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Optimizing the role of language in Technology-Enhanced Learning

Expert workshop organized by the Integrated Digital Language Learning (IDILL) seed grant project

4-5 October, 2007


An expert workshop entitled ‘Optimizing the role of language in Technology-Enhanced Learning” will be organized within the framework of Kaleidoscope’s Integrated Digital Language Learning seed grant project. It will be held at the University of Louvain ( Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium ) on October 4th - 5th 2007.

Natural language is ubiquitous in Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL). It is present in both the input (texts, instructions, scripts) and the output (answers to exercises, collaborative writing, etc.) of the learning process and is the main channel of interactive communication between the tutor and the learner and between the learners. It plays a major role in all TEL fields in both hard and soft sciences. In Technology-Enhanced Language Learning (TELL), it is the learning objective besides being the vehicle for learning.

Although language is crucially involved in most TEL applications, it is usually either left unexploited or processed with crude techniques and most applications do not get the benefit of the much more powerful techniques provided by Natural Language Processing (NLP) that make it possible to automate a wide range of processes (glossing of texts, error detection and feedback, discourse analysis, rating of learners’ answers, exercise generation, etc).

The workshop aims to take stock of cutting-edge research in the field of automated analysis of language and its application to TEL, with a particular focus on TELL. It will target all types of learning environments with special emphasis on Learning Management Systems (LMS) and handheld mobile devices. It will bring together two strands of research which up to now have been largely separate:

-  language specialists with expertise in NLP, corpus linguistics, lexicography, lexical computing, technology-enhanced language learning who will present their methods and tools and show the benefit that can be derived from integrating them into TEL(L) applications;

-  TEL(L) researchers – both academic and industrial - who would like to explore new and more effective ways of dealing with language.

The workshop will be a unique opportunity to get first-hand information on recent developments in the integration of language analysis into TEL(L), make fruitful contact with major players in the field and set up new partnerships. One major outcome of the workshop will be a volume on “Language in Technology-Enhanced Learning: Issues, Challenges and Prospects”. 

The two-day workshop will consist of brief presentations and facilitated workshop activities in small groups. Emphasis will be put on dialogue and exchange during the workshop.

Experts on major issues in TE(L)L will give a brief presentation of their area of expertise. 

Workshop activities:
The main task of this workshop is to encourage discussions in groups focusing on a series of predetermined topics as well as serving as a base for groundwork towards collaborative projects. 

Call for presentation proposals
We have contacted several experts who have provisionally agreed to take part in the workshop. Provisional list of speakers and titles: 
·            Charles Alderson ( University of Lancaster - UK ), Computer-adaptive language testing
·            Eckhard Bick (University of Southern Denmark ), Language games
·            Josef Colpaert (Universiteit Antwerpen - Belgium ), CALL software design principles
·            Phil Edmonds (Sharp Laboratories of Europe - UK ), Language Technology projects at Sharps labs
·            Sylviane Granger (Université catholique de Louvain – Belgium ), The contribution of learner corpus research to TELL
·            Holger Hvelplund & Philippe Climent (IDM – France), Language technology projects at IDM
·            Adam Kilgarriff (Lexicography Masterclass Ltd - UK ), Lexical computing: the WordSketch Engine
·            Agnes Kukulka-Hulme (Open University – UK), Mobile language learning
·            Fanny Meunier (Université catholique de Louvain – Belgium ), Second language acquisition theory and TELL
·            John Nerbonne (Universiteit Groningen - Netherlands ), Natural Language processing in CALL: overview
·            Richard Pemberton ( University of Nottingham – UK ), Vocabulary learning in TELL
·            Claude Ponton/Georges Antoniadis ( Université de Grenoble Stendhal - France ), NLP & CALL: applications (Mirto and Exxelant)
·            Michael Rundell (Lexicography Masterclass Ltd & Macmillan Dictionaries – UK ), The dictionary of the future
·            Emma Shercliff (Macmillan English Campus – UK ), Online practice environment for learners of English as a foreign language.
·            Serge Verlinde (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Belgium ), Automatically generated web-based exercises: ALFALEX
·            Carl Vogel (Trinity College Dublin – Ireland ), Error detection and feedback
·            David Wible ( Tamkang University – Taiwan ), Learning Management Systems: the IWILL platform 

We invite Kaleidoscope members who have an interest in language to submit a presentation proposal using the attached form. We are particularly keen to add presentations on:

- how language tools can improve non-language-oriented TEL projects: the role of natural language in mathematical learning, collaboration scripts, computer-mediated communication, adaptive scaffolds, etc.)

- cutting-edge research projects in language-oriented TEL projects

The workshop is open to academic and industrial experts. To ensure maximum intelligibility among the audience, all presentations will be in English.  Interested experts who are not members of Kaleidoscope should get in touch with Sylviane Granger before submitting a proposal (sylviane.granger@uclouvain.be).  

If you are interested in presenting a paper or giving a demo during the workshop, please fill in the attached form and send it to idill@uclouvain.be by August 3, 2007. You will receive notification of acceptance accompanied by the registration form by August 20, 2007. 

There is no registration fee for Kaleidoscope members. The registration fee for outside members (academics and commercial partners) is 150 €. Note that the fee does not cover accommodation and meals. Two types of accommodation are proposed: university guesthouse (30 € - 65 €) and Mercure hotel (75 €). Rooms have been pre-booked at the two locations. 

The Conference will be held at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in the elegant and modern city of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium, 30 km south of Brussels ). Louvain-la-Neuve is an entirely pedestrian university campus which, with its cafés, restaurants, shops, sports centre, cinema, theatre, and brand new shopping mall offers all the advantages of a real town. It is 20 minutes away from Brussels and easy to reach by car (underground and open air car parks), by coach or by train. Brussels National Airport is within very easy reach. 


·            Georges Antoniadis ( University of Grenoble Stendhal, France )
·            Cédrick Fairon ( University of Louvain, Belgium )
·            Sylviane Granger ( University of Louvain, Belgium )
·            Adam Kilgarriff (Lexicography Masterclass Ltd, United Kingdom )
·            Fanny Meunier ( University of Louvain, Belgium )
·            John Nerbonne ( University of Groningen , The Netherlands )
·            Magali Paquot ( University of Louvain, Belgium )
·            Claude Ponton ( University of Grenoble Stendhal, France )
·            Michael Rundell (Lexicography Masterclass Ltd, United Kingdom )
·            Serge Verlinde (University of Leuven, Belgium)

·            Sylviane Granger, Fanny Meunier, Magali Paquot, Marie-Aude Lefer, Aline Woine: Centre for English Corpus Linguistics, University of Louvain ( Belgium ).
·            Cédrick Fairon, Bernadette Dehottay & Thomas François: Centre de traitement automatique du langage, University of Louvain (Belgium).


    IDILL workshop
    Centre for English Corpus Linguistics
    Collège Erasme
    Place Blaise Pascal 1
    B - 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
    Fax: (+32) 10 47 40 34