrate it into the curriculum of an advanced level French course. In so doing, the pedagogical limits of computer-based grammar checking are identified, innovative applications explored, short-term and long-term effectiveness measured, and negative effects considered.

Using the World Wide Web for Teaching Culture and Reviewing Grammar in First Year Spanish
Caterina Reitano
The presenter will show numerous exercises for teaching culture using the WWW and how they lend themselves to reviewing Spanish grammar for beginners. Learning strategies exploited during each activity will also be discussed. Exposure to authentic material available on the WWW provides learners the opportunity to gain cultural competence, while at the same time improving their proficiency in the target language.

A SMARTer Way to Teach Foreign Language: The SMART Board as a Language Learning Tool
Fabienne Gérard
What is Smartboard? How can you use it in your foreign language classes? What are the advantages of this tool for the class but also for foreign language acquisition? Those are the main questions addressed in this presentation.

Web Magic: Interactive Stories on the Web
Reid Paxton, Philomena Meechan, and John Stewart
Discover web magic as learners create stories by dragging vocabulary words over an imaginary line and PRESTO! the WORDS turn into OBJECTS right in front of their eyes! Based on ZigZag World’s Hanukkah House Java Applet, we have created interactive, story-based, multimedia web activities designed to develop both listening and reading comprehension skills for foreign languages. This presentation will demonstrate several stories created at the University of Michigan, as well as those originally created by ZigZag that inspired our collaboration. We will also discuss our educational partnership and the instructional/technological considerations faced.

11:00 – 11:45

Pushing the Envelope: Creating Virtual Language Laboratories on a Shoestring
Jack Franke
Heading into the new millennium, L2 educators are encountering many potholes. As pointed out by many second language acquisition researchers, the development of reading and listening comprehension requires a great amount of time and individualized tailoring. The question of how to usher in new technologies with limited funding is a critical issue for virtually all institutions. Focusing on ACTFL/OPI proficiency guidelines, this paper will discuss a curriculum that enhances the language acquisition process by utilizing various types of authentic materials. Finally, there will be a discussion on several pedagogical issues regarding how to enhance language proficiency with multimedia and computer networking technologies.

E-Mail: A Teaching/Learning Tool in a Work Environment
Lise Desmarais
Research on the use of e-mail has been conducted mostly in college/university settings. However, using e-mail in a work environment is a viable option since learners can work at their own rhythm, according to their schedule and time zone. The Canadian Foreign Service Institute has set up a writing course (Spanish and German) using e-mail as a means of delivery. The course focuses on professional tasks such as checking translation, proofreading and writing correspondence. The presentation will focus on the design of the program, material development and the logistics related to this approach. Research methodology and results obtained as well as data on attitude will be discussed.

How Do We Know If It Worked? Evaluating a CALL Initiative
Claire Bradin and Ana Pérez-Gironés
We are familiar with guidelines which attempt to assess specific CALL software packages. However, the same cannot be said for the evaluation of larger-scale projects or for the overall implementation of CALL in a specific educational setting. By what criteria can such programs be judged? To what do we compare their “failure” or “success?” The presenters were recently involved in the appraisal of a CALL project. In addition to offering their perspectives from the inside and outside, they will outline a rationale for such reviews and suggest a framework for this type of evaluation.

Learner Production and Computerized Feedback. What is the Relationship?
María J. Alvarez-Torres and Beth Queeney
In this study, learner preferences for different types of feedback within a CALL context were analyzed. The focus was whether preferences for computerized feedback differed depending on the source of the learners’ nontarget-like production (a morphosyntactic structure vs. a lexical item). Participants, adult university students in an advanced ESL course, carried out different grammar and writing tasks. While they were completing these tasks, the courseware provided various types of feedback. Feedback types varied from explicit feedback options (i.e., metalinguistic feedback) to implicit feedback (i.e., models) options. Results focused on the pedagogical implications and applications of computerized feedback types.

A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Output Produced by 63 Learners of German in a Chatroom and Face-to-Face Discussion Groups, and Its Potential Implications for Foreign Language Instruction
Olaf Böhlke
The purpose of my study was to evaluate the usefulness of technology for interaction and communication among students of German, and to contrast students’ oral output, as it is produced in face-to-face group discussions, with the output produced in real-time electronic discussions, and to look for implications which these forms of interaction among students may have on foreign language instruction. My study also sought to come to a better understanding of chatroom language produced by learners of German, compared to students’ discourse produced during small group verbal discussions.

Peer Instructional Technology Training and Collaboration: The Case of UC Santa Cruz
María Victoria González Pagani
This paper will examine the issues involved in training foreign language faculty in instructional technology using the recent experience in ITML (Instructional Technology for Modern Languages) project at UC Santa Cruz as a case study. The following issues will be examined: institutional support for faculty development, time release, technical support, recognition and rewards, infrastructure and technical support, relationship between faculty and technical support staff, content, form, and pedagogical design, encouragement of faculty involvement, workshops, individual training, guest speakers, student-faculty and faculty-faculty teams, student needs, faculty needs, administration needs, and teaching load reconfiguration to accommodate the demands of integrating technology.

