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Congreso celebrado en Viena, Austria, del 24 al 27 de agosto de 2005

  • Reseña escrita en inglés por: S. Kathleen Kitao, Doshisha Women´s College, y Kenji Kitao, Doshisha University

Reseña (inglés)

CALL, WELL and TELL: Fostering Autonomy

S. Kathleen Kitao (Doshisha Women’s College)

Kenji Kitao (Doshisha University)

EuroCALL 2005 was held August 24-27 at Jagiellonian University�s 600 Years Anniversary campus in Krakow, Poland. The theme of the conference was �CALL, WELL and TELL: fostering autonomy.� Among its subthemes were �Computer Mediated Communication,� �Corpora and Language Learning,� �Learning with the www,� �Motivation Styles and Strategies,� �Virtual Learning Environments,� �CALL and the 4 Skills,� and �Language Teacher Education and Professional Development.�

The conference was attended by more than 300 participants, including teachers, software developers, and language laboratory administrators. They were mainly from European countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Ireland, Austria, and Greece, but also from other parts of the world, including Japan, the US, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, China, Israel, Australia, Iran, Morocco, Chile, and Taiwan.

Pre-conference workshops were held on August 24. There was a free session offered by the British Council on online resources that the British Council has; �Ten Things To Consider When Building An Online Course� by Robert S. Williams of the American University in Cairo; �Using corpora in language learning and teaching – introduction and ‘expert’ talk� by Ylva Berglund of Oxford Text Archive, Sabine Braun of the University of T�bingen and Rafal Uzar; �Teaching And Learning Online – A Principled Approach� by Gavin Dudney, �Carrying Out Online Peer Review: Using the PCS-Tool� by Caroline Coit, �Empowering Self-Expression and Developing Research Skills with i-Movie� by Jeff Maggard of Akita International University and �Filming and editing, Using MS Movie Maker in the classroom� by Nicolas Gromik.

The conference opened on August 25 with welcoming speeches by Bernd Rueschoff, EuroCALL President; Paul Fairclough of the British Council; Karolina Kulicka of Poland�s Ministry of Scientific Research and Information Society Technologies, and Grazyna Studzinska of EuroCALL Poland. Music was provided by the Boba Jazz Band.

The plenary speaker on the 25th was Dorota Ilczuk of Jagiellonain University in Krakow, who spoke on «Concept of eCulture: The European Perspective.» He discussed the divide between primarily digital and primarily analog cultures and the distinction between passive and active consumers as well as the future of Internet as a federation of villages rather than a global village. The plenary speaker on the 26th was �CALL: Implementation Challenges� by Majid Bouziane of University Hassan II in Casablanca. He discussed the problems of integrating ICT into language teaching, including the difficulty that research results have been contradictory, a lack of teacher training, and resistance to CALL. In spite of these problems, CALL is being gradually integrated into language teaching programs.

On the 27th, Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland spoke on �Hitler, Macbeth, Apfelstrudel und Lieber-Gedichte: my experiences with technologically supported learner autonomy.� He described his recent experience studying German language during a sabbatical, in which he combined, with mixed success, formal classroom instruction with autonomous learning.

Since the theme of the conference was related to autonomy, there were a large number of presentations on the subject. These included �Fostering Autonomy through tandem language learning: a case study� by Katia Carraro of Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, �Searching for Increased Learner Autonomy: A Continuous Listening and Speaking CALL Method in and out of class� by Linh Pallos of Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, �Autonomy: a prerequisite or a product in web-based learning programmes?� by Henrietta Harnisch of the University of Wolverhampton, �Autonomous resource discovery: using the Humbul Humanities� by Ylva Berglund of Oxford Text Archives, �Learner Autonomy and support: some issues in integrating elearning in a distance MA programme by Pamela Rogerson-Revell of the University of Leicester, �Learning to learn: integrating methods of autonomous learning in language learning software as illustrated by �English Interactive�» by Perdita Geier and Murdo MacPhail of Universidad de Leon, �Self-Access and Technology-Assisted Language learning: What do students think about them? by Sinikka Karjalainen of the University of Helsinki, �Educating autonomous learners with the help of new technologies and collaborative communities of practice by Maija Tammelin, Berit Peltonen, and Lis Auvinen, �Autonomous Learners and Effective CALL; which comes first?� by Peter Ruthven-Stuart of Hokuriku University, �Joys and Challenges of Facilitating autonomy in the CALL classroom� by Yoko Koike of Haverford College, �Blended learning Activities Fostering Autonomy in a Teacher Training Course� by Rita Kupetz and Brigit Ziegenmeyer of the University of Hanover, �Teaching Tourism Students to learn English autonomously� by Raquel Varela M�ndez of Universidad Nacional de Educati�n, and �Guided Autonomy in an Academic Writing Course� by �ydis Hide of the University of Antwerp, and �Scaffolding Independence: Results from CBE Experiments in Autonomous Interlanguage Development� by Elina Rigler of London Metropolitan University.

Another popular topic was using corpora. Presentations related to corpora included �Breathing Life into the Corpus� by Dermot. F Campbell of the Dublin Institute of Technology, �Enriching corpora for pedagogical Purposes� by Sabine Braun of Universit�t T�bingen, �An error-coded learner corpus and its application for automatic measuring of learners’ communicability� by Emi Izumi of the National Institute of Information and Communications, Japan, �Integrating a corpus of classroom discourse in language teacher education� by Angela Chambers, Carolina P. Amador Moreno, and Stephanie O�Riordan of the University of Limerick, �Corpus Development and translation� by Rafal Uzar, �Promoting Learner Autonomy Through the use of Datadriven Learning (DDL) to Analyse the Discourse Features of a Local Corpus� by Tony Harris of the University of Granada, �Can Corpus Consultation Contribute to a Process-Orientated Approach to Literacy and Language Learning?� by Ide O’Sullivan of the University of Limerick, �E-learning materials development based on an ESP corpus� by Robin Nagano and Yukie Koyama of the University of Miskolc, and �Teaching and Testing Vocabulary: Using a computer and corpora� by Kenji Kitao of Doshisha University.

In addition, there were presentations about using specific software, including �ApuMatti, a tool for publishing digital learning materials� by Maire M�kinen of Helsinki University, �Development of videos for Oral Assessment training: The HIEO HIELE ongoing project to foster the test takers autonomy� by Jes�s Garc�a-Laborda of the University of Valencia, �GENDERS, a tutorial package designed to help learners of French to internalise knowledge of noun gender distinctions� by Brian Farrington, �Using Machine Translation Output to enhance proficiency in foreign language written production� by Ana Ni�o of the University of Manchester, �Mashing Hot Potatoes with Moodle: tracking online quizzes with an open source LMS� by Gordon Bateson of Kanagawa Gakuin University, �Speech recognition software and university students of EFL� by Natalia Davidson and Florence Isenberg of the University of Haifa, �Flash in Education: the role of online interactivity� by Christopher O’Reilly of London Metropolitan University, and �The Assessment of Reading Comprehension through an Adaptive Courseware: The Case of DidaLect� by Corine Bolla-Paquet, Lise Durquette, and Alain Desrochers of the University of Ottawa.

Among the presentations on computer-mediated communication were �Impacts of CMC in language learning for newbies: The benefits of exchanging language and culture through online message boards� by Maria Jordano de la Torre of the University of Castilla La Mancha, �Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) Tasks: Meeting the English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) needs of tertiary ESL Learners by Sarimah Shamsudin of the University of Warwick, �Speaking online: Potential and Pitfalls of Speech-Based CMC� by Sake Jager of the University of Groningen, �The potential of using synchronous interactive 3D Virtual technologies to support the development of strategic competence: Towards Autonomy in Virtual Communication by YaChun Shih of National Hualien Teachers College, «Will Machines have Emotions?» Online Forums for Discussion of Academic Texts� by Sara Kol of Tel Aviv University, �Conversational negotiation strategies in Oral Communication online� by Therese �rnberg of Ume� University, �Syntactic complexity in online chat: Defining new parameters for the online medium� by Ana Oskoz of the University of Maryland, �Understanding and Fostering student interaction in Threaded Discussion� by Robert Williams of the American University in Cairo, �Supporting oral production for professional purpose in synchronous communication with heterogeneous learners� by Anna Vetter and Chanier Thierry of Universit� de Franche-Comt�, and �Users’ Perception of Computer-Mediated Communication for Language Learning� by S. Kathleen Kitao of Doshisha Women�s College and Blake E. Hayes of Kyoto Sangyo University.

There were two major social events. The first was the Polish Evening at Zalesie in the countryside near Krakow, where participants could eat traditional Polish food and enjoy traditional dancing and singing. The second was held at the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow.

