Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Jun 5 | JALTCALL Conference - Kurume University

I attended this conference at Kurume University, but didn't present. Here are my notes:
Schedule and Handbook:

JALT CALL 2011 Handbook
JC2011 Schedule Saturday
JC2011 Schedule Sunday

JALT CALL 2011 Kurume University Conference notes:

Day 2 notes:

Session 3 - Creating a community of Writers (Creative Writing) - FRIESEN #93

Discussing experiences setting up that type of course at his university.

Asking students to share their stories gives a chance for unlocking a student’s potential. Getting students to find their own voice as bilingual English writers.

Academic v. Creative writing - Academic writing classes are just practicing the forms where creative writing is actual writing. Students are producing original works.

Students publish Haiku on Mainichi website... not all are accepted.

Plenary Session - Re-imagining reading in digital learning environments - Mark Warschauer - University of California - Irvine

“Spoken words are the symbols of imagination and written words are the symbols of spoken words.” (Aristotle)

900 AD was the first time when spaces were added between words. (See book “Space Between Words”). Reading was previously done aloud.

Formatting actually plays a large role in the comprehension and understanding written language. Converting a document to a more program-like formatting (C/C++) makes readability improved. VSTF (Visual-Syntactic Text Formatting) software is available.

ClipRead (for reading webpages) - free software. (

The have some tests on this type of reading and it showed increased comprehension in control vs. test groups. Also there are fewer eye movements. Reading speed shows improvements.

Session 2 - Evaluating your Online Content - CVITKOVIC, BOVEE #6

Basic theme is to evaluate the content you use for various measurements. Is the curriculum effective and is the delivery of that curriculum perceived properly by students.

  • competence 
  • autonomy 
  • relatedness 
  • intuitive controls 
  • presence (physical, emotional narrative) 
  • interest / enjoyment 
  • effort / importance 
  • pressure / tension 
  • perceived choice 
  • value / usefulness 
  • immersion 
  • clear goals 
  • feedback (granular, sustained, global, progress, leader boards, informational - do they know why they failed?) 
  • concentration on task 
  • perception of time (does time fly? does it drag?) 
handouts show details:

pre-test → ePackage → post-test


Microsoft Games for Learning Institute

Constructing something
Strong narratives

FLOW (opposite of APATHY) - you can measure FLOW.

110 bits per second is the maximum processing of the human attention span. (Cyber U in Fukuoka - 100% online)

Session 1 - Talked with Charles Browne.

Skipped session. Showed the Chosho Blazer video to him. He laughed a lot.

Day 1 notes:

Keynote: Carla Meskill
online instructional environments for language teaching: designing the conversation
courses moving online. Virtual schools.
fully online courses in languages.
toddlers have the ability to learn a word in context in one time. 
But if they haven't connected the word to a context they will struggle to remember.
language learners need the same kind if learning.
digital era Shirley Turkle alone together book
  • confusion over being alone versus being with others.
  • people are sort of retreating socially.
  • online learning needs to create a safe space free of the thin and shallow social connectivity being used on a daily basis.
  • socially shy learners often blossom in the online environment.
talking spaces:
  • - deli counter
  • - bank
  • - museum exhibits (while viewing with friend)

teachable moments happen in conversation without lecture. Just correcting the grammar in a response instead of directly.
  • online teacher jobs
  • moderator
  • setting tasks
  • guide authentic conversation
  • respond pedagogically to teachable moments
  • point to tools and resources
  • expand challenge comprehension and production
  • online social networking is tied to an improvement in RL (real life)
  • asynchronous communication in these online courses is supplemented with one hour per week of online synchronous communication.
Session 7 - Using a Moodle Database for Practice - CAMPBELL #051

Goal was to move away from boring standard English lessons. Also wanted to improve students’ typing skills.
Computer lab, three classes with varied sizes.

(DB fields)
  • Partners name:
  • Partners information:
In the activity setup, allow for comments to be set to yes and don’t require teacher approval.