2:30 – 3:15

Authoring Language Lessons with Ficelle
Hélène Knoerr and Alysse Weinberg
This paper will introduce the many features of Ficelle, a multimedia authoring tool with audio and video capabilities, clickable words, text, audio and photo glossary, a fully integrated recording facility, phonetics exercises capabilities, generic and customized feedback and a test mode. The presenters will demonstrate how to create a few activities.

A Practical Technology Solution for Less-Common and Endangered Languages
Michael Quinlan, Keith Regli, and Virginia Martin
Financial and market constraints have severely limited the development of world-class software for Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL). Transparent Language, Inc. has invested substantial resources developing its proprietary LanguageNow! technology for language learning. A unique underlying technical architecture enables the inexpensive development of new LanguageNow! packages. As a result, TLI has recently released groundbreaking software for LCTLs such as Swedish, Polish, Arabic, Latin and Irish. In this session we will 1) describe plans to bring this technology to many more languages, 2) demonstrate the underlying technology publicly for the first time, and 3) solicit ideas for additional LCTL and Endangered-Language initiatives.

Assessing Foreign Language Oral Proficiency Using the Global Language Authoring System (GLAS)
Johannes W. Vazulik and MAJ David Wilson
By integrating the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) to assess foreign language oral proficiency with the recently developed Global Language Authoring System (GLAS), a highly desirable human dimension is added. Adhering to the prescribed format and assessment principles of the SOPI, the presenters developed interactive test modules in German by employing avi, sound, mpeg and recording components in the GLAS environment. Examinees execute the SOPI by engaging with the examiner in a more realistic, authentic and less intimidating setting than the traditional tape-recorded interview.

Self-Paced Language Instruction: How Students Use Technology to Personalize Language Learning
Mary Morrisard-Larkin, Elizabeth O’Connell-Inman, and Helen Roberts
A language curriculum, which incorporates both traditional and computer-based materials, has been developed at the College of the Holy Cross so that students can work independently and personalize their language learning. The course is delivered to students on the World Wide Web but many of the practice activities also require students to work in the language lab with software that has been adapted to fit course objectives. This presentation discusses case studies of learners who have benefited from this approach as well as data that was collected to compare these students to those who learned Spanish in a traditional classroom.

Learning About Assessment: A Case Study of a Multimedia Language Program
Clara Roman-Odio
Language educators believe that multimedia-based approaches offer significant advantages over traditional teaching methods by accelerating and sustaining the process of language acquisition. Our success in procuring long-term support that will nurture new advances in the field depends on the extent to which we can articulate in quantitative and objective terms the pedagogical benefits offered by these new technologies. This presentation will provide a case study to illustrate the methods of assessment used to evaluate a Spanish multimedia program developed by Kenyon College Spanish Faculty. It will consist of a demonstration of the program, and a description of the experimental design used for assessment of the program, including numerical and graphical summaries, a statistical analysis and anecdotal evidence.

AaLL About Technology: Research of Web-based Models for Curricular Innovation
Anne Green and Bonnie Earnest Youngs
We will explain a research study that evaluated student learning in an alternative-access language learning (AaLL) environment using web-based activities. We will discuss preliminary quantitative and qualitative findings of first-year AaLL study in French and German. The presentation will include research design and findings, examples of web-based activities, their curricular implementation, guidelines for a “technology methodology,” and ideas for adapting the AaLL model in a variety of FL instructional contexts. Handouts on the findings, guidelines, and web-based activities for French and German will be provided.

3:30 – 4:15

Advanced Web Technologies for Language Learning
Bob Godwin-Jones
This session deals with new developments in technologies and applications to enhance Web-delivered or assisted language learning, including increased interactivity, more effective storage/delivery of multimedia, greater control over text formatting and page design, and improved search, retrieval and cataloging of Web objects. Specific technologies to be demonstrated include dynamic HTML and style sheets (auto-scrolling of dual language texts); enhanced browser scripting (Java-JavaScript interaction for multilingual chat); advanced CGI (generation of JavaScript exercises through Web forms); streaming media (text display synchronized to audio); and expanded incorporation of meta-data (use of XML and the Instructional Management System standard). Authoring options for use of these technologies will be discussed.

Do You Know What They Know? Quantification and Graduality in Language Learning
Wilfried Decoo and Jozef Colpaert
Students enter, for example, a third year of French. Do they, and their teacher, know exactly what has been learned and integrated during the first years? Is that knowledge balanced in terms of semantic fields and communicative needs? To what extent do new texts studied in that third year match the level reached? To what extent are the new elements part of a quantified aggregate, warranting pre-determined progression? Our research and implementations show that the computer provides a major help in quantifying and organizing learning material in order to ensure a more gradual, fluent and balanced learning process over many years.