Participants had a tour of the salt mine and its fascinating rock salt sculptures before dinner. We started dinner after 10 and finished after midnight.

Congreso celebrado en Viena, Austria, del 1 al 4 de septiembre de 2004

  • ReseÑa escrita en inglés por: S. Kathleen Kitao, Doshisha Women´s College, y Kenji Kitao, Doshisha University, publicada en APACALL Newsletter Series No. 6, December 2004

Reseña (inglés)



S. Kathleen Kitao (Doshisha Women�s College)

Kenji Kitao (Doshisha University)

The European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) held its annual conference at the University of Vienna September 1-4, 2004. Its theme was «TELL and CALL in the Third Millennium: Pedagogical Approaches in a Growing EU-Community.» The sub-themes of the conference were: pedagogical networking and dissemination «developing e-learning and collaborative learning strategies,» «innovative technologies and their didactic application,» «interactive e-learning vs distance learning?,» «building e-learning architectures,» «good practice concepts and examples» and «electronic publishing tools for e-learning.» About 300 people attended the conference from more than 30 countries, including Austria, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Chile, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Taiwan, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Malaysia, France, Denmark, Canada, Ukraine, Israel, Slovakia, and South Africa.

On September 1, several pre-conference workshops were held. These included «Setting up International Research Projects and Practical Approaches,» organized by Uschi Felix, Regine Hampel, Mirjam Hauck & Lesley Shield of Monash University, Australia & The Open University; Corpora in CALL, organized by Ylva Berglund of Oxford Text Archive; Hacking Hot Potatoes: An Introduction to Customizing Your Exercises, organized by Martin Holmes of the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre; and Teaching Online with Moodle, organized by Przemyslaw Stencel of Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Czestochowa.

On the evening of September 1, a Welcome Reception was held. Participants were greeted by Arthur Mettinger, Vice-rector of the University of Vienna and Department of Educational and International Affairs; Bernd Ruschoff, the President of Eurocall, University of Essen; and Klaus Peters, the Eurocall Conference Organiser 2004 and the President CALL Austria.

The following morning, the opening ceremony was held. Participants were greeted by Arthur Mettinger, the vice-rector of the University of Vienna and Department of Educational and International Affairs; Susanne Brandsteidl, the acting president of Vienna�s Board of Education; Nikolaus Ritt, the head of Department of English Studies at the University of Vienna; Bernd Ruschoff of the University of Essen, the President of EUROCALL; and Klaus Peters, the EUROCALL 2004 Conference Organiser, the President CALL Austria.

The first plenary of the conference was «Old Dog Tricks Revisited – CALL: Past, Present, and Future» by Udo Jung of the University of Bayreuth. He described a database of more than 5000 CALL-related papers, including papers in 27 different languages, 40% in English, 20% in French, and 17% in German. Prof. Jung had analyzed this database in order to identify trends in CALL, for example, a progression from drills to more communicative and integrated uses of computers.

On September 3, there were two plenaries. In the first, Peter Baumgartner of the University Hagen, Department of Educational Science and Media Research) spoke on «e-Education -Educational Scenarios, Standards and Tools.» He discussed four learning modes (presentation, problem solving, exploration and informal learning) and the learning environments and tools needed to support each mode.

In the second plenary, a paper by Jana Hromnikova of Comenius University in Bratislava on «On-line tutoring – training teachers for teaching in virtual learning environments» was presented by a colleague. As online learning expands, it is important to train teachers to integrate online and face-to-face methods of teaching. Hromnikova�s paper discussed technical, socio-economic, and cultural barriers.

The final plenary of the conference, on September 4, was delivered by Norbert Pachler of the Institute of Education at the University of London spoke on «Technology-enhanced language (teacher) learning: doing old things in new ways or doing new things?» Prof. Pachler discussed recent trends in technology and language teaching/learning, with an emphasis on computer-mediated communication. He stressed the importance of a constructivist approach to learning, with an emphasis on social processes and students� individual needs. In addition, he discussed teaching-related, student-related, and materials-related variables as well as three perspectives on learning (individual-cognitive, social-interactionist, and experimental-participatory) and how these interact with computer-assisted language learning.

In addition, there were almost 200 parallel sessions on a wide variety of CALL-related topics. One topic was corpora and language teaching, including «From pedagogically relevant corpora to authentic language learning contents» by Sabine Braun of the University of Tuebingen; «DIT-CALL (Digital Interactive Tools for CALL)» by Dermot F. Campbell, Marty Meinardi, and Ciaran McDonaill of the Dublin Institue of Technology; «Integrating corpus consultation in language studies» by Angela Chambers of the University of Limerick; «Corpora in language teacher education: perspectives from the users» by Fiona Farr of the University of Limerick; and «Computer corpora in the language classroom: a critical evaluation» by Gunther Kaltenbock and Barbara Mehlmauer-Larcher of the University of Vienna.

Presentations on how to use software included «Drag�n�drop Exercises Made Easy» by David Brett; «MaxAuthor Version 3: A Unicode based Authoring System for CALL Courseware» by Scott Brill of the University of Arizona; «Scribende – Optimal Pedagogics for Academic Writing» by Tineke Brunfaut and Kris Van de Poel; «An Automatic Collocation Writing Assistant for Taiwanese EFL Learners: Using Corpora for language teaching and learning based on NLP Technology» by Richard Chang, T-P Chen, and Jason S. Chang of National Tsing Hua University; and «Active web-based learning in second language learning demonstrated with Quandary» by Silvia Gstrein and Reinhard Rausch of the University of Innsburck.

Other presentations were on theoretical considerations on the use of CALL. Among these were «Assessing the promise of CALL: Where is the teaching in blended learning?» by David Brooks of Kitasato University; «Language Learning in Academic and Adult Education: Open & On-line» by Susanna Buttaroni and Ilona Herbst of Johannes Kepler University; «Towards a LCMS for language learning: new issues in web based CALL» by Alessandra Corda of Leiden University; «E-Learning Pedagogy in the Third Millenium: The need for combining social and cognitive constructivist approaches» by Uschi Felix of Monash University; and «Inspectable Learner Models for Web-based Instruction» by Trude Heift of Simon Fraser University.

Presentations on teacher training and development included «Computer-Assisted Language Learning: An Area of Study and Teaching» by Robert Debski of the University of Melbourne; «Challenges to teacher training» by Michael Fitzgerald and Christina Rosalia of Kanda University of International Studies; «E-Learning in a Blended Teacher Training Course» by Rita Kupetz and Birgit Ziegenmeyer of the University of Hanover; and «Experiential learning and collaborative tasks as a subject and as a method in e-learning moduls for future foreign language teachers and software designers» by Dietmar Rosler and Susanne Schneider of Justus-Liebig University.

Presenters described various methods and techniques for using CALL in the classroom. These papers included «Collaborative Tasks for language teaching in new online learning spaces; Design and implementation» by Regine Hampel of the Open University, UK; «Data-driven learning (DDL) as a method for the acquisition of academic English» by Tony Harris and Fernando Serrano Valverde of the University of Granada; «Crossing the Sensory Divide: Reinforcing Grammar Through Music» by Archana Hinduja, C. Black, and S. Haddad of Wilfrid Laurier University; «Using Google as a tool for writing instruction» by Philip Hubbard of Stanford University; «A pilot hybrid course to acquire orality, reading and writing in a foreign language» by Ninette Cartes-Enriquez, Edith Larenas-San Martin, and Ines Solar-Rodriguez of Universidad de la Concepcion; and «On-Line Literacy Books for EFL Students» by Haruo Nishinoh of Doshisha University.

Among the presentations on using CALL to teach content and ESP were «Anywhere, Anytime: Online Professional Development in Content-Based Instruction» by Laurent Cammarata of the University of Minnesota; «Incorporation of technology-enabled sociocollaborative language projects into the ESL curriculum Adult Multicultural Education Services» by Sophie Cholewka; and «Designing ESP Materials for Distance Learning Students» by Camelia Dicu.

In addition to the Welcome Reception, there were two other social events. On Thursday evening, there was a cocktail reception sponsored by Verband Wiener Volksbildung, the umbrella organization of the Viennese Adult Education Centres. On Friday evening, there was a reception by and banquet with the Mayor of Vienna in the Knights� Banquetting Hall (Rittersaal) of Vienna�s Town Hall Cellar (Rathauskeller).

Congreso celebrado en Limerick, Irlanda, del 3 al 6 de septiembre de 2003

  • Reseña escrita en inglés por Blanka Klimova, Faculty of Informatics and Management, University of Hradec Kralove, República Checa.
  • Reseña escrita por François Mangenot, Université de Franche-Comté, Francia, en la revista electrónica ALSIC.