Also, groups were checked.

Gave points to students who changed their seats every class. SSS (same seat syndrome).

5 minutes for talking. Encouraged active listeners and equal participation in the discussion. Teacher circulates and assists.

Timer goes off. Students go to their PC and they type as much as they can about the conversation.

Worked well as a warm up activity. Helped students to share information. They also were encouraged to sit near different people each week. This seemed to help students be a little more social than they might have been.

There wasn't a clear improvement in fluency. They did try English, but no measures of their fluency were made.

The typing appeared to be improved, but there was no correlation to the activity.

Importance of details was not imbued on students. Students reported that to some degree the students enjoyed the activity. Future classes will include pre and post studies.

Session 6 - Recipes for Wired Teachers - GROGAN, RYAN, DANIELS #57

Discussion surrounding moving the SIG publication online. Sign up online and submit articles.

Session 5 - Using MOARS with Facets - HOLSTER, PELLOWE #17

Showed using the assessment using iPod touches and also the data analysis using Facets. Helping students to learn proper evaluation by identifying the errant evaluations.

Session 4 - Moodle in use: NAGANUMA #73

An explanation of how students at AIU view using Moodle. She describes a lot of views of the Japanese students have in using AIU.

Session 3 – The case for video games in language learning – GORHAM #12

Students were given video games to learn the language. The Simpsons game to practice directions in English. Measures of improvement based on pre and post analysis showed some improvements.

The more we fail, the more eager we are to do better... M.I.N.D. Labs

Plenary Address: Dr. Charles Browne

High Frequency Vocabulary and Comprehending Authentic Video
State-of-the-art is risky... many labs go unused. Ability to use it doesn't exist in the institution.

350,000 words in the OED.
Average college graduate knows about 20,000.

Corpus linguistics is the study of the most frequently used words. Put millions of words in the computer and find out which are the most frequently used.

Basically, students cannot guess from context unless they know and understand at least 95% of the vocabulary in the passage.

JHS texts are good using about 950 of the most frequent words in the English language. However HS texts focus more on infrequent words and don't use even the first 1000-2000. Most readability for the HS texts is about 70-80%. – calculates the text understandability for thee first 2000 words...

Entrance exams for university have caused the backwash. The entrance exams for university have much lower numbers of the frequent words. Lots of infrequent ones which causes the backwash down to high school students.

EnglishCentral – online reading materials from video making use of lexical tools to improve and measure understandability of a passage or a video.

Voice of America – Special English

Flesch-Kinkaid readability scale – calculates by words, sentences, and syllables the readability of the materials.

Use the lextutor to help you learn which words are best for teaching the reading. Top 20 most frequent words in the text are a good starting point to help scaffold your students.

Speed controls where the audio and video can be slower yet the audio quality will still be understandable and not distorted.

Battling short-term memory loss in vocabulary learning – basic theory is spaced repetition to transfer short-term memory into long-term memory. The wild card is CONTEXT. Words need to be given in context for complete assimilation.

Session 2 notes: Improving fluency and conversation skills – BILL COLLINS #90

Teaching different active listening techniques to improve the flow of a conversation. Also demonstrated the storytelling activity including the design of the story.

Session 1 notes: Four letter words – JOSH WILSON #84

Developing an iPhone game for LL. Puzzle game – change one letter at a time to get to a different word. Do it in the fewest number of steps. Using the most frequent 4-letter words in English.

Classic mode and Arcade mode – Classic mode stepping from one word to another word one letter at a time.

Linguamation – games for language learning. Started 2 years ago. Pattern recognition is the key in linking games to learning. Video games are built to be learned.

Gamification – taking design from video games and placing them into real life activities.

English Central – Watch a video, record your voice, get feedback. You have points and ranks and achievement.

Games provide:
low-pressure environment
total engagement
authentic language use
feedback – instant in most cases
drilling (grinding – repetitive activity in a video game)

COCOS2D and Particle Designer – costs were about 17,000 dollars.