Digitized Slowed-Audio in Foreign Language Instruction
Jay P. Kunz
Although most beginning foreign language programs have an audio component, students tend to avoid using the accompanying audio tapes or CDs because the speed of the spoken language is often beyond beginning students’ ability to comprehend. The use of digitized audio and PureVoice technology has allowed foreign language students at Mississippi State University to control the playback speed of their audio materials without distorting the original speaker’s voice. This presentation explains how to create digitized, slowed-audio materials. It also discusses student reactions to this new technology and pedagogical implications for using digitized, slowed-audio in foreign language instruction. 

Computer Programs for Advanced Language Study
John Robin Allen
Most CALL programs deal with lower-level language study. This presentation deals with a more advanced level of language learning. As such, the two programs described here can help persons improve their knowledge of even their first language. “JraVoc” helps with problems of learning vocabulary found in written or printed texts. It simplifies tracking and getting explanations of words (in context) a reader does not understand. “JraPlay” might more accurately be named a ‘term paper/article generator.’ The program helps one to analyse themes in literary texts, in order the better to make cogent remarks on such material.

Creating and Assessing Interactive Web Pages
Volker Hegelheimer
The presenter will share with the audience the steps involved in the development of student tracking procedures through a combination of a web-enabled database and JavaScript in order to collect performance data of students who access interactive reading passages which include textual, graphical, and audio glosses. The presenter will illustrate teaching and research applications of this design and discuss implementation requirements as related to software, hardware, and programming.

Java Japanese Kanji Flashcard 500
Nobuko Chikamatsu, Stephen Ryner, Jr., Hironari Nozaki, and Shoichi Yokoyama
The Java Kanji Flashcard 500 is a Japanese kanji reference and practice program for learners of Japanese, developed based on empirical kanji character data. The program presents the user with the 500 highest frequency kanji characters, as selected from the most recent kanji character frequency list (Yokoyama, et al., 1998). Each flashcard in the program presents the reading, meaning, stroke number, stroke animation, frequency rank and compound words of the target kanji character. The program is designed for use over the World Wide Web through Java-equipped web browsers. The program does not require Japanese operating system software.

4:30 – 5:15

Virtual Travel on the WWW
Philomena Meechan, Reid Paxton, and John Stewart
Plan your itinerary, book your ticket, exchange money, take the trip–you can even send postcards! The WWW provides amazing authentic resources for the FL learner as virtual traveller. This presentation demonstrates a task-based lesson that simulates the travel experience from beginning to end, utilizing existing web resources. Sites hosting RealAudio, QuickTime Virtual Reality, and live WebCams will be highlighted along with a list of resource links. Includes examples of guided and student-created itineraries. Ideas for follow-up (writing) activities such as postcards, travelogues, and brochures will be included and we can brainstorm many more!

Combining Experience-Centered and Mind-Centered Learning Activities Through Multimedia Materials
De Bao Xu and Hong Gang Jin
We will demonstrate two 1.3 GB multimedia software programs for Chinese language teaching. Each of them incorporates over 150,000 pieces of media. Activities include interactive dialogs, lessons, exercises, and homework with teacher’s accessibility. We will argue that CALL material designers can in fact use multimedia to create effective teaching materials to combine experience-centered and mind-centered input tasks, and to provide activities emphasizing involvement of multiple language skills (listening-speaking, listening-reading, and reading-writing).

A Bon Port: Designing a Companion CD-Rom for a Beginner French Textbook
Alysse Weinberg and Hélène Knoerr
This paper will present the CD-Rom to accompany the French language teaching package “A Bon Port.” The “A Bon Port” activities were developed using Ficelle multimedia software. Ficelle is a Windows-based program specifically designed to allow people with no prior programming experience to develop multimedia activities for language students. These activities include text, sound files, pictures, videos to create fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice exercises complete with generic and customized feedback, glossary and integrated grammar and cultural reviews. We will also discuss the methodology for creating these activities. Finally, selected activities from the “A Bon Port” CD-ROM will be presented.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing: Surviving the Analog to Digital Transition
Steven Smolnik and Roger Sánchez-Berroa
Transitioning the Language Laboratory from an analog environment to a digital one does not necessitate excluding the former in favor of the latter. This evolution includes choices for continued management and delivery of the services and functions of today’s learning center. This discussion addresses implications of our “digital transition” for foreign language faculty, their students, Language Lab staff, and the foreign language curriculum at Wesleyan University. It includes a recent perspective on the roles of the analog lab in the curriculum, reflections on the re-design of the facilities, the current hybrid environment, and expectations for the future.

Using the TroubleShooters’ Video-CALL to Help Students Generate Corrected Interactive Language
Jay Bodine
Incorporating high quality MPEG I digitized video and its script on a CD-ROM, the TroubleShooters programs have a sophisticated algorithm matching student responses against alternate correct answers, reducing student frustrations when their responses are incorrect, and helping the students effectively to produce and practice correct structures.  The program leads students through the appropriate text-based exercises with video context, which the author can create readily by typing in basically the questions and answers of the exercises desired. The program checks for word order and character errors, and furnishes specific clues for correcting problems. Students correct only those aspects of their response that are wrong. Keyboard layouts, combining U.S. and near-native configurations, enhance text entry for English-language typists