Congreso celebrado en Nijmegen, Holanda, del 28 de agosto al 1 de septiembre de 2001

Reseña escrita por: Ida Dring-Horvth de la Universidad ELTÉ de Budapest, Hungría, quien obtuvo la Beca János Kohn en 2001

Reseña (inglés)

Universidad Católoca de Nimega, Holanda

29 de agosto a 1 de septiembre de 2001


The International Conference Eurocall 2001 was held from 29 August to 1 September 2001 at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, Netherlands. The conference attracted more than 350 participants from all over the world. Nijmegen, adjacent to the river de Waal, is one of the oldest historic towns of Holland. As a student town it offers lots of lively caf�s and bars, which were frequently used by attendees in their free time.

The conference was very well organised by the hosts. The main organisers Everhard DittersJacqueline Berns and Tom Ammerlaan were on hand at all times and there were also friendly helpers to give information or to solve any problems. The three university buildings, where the conference events took place were well situated, just a few minutes walking distance from each other. Transport was provided between the university campus and the hotels where participants stayed. Detailed online information was available before the conference, as well as printed material at the conference itself.

Pre-conference events and exhibition

As in other years there were pre-conference meetings arranged separately from the actual conference. These meetings included workshops and seminars where participants could get a practical insight into some of the latest technical improvements such as new software, telelearning or assessment procedures.

Throughout the conference week participants were able to attend a related exhibition set up by Philippe Delcloque with the title «An Illustrated History of Speech Technology in Language Learning»

Conference events

Participants met in five keynote speeches, one panel discussion and eight parallel sessions to listen to presentations addressing the conference main theme: «E-learning: language learning and language technology». To pay specific attention to some selected sub-themes the Conference Papers, Show and Tell Demonstrations and Poster Sessions were centered around seven main streams:

1. Design of software for interactive language learning
2. Assessment of the effectiveness of Computer-Assisted and Web-Enhanced Language Learning
3. Learners’ Appreciation and Assessment of ICT-exploitation in Language Learning
4. Learner strategies in CALL
5. Pedagogical and didactic constraints on CALL
6. Computer-Assisted Proficiency Testing
7. New human-machine interfaces


Mike Levy (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) presented an overview about the theoretical orientations considering the optimal language learning environments. After introducing different computer-mediated environments for language learning he focused on Web-design established especially for the use in language teaching / learning. With the help of several practical examples in Web-design-projects he showed us the importance of adequate designing and he put great emphasis on the role of metaphors.

Rodolfo Delmonte (Universit� Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy) explained briefly the importance of appropriate feedback to the learner in the language learning process and he dealt with the difficulties of a computer-mediated learning environment. The problems we have to face when trying to give adequate feedback are mainly caused by the complexity of the language learning task. In his speech the presenter pointed out that improvements in speech and natural language processing technologies urgently needed to be integrated into CALL applications, while there was also a close relation to the linguistic content of communication-simulations. Some examples were given as the possible future ways to solve the presented difficulties.

Manfred Pienemann (University of Paderborn, Germany) summarised the history of intelligent testing and profiling methods, which in their present stage enable us to establish what our learners can learn. He focused on the cardinal importance of testing for teachers: the language acquisition level tells teachers what they can teach next. In the second part of his lecture a method for language acquisition testing called Rapid Profile was introduced and its procedural and conceptual aspects were described in detail.

Gabrielle Hogan-Brun (University of Bristol, UK) talked about some important questions requiring more research in the context of e-learning. We have to pay more attention to surveying learners’ needs, as the key issue in the effective implementation of new technologies. The usability and relevance of e-learning to wider communities of learners in a global age was also mentioned as a further important research field.

Since Steve Molyneux (University of Wolverhampton, UK) could not attend the conference, Philippe Delcloque shared with the audience the material Steve had forwarded. The talk explored some significant changes in the field of education, especially concerning open and distance learning. The important role of technology, its growing influence on education and training was stressed.

In the Panel Discussion researchers from four continents, Carol A. Chapelle (University of Illinois, USA), Marie-No�lle Lamy (Open University, UK), Hsien-Chin Liou (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), Mike Levy (Griffith University, Australia) discussed the needs and possible ways of fruitful CALL research. Questions about sensible technical and financial investments along with questions and comments from the audience were also debated.

Closing session and post-conference activity

In the very nice closing session the president of EuroCALL, Bernd R�schoff, summarised the annual meeting and expressed his thanks on behalf of all the attendees to the organisers and to the helpers for the successful conference. Then Peppi Taalas, the organiser of the 10th EuroCALL-Conference provided us with some information about next year’s meeting. In 2002 the conference will be held between 14-17 August in Jyv�skyl�, Finland. Further details will be posted on the conference website. As a post conference activity a great excursion was offered for all the participants to the Kr�ller-Muller Museum in Arnhem on Saturday afternoon. This Museum can be found amidst amazingly beautiful natural surroundings and houses a world famous collection of fine art, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The focal points of the museum are the extensive range of works by Vincent van Gogh and the sculpture garden. All in all this outing was a worthy closing activity for the 9th EuroCALL conference in the Netherlands.

Ida Dring�-Horv�th
University ELTE of Budapest
Holder of the J�nos Kohn Scholarship, 2001

Congreso celebrado en Dundee, Escocia, del 31 de agosto al 2 de septiembre de 2000

Reseña escrita por: Péter Gál, Universidad de Veszprem, Hungría, beneficiario de la Beca János Kohn, 2000

Reseña (inglés)

University of Abertay Dundee, Escocia

31 de agosto al 2 de septiembre de 2000

EUROCALL 2000 took place in Dundee, Scotland between 31 August and 2 September, with the subtitle Innovative language learning in the third millennium. This year’s conference was dedicated to the memory of János Kohn, a pioneer of CALL in Hungary. János’s untimely death occurred in March 1999. His memory lives on with the EUROCALL-sponsored Annual János Kohn Scholarship which enables a worthy Hungarian scholar to attend the organisation’s annual conference.

There were various events before the conference, including the Instil symposium, organised by Philippe Delcloque, who also organised the conference itself. The Doing WELL workshop provided an introduction to web-based language learning from the point of view of language teachers. An introduction was given by Uschi Felix (Monash University, Australia) about good practice and possible drawbacks. She emphasised that teachers should always consider looking for existing pages instead of creating their own ones from scratch. There are plenty of valuable language teaching pages. In her book she gives a thorough overview of these grouped by task type and language. Then work went on in two smaller groups. One dealt with Web-CT, a powerful tool for organising distance learning sessions, the other learned about creating web pages and exploiting authoring tools for language teaching. At the end of the workshop the Scottish video conferencing network was introduced. Every partaking institution has its own studio. Videoconference sessions are organised through the headquarters in Edinburgh using an ATM network with dedicated bandwidth.

The Human Language Technology in CALL workshop dealt with the role of natural language processing in language learning. Human Language Technology (HLT) helps us to use language more effectively, communicate in new ways or with people we could not have communicated with before. Cornelia Tschichold (Université de Neuchâtel) explained the difficulties we face when we try to process the speech of language learners. Trude Heift (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada) introduced the special needs of designing web-based language teaching systems through the example of German Tutor, an existing program. Anne Vandeventer (Université de Genève) spoke about FIPSGram, a French parser and the associated LT tasks. Finally we could hear talks on the use of parsers in the language classroom.

In accordance with the conference subtitle, the keynote speakers evaluated the results of CALL research from the point of view of future challenges.

Stephen Heppel (ULTRALAB, Chelmsford) talked about the future of e-learning in the context of ‘gadgets and gizmos’ and highlighted in particular the learning potential of mobile phones. He divided the spread of e-learning into three stages: the stage of denial, of opportunity and of adoption. He cited the results of research carried out among British children to show that the use of technology has become mainstream nowadays. However, he pointed out that technology itself does not change learning, and emphasised that the assessment of learning should focus on the process, not the product.

Wendy Mackey (Université de Paris-Sud) put the use of computers into a wider context. She listed several milestones of using computers in education during the past few decades. Among future challenges she mentioned going beyond WIMP interfaces (windows, icons, menus, pointing). She also emphasised the role of situated programming and bringing users into the design process.

