Reseña EUROCALL 2004




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).