Ron Cole (Center for Spoken Language Understanding, University of Colorado, Boulder) briefly summarised past visions of intelligent animated agents. Then he introduced Baldi, the conversational agent used successfully at the Tucker Maxon Oral School in Portland. This agent is capable of showing speech organs during speech synthesis. Although the agent is very popular among students, Ron Cole warned that existing systems are immature. We do not know enough about kids’ speech, more corpora are needed to study speech and train recognisers. The speech of present systems is intelligible but not natural or expressive. Another drawback is that these systems are ‘blind’, they do not exploit visual information. Their results are available for the research community at

Ray Kurzweil explained the consequences of exponential growth. He examined the development of instruments related to information technology and found that exponential growth began much before integrated circuits. His views of future possibilities were quite shocking:

  • By 2009 computers as we know them now will disappear, it will be possible to write information directly onto our retinas. We will have great bandwidth, wireless connection to the Internet and the visual and auditory dimensions of virtual reality will be well developed.
  • By 2029 virtual reality will include all five senses and it will be difficult to differentiate between real people and simulations. Miniaturisation will make it possible to send millions of ‘nanobots’ into the human body. At the same time human life will be much longer, but knowledge will not be downloadable.

Carol A. Chapelle (Iowa State University) analysed the vision of innovative language learning. Speech recognition for native language and learner language differs. Our view of language learning depends on our choice between Crystal’s two options: the English speaking world and linguistic diversity. In the latter case, machine translation seems to be available, though language learning will not become faster in the next 50 years – some comfort for language teachers! In designing language teaching tools we need a harmony of criteria, research and software. Thus she introduced criteria coming from SLA research, questions for the evaluations of SLA tasks and the functions and purpose of software tools.

The conference papers, Show and Tell and poster sessions were organised into seven main streams: authoring and delivery, better language acquisition, language centres, delivery on the web, evaluation and testing, feedback and human language technology.

The conference was accompanied by a much-praised exhibition of the History of CALL, assembled by the conference organiser and co-sponsored by EUROCALL and CALICO. Much of he material from the exhibition is also available on-line at

Péter Gál
University of Veszprem, Hungary
Holder of the János Kohn Scholarship, 2000

Felix, U. (1998) Virtual Language learning, Australia: Language Australia Ltd.

Congreso celebrado en Besançon, Francia, del 15 al 18 de septiembre de 1999

Reseña escrita por: Stephan Pohlmann (coordinador), Inés Caradice, Christopher Hall y Liam Murray

Reseña (inglés)

Universit� de Franche-Comt�, Besan�on, France

15-18 September 1999

EUROCALL 99 was held at the Universit� de Franche-Comt�, Besan�on, France from 15 to 18 September 1999. The main theme of the conference was «Information and Communication Technology in varied language learning environments», and there was a second special theme «Evaluation of language skills and language testing». The conference was attended by 365 participants from 29 countries: 119 came from France, 56 from the UK, 142 from other European countries, and 48 from other continents.

The participants enjoyed their stay in a lively and historical city surrounded by delightful countryside. French cuisine could be tasted in a multitude of restaurants, at the official social events and even in the Restau-U at the campus. The campus on which the department for «Sciences et techniques» is located was an ideal conference site. All the workshops, papers, posters and the high-quality exhibition were located in one building within a short walking distance from the auditorium for the opening and closing ceremonies and the keynotes. The hosts had prepared the conference very well, starting with an informative website in French, English and German. French and English were the conference languages, and some speakers managed to read in French while showing English transparencies. A group of friendly young helpers was always around so that problems which always occur at events like this could quickly be solved.

As in previous years, the day before the conference was used for seminars and workshops. The Seminar on Speech Technology applications in CALL, organised by Philippe Delcloque, was very well attended. The participants followed interesting presentations on speech recognition in general, a courseware for Breton using text-to-speech synthesis and a dictation module, the acquisition of mother tongue prosody in early childhood, and virtual talking heads as useful tools for pronunciation training.

What follows is, as usual, only a selection of the total conference contributions, and reflects the views and interests of the writers of this report.


The first keynote was given by Dr. Madanmohan Rao from the Web publishing firm Planetasia, Bangalore, India. He talked about «Multilingual Publishing on the Internet: Challenges and Opportunities for Language Educators». As the main forces driving multilingual publishing on the Internet he identified: globalisation; E-commerce; education; diaspora. The speaker gave many examples including useful web addresses for the use and the learning of a variety of languages through the Web. An interesting aspect was the use of the Web for news, information and business by diaspora populations, i.e. people with a common mother tongue who are spread all over the world for different reasons. Figures he has collected show that the share of net activities in countries other than the United States has grown significantly over recent years. With the selection of this first keynote the organisers gave the conference a global touch and showed that EUROCALL is going to continue its commitment in the worldwide process of language learning.

The main message from C. Depover’s sober and highly informative keynote was to remind us that theory and practice in CALL design and implementation must feed off of each other through an iterative design and conceptualisation process. His caveat that there is life outside of the Internet in CALL practices was also timely and appropriate.

In his keynote address, Michel Laurier attempted to answer the question «Can computerised testing be authentic?» Authenticity has been a matter of concern to language testers for a long time, and it is particularly relevant in communicative approaches. Computerised testing has developed enormously over recent years, yet many of its advantages are attained at the expense of authenticity. Laurier discussed a number of approaches which can help overcome this problem: computerised direct testing, which is especially useful in those language oriented activities where the use of the computer is growing; the use of multimedia to provide an enhanced context (e.g. the use of virtual reality in tests for airline pilots); electronic portfolios, and the possibilities offered by new models from Item Response Theory.


Robert Fischer’s paper on «Student Control and Student Learning» was a work in progress and a description of a tracking system to be used on students within the Gemini multimedia authoring tool as they acquired and practised listening comprehension skills in the French language. Early data results seem to suggest that students do not make optimum use of the multimedia materials offered to them. Fischer offered several hypotheses to explain this and we look forward to learning the confirmation or refutation of them in the near future when additional data has been collated.

In her paper, «The effects of the WWW on reading and writing skills in a Spanish cultural studies course», Carmen Cabot from the University of New South Wales offered a well structured and clear presentation supported by comprehensive data. She provided a summary of the objectives, methodology and results of a study into using the Web as a tool to develop students’ awareness of the cultural variety of the Spanish-speaking world and to foster improvement of reading and writing skills. Using a wide range of statistical evidence, examples of students� work and feedback extracts, she led us to the conclusion that the study had successfully proved that compared to the same course in previous years the students had emerged with richer vocabulary and personal expressiveness, greater cultural awareness and improved reading comprehension, but surprisingly not any better in accuracy. The Web was motivating and well received and she would encourage teachers of languages to make use of the Web in their classrooms to promote cultural awareness and develop reading and writing skills.

The UK Open University team offered a succession of related presentations, which came together very effectively in support of an emerging new technology which aims to deliver comprehensive courses (including oral skills) to learners who need the contact and companionship of their peers, from isolated locations, under the watchful eye of an OU tutor. The papers were on «Synchronous voice conferencing via the internet» by Lesley Shield, «Facilitating on-line interactive tasks for distance learning» by Sue Hewer and «Learner interaction using a real time audio environment» by Marcus K�tter. Using a progression of tools from the initial 1995 telephone conferencing based courses, adding e-mail and evolving through to an on-line voice over Internet programme, this was later developed as an audiographics environment with the addition of a whiteboard. All of these yielded very positive results according to the feedback revealed, but none as comprehensive as the existing integrated package «Lyceum» in use in 1999, an impressive tool which will hopefully fulfil its potential in such expert hands; the content and quality of the materials and activities presented via such an environment being as inspiring as the software itself.

Guy Arquembourg described an interesting case study showing the integration of a hypertext generator called «Polygraphe 4» with secondary school learners This followed a constructivist approach with teachers and students both authoring different materials in a collaborative context with a definite increase in learner motivation and language awareness being noted. The most salient point conveyed was the change in the traditional role of the teacher to language advisor and facilitator.

Nicole Tourigny presented two very interesting papers on explanatory modelling in ICT systems which are used to facilitate the learning of summary writing in a foreign language. Current general automatic summary generation programs are of limited use but the GARUCAS program is proving to be more effective because it utilises a generic approach in giving students explanations and advice from a knowledge base which is directly relevant to the subject of the original full text and a previous summary of the same text. This she has termed: «le raisonnement par cas» where the problem to be resolved is first interiorised, a replicable model is created then improved upon and then used to teach others. In this approach a study is made of the learner’s needs when writing a summary and the identified and classified needs are used in giving other and future learners help and explanations which are directly pertinent to fulfilling the task of writing the summary. This is directed learning at its best. The first paper presented Tourigny’s own research findings and the second paper based on her research student’s work (L. Capus) described the incremental GARUCAS system in greater depth with several examples. Tourigny’s future work on this model will be in having the system validated by summary writing experts, and we look forward to reading their comments and appraisals.

In her paper «Computer mediated communication: learning German on-line in Australia», Martina M�llering reported on a new project at Macquarie University (Sydney), in which a beginners’ German course is being offered in ‘flexible delivery mode’, i.e. by distance learning as well as on campus. Alongside audiocassettes and printed material, distance learning students have access to online facilities such as e-mail and an electronic bulletin board. The paper reported on the use made by students of the online facilities, the effects the use of these facilities had on the type of assignments set and on the communication both between lecturer and students and among students.

Steve Cushion and Dominique H�mard presented a very informative and entertaining Show and Tell session on authoring and authorable highly interactive grammar and listening exercises on Web pages in order to exploit the plethora of materials already available on the Web and adapt them to CALL. A little bit of competition here for Hot Potatoes! They also discussed the possible extension and use of their applets in other courses such as politics, history and literature.

In her paper, Batia Laufer addressed the question «What lexical information do L2 learners select in a CALL dictionary and how does it affect word retention?» She reported on a study of the incidental vocabulary learning among groups of EFL students in Hong Kong and Israel using a CALL program which provides bilingual and monolingual electronic dictionaries and logs students’ look-up behaviour. The results reveal striking differences in look-up preferences in Hong Kong and Israel, and suggest that conditions which cater for a variety of look-up preferences encourage incidental vocabulary learning.

Sally-Ann Kitts gave an excellent paper on integrating hypermedia learning tutorials (e.g. «Caminos a la expresividad«) for Hispanic and Latin American studies through a constructivist approach which involved the creation of REALs or Rich Environments for Active Learning. The students are given generative tasks centred in authentic situations and become responsible for their own learning. The pedagogic principles behind the design are worth noting: complete integration; student partnerships of learning; authenticity of context, tasks and assessment; enablement of generative learning and a holistic approach to the course design.

In «The development of specialised web pages for use in business French and business Spanish» Todd Hughes provided another example of high quality content. At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the relevance of the study of the NAFTA agreement from a linguistic perspective has provided a great opportunity to develop the use of the Intranet for students of the three languages involved. These students are invited to take their respective roles, investigate the evidence provided on-line and participate in discussions as well as submit appropriate exercises to their tutors, with the climax being a debate at which they need to persuade their fellow US Americans (played by the foreign students) to stay within the treaty. This was another example of straightforward good design to deliver what still remains the most important element: useful content.

In an imaginary hitlist of witty titles the top position would probably be occupied by Majia Tammelin. In her paper «The Loneliness of the Long-distance Teacher» (following «The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner» by Alan Silitoe) she referred to the role of social presence in the online classroom. At first she introduced the concepts of telepresence and social presence. Then she described her experiences with online writing courses in which it was up to the teacher to encourage the exchange of ideas by frequently sending e-mails to the students. Finally she underlined how important the issue of social presence is in teacher education and ended with a quotation by Mason: «A good teacher has presence in any medium».

The Show and Tell session by Eleanor Avinor was a sound and practical example of using CALL techniques in performing a linguistic and grammatical analysis of a famous interview between an Italian journalist and a prominent political figure from the Middle East � Khomeini. It was indeed a complete sample lesson involving: a text preview with tutors’ questions and additional vocabulary; comprehension questions with feedback; and a guided summary completion. The approach is easily adaptable, readily copiable and to be highly recommended.

Robert O�Dowd introduced a Spanish-American project on «Videoconferencing as a tool for intercultural learning», the aims of which were to give students opportunities to practise conversing in the target language and to develop their intercultural awareness. The project involved the use of various technologies, the most important of which was videoconferencing, in which the two classes on different sides of the Atlantic were connected for joint sessions in English and Spanish. The results show that in spite of some drawbacks this technology can be an effective tool for developing intercultural understanding and for peer-based language learning.

Another paper on computerised testing was that by Sarah Corcoran: «The future of European language assessment: computer based developments within ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe)». ALTE, founded in 1990, has developed a European framework with five levels of language proficiency, together with a set of ‘Can Do’ statements indicating what language users are able to do at each level. The main part of the presentation was devoted to two computer adaptive tests available in six languages, CommuniCAT and BULATS (Business Language Testing System) which offer a number of advantages: they are quick and efficient, a single test is suitable for all levels of ability, they are based on large item banks and are highly validated.

A very exciting presentation relating to on-line delivery of courses was that by Gerardo Arrarte and In�s Sor�a from the Instituto Cervantes, entitled «Spanish Distance Learning Courses». This is a global project, well funded by the Spanish government and supported by a small, highly professional and dedicated team, that has the brief of creating a series of tutor supported on-line courses to be used and managed by the dozens of Cervantes Institutes worldwide. This material will be supported by a long-distance teacher training course as well. We were treated to a superbly designed presentation laying out the background and theory behind the course development. We were taken, via the Web, to the first units of smoothly creative activities and materials, presented with superb ease of navigation and thoughtful design. The colours, the illustrations, the exercises, the special effects, the organisation of materials and variety of tasks were all so impressive that I am sure this project will make a significant impact in language learning environments worldwide before too long.

Aline Germain and Philippe Martin’s paper may be excused the label of being a salespitch for their phonetics teaching software called WinPitch LTL due to the simple fact that this is an excellent piece of software. Based on deep pedagogical research and practical examples of integrative usage, Winpitch allows the analysis and visualisation of recorded speech in real time through a segmentation process which the learner can manipulate, listen to and learn from. It can lead to reflective learning in the student through autonomous use or with a tutor. It will hopefully do much to raise the profile (and teaching) of phonetics courses on language degree programmes.

Reports on EU projects

Lis Kornum reported on experiences with TINO, a Socrates roject for teacher training in ICT with the target languages Danish, Greek and Dutch. After a needs analysis, a website for teachers in the corresponding countries, but also open to other countries, was set up. Lis Kornum took the opportunity to criticise the obstacles the project leaders had to face through the bureaucracy in Brussels – huge time delays, no responses to letters and e-mails, then sudden demands for documents with short deadlines, delays in providing money, just to mention a few. She did not want to discourage people from applying for project funding, but gave them the advice: «If you wouldn�t have done it anyway, don�t do it!»

Similar problems were reported by Andrew Way regarding VOCALL, a Leonardo project. Again, less widely used and taught languages are involved, namely Portuguese, Greek and Irish. The target group are vocationally-oriented language learners in the areas of computers, business administration, and electronics. The result of the project is a web-based multimedia CALL tool with the same features and contents in all the target languages plus English.

Roland Nyns presented another Leonardo project for vocationally-oriented language learners in the field of Technical Aviation English. Here a well-established program, Question Mark, is used to develop tests for the evaluation of airline technical personnel.

Sue Hewer and Fred Riley demonstrated the results of the LINGUA-funded REAL project which has produced a series of programs for the development of reading and listening strategies in Dutch, Greek, Swedish, and English. The Dutch, Greek, and Swedish programs provide texts and a variety of exercises for students who want to study in the target countries. They are freely downloadable from the Internet. The English programs concentrate on language for Business and Social Sciences and are available commercially. The listening exercises are a clever combination of spoken texts, written tasks and a drag-and-drop technique for providing answers.

While the previously described projects are more or less restricted to a small range of target languages including special languages, the following two projects could be of great value for learners and teachers of many languages at different levels all over the world.

Peppi Taalas and Fred Riley introduced the Socrates-funded ICT4LT project, which aims to produce an online training course in information and communication technology for language teachers by August 2000. The project involves institutions in the UK, Finland and Italy and is currently being piloted by 50 teachers in each of the three countries. In the long term the project may lead to an internationally recognised qualification, e.g. a Diploma or MA degree. Further information is available on the website,, where the course material can be accessed free of charge until the end of the piloting period.

Jos� Noijons and Peppi Taalas introduced the DIALANG project, a promising tool for diagnostic language testing through the Internet. The idea is to enable all European citizens to find out how well they master one of the official EU languages plus Icelandic, Irish and Norwegian. They will obtain information about their strengths and weaknesses and will be able to answer statements of the form «I can …» according to the Council of Europe Common Framework. Access will be free of charge. The assessment procedure starts with a vocabulary size placement test in which the client must decide whether each item of a large vocabulary list belongs to the target language or not. Then s/he chooses the assessment section: reading, listening, speaking, structures/grammar, or vocabulary. After a number of self-assessment probes s/he can solve tasks according to their level. The DIALANG team is working on some attractive and innovative types of exercises, some of which were demonstrated. This project will run until 2001. However, it is hoped that the results will be accessible for many years.

The general question for the future of project results has been asked several times. It would be highly desirable if ways could be found to ensure that the resulting webpages, teaching materials, software products etc. remain accessible or can even be maintained after the project period.


There were a number of interesting poster presentations at the conference, for example:

Maija Tammelin et al. «Developing online environments for studying languages and business communication at the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration» with examples of courses in a number of languages.

Cornelia Tschichold «CALLocations: multi-word lexemes and their place in intelligent CALL», in which the presenter discussed the components needed in a CALL system in order to give learners feedback on their use of idioms and collocations.

Liam Murrray «Active Language Learning using Web-based student research», offered a very interesting and practical way of making use of current, authentic, on-line resources in the target language, with student motivation enhanced by publication on-line of the finished individual project.


Some participants expressed disappointment at thequality of the keynote presentations, some of which might have been better placed in the Show and Tell section. In accordance with the conference themes the emphasis of many contributions was on distance learning, the Web, teacher training, assessment and evaluation. Especially for those interested in the Web, delivery of both intranet and long distance courses the conference was a valuable source of insights and inspiration, with course delivery added to the now familiar theme of networked access to information and the target culture.


Stephan Pohlmann (co-ordinator)
In�s Caradice
Christopher Hall
Liam Murray

Congreso celebrado en Lovaina, Bélgica, del 9 al 12 de septiembre de 1998

Reseña escrita por: Carmen Mortara, King’s College London, Reino Unido

Reseña escrita por: Kathleen y Kenji Kitao, Japón

Reseña (inglés)

K.U. Leuven, Belgium

9-12 September 1998

Report by Carmen Castro-Mortara , King’s College London

1. Introduction

This year’s EUROCALL conference was held at the Catholic University in Leuven, 25 km east of Brussels. Leuven is a lively and historic town in which participants could reflect over a stimulating day’s papers, supping a characteristic Belgium beer in one of the many bars or restaurants.

The Conference Executive were very pleased with the 470 participants, many more than expected. The organisation was very good, with any problems dealt with promptly by the Conference President, Micha�l Goethals and Conference Manager, Luc Pauwels, assisted by students from the university.

This year’s conference theme was «From Classroom Teaching to World-Wide Learning» with attention given to the two following categories and sub-headings:

With the help of two colleagues, Cecilia Tafur Shahin, from Oswego State University of New York (SUNY) and Tricia Jones, from the University of Humberside I have been able to compile the following report on a few of the 100 or so papers, ‘show and tell’ sessions, posters and workshops included in the conference.

2. Keynote Speeches

(a) Mr. Jos� Luis Pardos, Ambassador of Spain to Denmark, opened the conference with an animated presentation on his first hand experience of the power of the Internet ‘World Wide Web’ (WWW), promoting Spanish current affairs, history, and its linguistic and cultural development. The WWW project ‘Ciez@net’ was given as an example of how experience in the classroom can be transformed into world-wide learning. Based in Cieza a small town in Murcia, ‘Ciez@net’ started as a small student project and is growing with the involvement of local institutions into an important informational resource encompassing the whole Murcia region.

(b) Professor G. Chesters‘ lecture «On the Politics of CALL» is both timely and relevant to advocates of CALL in higher education.

The speaker outlined the three fundamental ‘themes’ of CALL, ICTTeaching and Learning, and Language, expressed in the EUROCALL policy document. He pointed out the immense strategic significance the EU and G7 give to developing education, in tackling the great economic and cultural challenges of our time. This suggests that initiatives promoting CALL should be a high institutional priority.

Paradoxically, the promotion and funding of the fundamental themes of CALL in universities is very poor. ICT in learning is seen as expensive and over-hyped. Teaching and Learning are far less well resourced, compared to Research. Language learning is seen as functional rather than academic, lacking the kudos attached to history or philosophy, the professional power of medicine or law, or the political engagement of social sciences.

Professor Chesters reflected on EUROCALL’s policy document, concluding that whilst the fundamental themes of CALL carry political weight, they do not confer influence at an institutional level. Therefore, advocates of CALL need to seek strategic alliances and an understanding of the issues involved in lobbying the case for ICT in language learning at an institutional level.

Referring to the document ‘Restructuring the Universities: new technologies for teaching and learning’, published by the Association of European Universities (April 1998), the speaker highlighted the threefold solution offered:

  • developing clear institutional strategies for ICT, and actively communicating and promoting these within the institution;
  • increasing staff development regarding ICT; and
  • developing cost analyses which better reflect the true cost of ICT in learning.

Professor Chesters presented illustrative anecdotes of problems he has encountered in his own university (Hull) and suggested means that EUROCALL members could employ to influence CALL policy making in their institutions.

3. Video-conference

Via a live video link, a trans-Atlantic panel of 6 experts, Drs. C. Feyten, G. Van der Perre, M. Goethals, A. Libotton, W. Decoo, and Mr. V. Meus, shared their expertise on the use of ICT in the classroom in the conference «Breaking Through the Boundaries of Space and Time: ICT in language education.»

Firstly, the issue of whether computers or learners should be the centre of control in CALL was raised.

Taylor’s Learner Centred Model was introduced. Then a broader discussion ensued considering the context in which CALL is used, whether in a classroom setting or an individual setting.

Rather than issues of control, the panel thought it more valid to question whether CALL is adding value to the role of the tutor, taking into consideration pedagogic and social issues as well as technological ones. It was felt that the fast pace of technical innovation in ICT and CALL was not being matched by innovations in classroom practice and approaches to learning. The classroom paradigm is shifting from teaching to learning. The challenge is how to use CALL in ways that empower learners.

Secondly, there was a debate on the issues of tutors writing their own CALL software.

It was noted that tutors are embracing the Internet in adding value to classroom practice, designing activities for students, such as using E-mail to communicate with pen-pals, the WWW for on-line projects or field trips and CD-ROM encyclopaedias for researching foreign topics. However these are largely information gathering and not language learning activities.

A lack of programming skills and the complexity of authoring tools are obstacles to tutors creating their own CALL materials. However, the panel felt non-technical issues were a greater deterrent, such as a lack of time, questions of mediocre material quality, insufficient investment in tutor training and poor supporting frameworks for materials creation.

Unfortunately, with many institutions investing little in encouraging tutors, the creation of non-commercial CALL materials remains solely down to the initiative of tutors willing to find their own time to train themselves.

Bearing this in mind, some tutors have taken the time to integrate commercial CALL software with their own needs. This is rather more a case of matching materials with topics in the classroom than customisation of the software itself.

The panel agreed that much needs to be done to address this situation.

Lastly, the panel considered what levels of hardware sophistication, whether simple or advanced, were desirable for CALL.

The panel felt that given the shortening periods of time it takes for new technology to become obsolete, levels of sophistication are relative and dynamic. Therefore it is more meaningful to consider other issues such as the quantity of hardware and whether the value that CALL adds to language learning justifies expenditure on such systems over and above other teaching materials and resources, such as books.

The obvious cost ‘trade off’ between numbers of computers and levels of sophistication were highlighted. Spending a budget on a single more sophisticated computer would in all likelihood provide insufficient returns, in terms of adding learner value, over spending a similar amount on several less sophisticated machines.

In a classroom setting, having one computer for each individual student was not found to be the most appropriate solution in all but the smallest of classes, as this often spread the tutor too thinly to be effective as a learning mediator. In practice, a handful of computers (i.e. 5 or 6) was judged to offer the tutor scope in providing a variety of tasks for students whilst allowing the tutor to remain effective.

4. Methodology: ICT in the classroom

Dr. Philippe Delclocque‘s lecture «Authoring Utopia… Why DISSEMINATE?» began by presenting the development of CALL over the last 30 years, arriving at the keyboard and screen based metaphor of computing and the technologies of delivery which dominate CALL today.

The ‘toolbox’ approach to creating CALL materials, requiring visual programming skills which most tutors and linguists do not have the time or inclination to acquire, results in CALL materials that are technology driven rather than pedagogically driven.

Jean Gagnepain’s Mediation Theory was introduced, suggesting that human behaviour and human learning is mediated at four ‘levels’: linguistic; technological; sociological; and ethical.

To be successful the speaker stated that CALL materials must:

  • be pedagogically driven;
  • be mediated through tutors, to ensure that learners are enthusiastic about using CALL; and
  • operate at all four of Gagnepain’s levels of mediation.

The speaker then talked about his involvement in the recent CALLIFaT project, using ‘paradigmatic’ tools to create a system of CALL modules.

Reflecting on the experience of CALLIFaT the speaker outlined DISSEMINATE, a visionary conceptual framework offering a multiplicity of approaches for the future production of CALL systems.

One approach suggested by the speaker was ‘top-down’, building a system of WWW based CALL modules with intuitive WWW page building tools such as Microsoft’s ‘Homepage’. Another approach was ‘bottom-up’, building CALL modules using authoring tools and then giving them an interactive WWW implementation. The speaker preferred ‘bottom up’ as it could accommodate much current work on CALL.

Dr. Delcloque presented the successful case of LINUX, a cross-platform ‘operating system’ (OS) as a ‘distributed’ model for DISSEMINATE. LINUX had been Site designed by the ‘not for profit’ contribution of hundreds of programmers, all using the WWW as the network through which to openly share their creative effort. In the same way DISSEMINATE would avoid duplicity of effort and the possibility of a truly universal framework for CALL development.

5. Methodology: language learning strategies and ICT

(a) Johan Vanparys‘ interesting paper «How to Offer Real Help to Grammar Learners» is based on the latest research findings in cognitive sciences, learning styles and autonomy. The speaker discussed six strategies for creating a supportive environment in which grammar learning can take place under optimum conditions. These are:

  • make meta-language accessible;
  • be consistent;
  • maximise learner control;
  • split up;
  • provide insight; and
  • integrated learning.

These strategies have been implemented in 3 programs for learning Dutch: ‘StepIn’, ‘Interactief Nederlands’ and ‘EuroGram Dutch’.

In summing up, the speaker stated that many designers of CALL software do not apply the latest research findings on learning styles and strategies. He also highlighted the need for more flexible courseware that enables learners to become autonomous, regarding both content and learning strategy.

(b) Gitta Torfs‘ interesting paper «Cognitive and Meta-Cognitive Learning Strategies: implications for the development of software for language learning.» presented the findings of two empirical studies into a theoretical justification around which to design software programs for the instruction of grammar.

The speaker found that:

  • there is no direct connection between amount of ‘traditional grammar’ input and acquisition of a particular grammatical rule; and
  • using different learning strategies does not automatically lead to grammar acquisition.

Citing further studies, particularly Vermunt’s (1992) work on learning styles, the speaker classifies 17 strategies with fairly positive effects on grammar learning, which grammar teaching software should reflect. However it is necessary to take into account the individual learning style of each student and, at the same time, create the necessary ‘frictions’ to allow the student to pass from one learning style to a more suitable one for higher education.

Language program design should provide for:

  • information on the learning objectives and learning tools;
  • evaluation, (i.e. continuous assessment tools for individuals and group learners, including ‘pre’ and ‘post’ tests and evaluation of the learning process itself);
  • resourcing, (e.g. grammar tools and dictionaries);
  • repetition, (i.e. difficult exercises should be presented again);
  • note-taking, (for structuring the input and output);
  • instructor support, (perhaps via E-mail).

The speaker concluded that it is more straightforward to incorporate meta-cognitive than cognitive strategies into the design of language learning software.

(c) Licia Calvi‘s well structured paper «Non-linear Learning in the ‘Open’ Way: language acquisition on the WWW» presented an example framework for enhancing business language courses, using the WWW. The framework is based on the concept of Open Learning integrated with a constructivist view of Language Acquisition, that is the learner activates and reorganises knowledge through contextual investigation of authentic business materials (such as reports, news articles and journal extracts) sourced on the WWW.

This material is accessible to all users regardless of proficiency level. Links are provided to grammar tools, an on-line dictionary, exercises and tests. Links to E-mail and discussion groups are also provided.

The speaker concluded that this framework offers learners choice and control over their learning strategy, whilst giving teachers greater scope for facilitating the learning process. However, as learners have much of the responsibility for language level ‘goal setting’ and assessment, the framework suits ‘mature’ learners with high motivation.

(d) Christine Maingard‘s paper on «Evolutionary Epistemology in Language Learning and its Possible Implications for CALL» presented the view that all knowledge acquisition can be explained by evolutionary epistemology. The essence of evolutionary epistemology is that all human knowledge, and that includes second language acquisition, is a product of evolution and that successful acquisition of such knowledge depends on evolutionary learning mechanisms such as trial-and-error elimination and reinforcement, in the presence of control and constraints.

Central to this thesis is the notion that language learning should be seen as similar to general skill learning, where automaticity is critical. To achieve automaticity requires fequency, recency, and regularity. Maingard argues that an evolutionary epistemological approach should be applied to CALL design and implementation, particularly for beginning foreign language learners. It is only during the more advanced stages that the language learner can benefit from theories of constructivism and social computing which seem to be today’s trend of CALL.

6. Methodology: open and distance learning

(a) «Immersion in Virtual Reality: using MOO for teaching Italian» by Stella Peyronel presented a project involving 2nd Year students of the Department of Italian of Glasgow University. The project uses a text-based virtual environment (a ‘MOO’) called «Little Italy» designed so Italians can communicate entirely in Italian with proficient non-native speakers. Although not specifically created to teach the language «Little Italy» intends to prepare foreign students for their Italian experience in their 3rd Year abroad.

(b) Ana Gimeno-Sanz presented «New Developments in Multimedia: Espa�ol en Marcha», a multimedia course for both autonomous and tutor-guided learners exploiting full motion video, audio, text and illustrations The program provides several resources such as a sound-enhanced bilingual dictionary, hypertext reference on Spanish culture, and a grammar reference.

Innovative features of this course are the high level of individualised feedback given to learners through a detailed ‘assessment report’ and the provision of a notepad that allows the learner to take notes, save them and print them out if required.

7. Assessment and Evaluation: tools online/offline

Willy Weijdema presented a ‘show and tell’ session «Facts and Fiction. A Multimedia System for Interpreting Fiction» detailing the creation of a multi-media authoring system by the Amsterdam Faculty of Education to help students learn to interpret works of fiction.

Students are required to choose a fictional text, such as a poem. They then have to collect information on the poem, the poem’s author, the genre, style and some literary background. They then have to produce a multi-media CD-ROM which integrates all this material using the software ‘Mediator 4’ running on a multi-media laptop. A digital camera and flatbed scanner is used for the capture and input of visual material.

As an example of the system’s scope, a multimedia presentation was demonstrated based on the work of students on the Dutch sonnet «De Dapperstraat» by J. C. Bloem (1946). The CD-ROM contained information on street names (the subject of the sonnet), biographical notes on, and an interview with, its author, as well as a songs of the day, including one by Ginsberg.

The students had managed to ‘hyperlink’ all the material together, requiring them to develop the skill of «writing in 3 dimensions».

8. Assessment and Evaluation: resources online/offline

(a) The paper delivered by Uschi Felix, entitled «Stop Reinventing the Wheel, Its All Out There!» makes the case that there is already a volume of on-line language learning resources on the WWW, such as interactive grammar tools, stand alone courses, chat sites, ‘MOO’s’ (multi-correspondent virtual environments), interactive task based exercises (using HTML

tags), etc…The speaker had surveyed these on-line resources to determine just how many there are and pin-point examples of ‘best practice’ regarding their design and pedagogic value.

The speaker found that some categories of language learning resources on the WWW are very plentiful, concluding that the challenges currently facing tutors designing CALL modules are:

  • how to link the best existing resources together meaningfully with their own CALL modules, so avoiding the duplication of effort of designing their own; and
  • finding ways of co-operating globally with peers in the production of new CALL resources on-line, so that the maxims of best practice are shared and improved.

(b) William Haworth‘s insightful presentation «The WELL Project: promoting good practice in WWW enhanced language learning», described the ‘WELL’ project, supported by the UK Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (HEFCE), researching the use of the WWW for language learning in the UK. The speaker discussed the findings of a recent survey among universities and colleges. It was interesting to note that staff who use the WWW are mainly self taught ‘enthusiasts’ and that the main application of the WWW is as a source for authentic materials, to be printed out and used in off-line situations.

(c) Sandra S. Rinc�n and Petra Heck of the Katholicke Universit�t Talencentrum, Netherlands outlined their work on the project Tilburg University Multimedia Listening Training or «TUMULT». The output of this project are two CD-ROM’s for advanced language students, in Spanish and English. Each CD-ROM is composed of six different video modules, each containing three parts and designed to improve the student’s listening skills. Each part engages the learner in increasing levels of listening intensity:

  • global, where the listener is required to extract the main points from a dialogue;
  • detailed, concentrating on specific details and facts within a dialogue; and
  • intensive, requiring the listener to transcribe exactly what he or she hears.

Learners then complete exercises based on ‘true or false’, ‘question and answer’, transcription and ‘gap-filling’ templates.

Particularly noteworthy is the care the two presenters had taken in ensuring the authenticity of the video footage used to create the CD-ROM’s. Excerpts from the Spanish CD-ROM were shown and these presented themes that could challenge students with a variety of rich cultural contexts. Software tools accompany the material, such as a Spanish thesaurus, score, and context sensitive help.

In summary, the presenters concluded that these CD-ROM’s could be used in both self-study and tutor/learner situations to improve a student’s ability in , detailed and intensive listening.

9. Posters

(a) Lawrie Hunter‘s poster «Text Nouveau: visible structure in text presentation», illustrated the problem posed to Second Language readers of English wishing to access the information contained in WWW texts, the majority of which are in English and contain huge volumes of information.

Using the example of Japanese university students, who could be characterised as «English weak», but «information demanding», the speaker illustrated how Second Language readers are vulnerable to language richness obstacles.

If the information in WWW pages is to be accessible to these readers as an extensive interactive reading resource, as well as to native English readers too, WWW pages must be designed with care to be meaningful, graphical, spacious, free of English idioms and should contain line breaks.

(b) Another interesting poster was presented by Marie-Th�r�se Claes on «The Effect of Multimedia on Language Education in Business Schools». The example of language learning in The Brussels Business School was used to illustrate the juxtaposition of political and pedagogical issues surrounding the adoption of CALL in higher education.

On one hand there is an irresistible political drive to cut costs in higher education institutions, through supplanting the traditional role of the tutor and classroom scenario with more autonomous CALL based language learning. On the other hand, research findings in the field point to a holistic, rather than atomistic, approach to language learning as providing more effective language acquisition.

The speaker concludes the above forces are driving a context of change in language teaching in higher education. In the face of this change, teachers and learners are required to adopt a new ‘mindset’ towards the process of language teaching and learning. Language teachers need to adopt an ‘open’ attitude to new approaches, training in technology and didactics and must be prepared for an eventual conversion to a content-based language class. Likewise, learners must be prepared for increasing autonomy in language learning and to take greater responsibility for managing this process for themselves.

10. Pre-Conference Workshop

Members of the CAPITAL ‘Special Interest Group’ (SIG), Philippe Delclocque, Kathleen Egan, John Maidment, Roberto Delmonte and Pedro Gómez hosted a stimulating pre-conference workshop focusing on «Applications of Speech Technology for Language Learning». This introduced participants to the different technical issues of integrating speech into CALL systems.

A following round table discussion emphasised certain points, such as the need for systems of speech recognition delivering speaker-independent real-time feedback, rather than one hundred per cent technical perfection. This was a useful workshop which addressed the audience’s mixed levels of background knowledge in this area.

11. Summary

Two issues are recurrent through many of this year’s conference papers, ‘show and tell’ sessions and posters, represented by the small selection reported above, they are:

  • the application of research into pedagogy, to CALL; and
  • the Internet ‘World Wide Web’ (WWW).

Vanparys, Torfs and Maingard remind us that there is still work to be done to make CALL compliant with the latest findings on the process of language learning. Designers of CALL materials need to be informed as much about the results of such research, as they are of the latest technologies and tools for CALL production, to ensure that new CALL materials attain the highest pedagogic value. Likewise strategies are required, encouraging more language specialists to become involved with CALL, so bringing greater linguistic knowledge to the field.

The numerous references to the WWW indicate the profound influence that it is having on the development of CALL.

Delclocque and Felix point to how the relationship between CALL and the WWW might evolve further, suggesting a shared collaborative approach to CALL development facilitated through the WWW. Haworth, Calvi, Peyronel and the trans-Atlantic panel of experts all supply practical data on how the WWW can be, and is being used to enhance language learning.

Claes and Chesters illustrate the political forces that are driving the CALL environment in higher education. Positively, they conclude that CALL and the WWW offer a tremendous opportunity for helping improve the status of language in higher education and the role of language and linguistic specialists. The challenge for all advocates of CALL is to make that opportunity a reality!

It will be interesting to see how far events have developed by the time of the next EUROCALL conference in 1999…

Nota: Las Actas del congreso EUROCALL 98 han sido publicadas en una edición doble de la revista ReCALL, en Mayo de 1999.

Seminario sobre Investigación en CALL

Informe elaborado por el profesor David Little fruto del Seminario sobre Investigación en el campo de CALL, celebrado durante el congreso EUROCALL 97 en Dublín.

Informe (inglés)

Informe del Seminario sobre el papel de la investigación en CALL

Seminar on research in CALL

EUROCALL 97, 11-13 September 1997, Dublin City University, UK

Report by David Little, Centre for Language and Communication Studies, Trinity College Dublin

For several years Dieter Wolff has argued that EUROCALL should do more to promote the development of a research culture appropriate to CALL. The organisers of the Dublin conference responded to this by inviting Dieter and myself to co-ordinate a seminar on research in CALL. In the event, ill health prevented Dieter from attending the conference, so it fell to me to run the seminar on my own.

The call for papers announced that the seminar would focus on the design of good research projects, the use of possible research methods, and the definition of what constitutes research in CALL/TELL. A large box file was left at the conference desk so that intending participants in the seminar could submit for discussion issues, questions, problems, possible solutions, and examples of good research practice. By the end of the second day of the conference the box was still empty, but any fears that this betokened lack of interest proved to be unfounded. Over sixty conference participants attended the seminar and engaged in lively and sustained discussion.

In my introduction to the seminar I posed two questions that I take to be fundamental. First, how do we ensure that research in CALL is possible in the first place? To outsiders this might seem to be an odd starting point. After all, most work in CALL goes on in universities, and universities are partly defined by the central role that they accord to research. It thus seems entirely natural that language learning, and especially language learning stimulated and supported by information systems, should be the focus of a sustained research effort. Yet in European universities there is a widespread bias against research that concerns itself with processes of teaching/learning, and many university language centres are specifically excluded from the research requirements of the institutions of which they are a part. The professional situation of many EUROCALL members is such that they can engage in research only as a hobby that their universities do nothing to encourage, and in some cases actively discourage. Here it is worth noting that in a symposium on university teaching published in the Times Higher Education Supplement of 27 June 1997, several contributors suggested that more weight should be given to good teaching, but none of them argued that good teaching is parasitic on good research. It is also worth noting that EU policies have tended to confirm the traditional breach between teaching and research: designed to promote language teaching and learning, LINGUA and related initiatives have excluded an explicit research component, and in many cases have also excluded the possibility of appropriate empirical evaluation. Clearly, EUROCALL has a role to play in re-educating policy makers, university administrations and EU decision makers.

My second introductory question was in two parts: What should be our primary research focus, and what varieties of research do we need to undertake? As regards the first part, I recalled a point made by Nina Garrett in her opening plenary address: that in the next few years developments in information technology will necessarily reshape second language pedagogy. If this is the case, then research in CALL must take the process of language learning as its starting point, though it will need to engage with other perspectives too – for example, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics. As for varieties of research, I suggested that we need theoretical research in order to provide ourselves with a basic orientation; empirical research in order to explore in a disciplined way how language learners actually use information systems, and to what effect; and action research in order to ensure that our research enterprise is not a linear but a cyclical process, leading back into the teaching/learning situation. In her opening address, Nina Garrett noted that a characteristic of autonomous learners is the ability to research their own learning. One might say the same about autonomous teachers: action research is a sign of teacher autonomy.

At the end of my introduction, I invited participants to call out the topics they felt the seminar should address. They produced the following list: research on language, contrastive studies, transfer; learner autonomy; quantitative versus qualitative research methods, student data, evaluation methodologies, and «the fallacy of objectivity»; postgraduate programmes and the selection and guidance of research students; safety critical issues; ways of dealing with technological change; the publication of research; the establishment of a EUROCALL discussion forum. At this point the seminar divided into six groups for forty-five minutes’ discussion.

The issues and proposals brought from the groups to the plenary feedback session that concluded the seminar fell into three broad categories. First, there had been discussion of the general orientations appropriate to research in CALL. One group suggested that we need to draw on the theories and research practice of other disciplines, including linguistics, psychology, social sciences, anthropology and education; while two groups noted that it is important to be clear what kind of research we intend to engage in and to adopt an appropriate methodology. Research takes time, which costs money, and one group pointed out that without research funding it is impossible to undertake large-scale empirical projects. Secondly, most groups spent some time discussing the implications of a fact to which Nina Garrett drew attention in her opening plenary: that most CALL applications allow researchers to gather large quantities of data with minimum effort. One report pointed out that it is one thing to collect data and another to know what to do with it, and several groups emphasised the importance of good research design. Thirdly, the groups addressed the role that EUROCALL might play in helping to develop a research culture appropriate to CALL. It was suggested that EUROCALL should establish a register of research activities and perhaps a special interest group for research; join forces with CALICO to found a world-wide electronic journal for CALL research; seek funding to sponsor research projects run by its members; organise a summer school on research in CALL; establish an electronic discussion forum on research in CALL; and lobby against the exclusion of research from EU-funded programmes such as SOCRATES and LINGUA.

The seminar was one of the liveliest events at EUROCALL 97, no doubt because it gave participants an opportunity to share and debate some of the interests and preoccupations they had in common. It is very much to be hoped that EUROCALL will act on at least some of the suggestions generated by the seminar before the 1998 conference convenes in Leuven.