Learning2gether with JALTCALL 2021 3-day annual online conference

Learning2gether Episode 520


Day 1: Friday June 4
Skip down to Day 2: Saturday, June 5
Skip down to Day 3: Sunday, June 6
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Skip down to Earlier Events that happened since the previous Learning2gether post

As announced by the organizers:
JALTCALL 2021 is happening online once again from June 4 – June 6. We’ve learned a lot in the last year and this will be a chance to share ideas and see great presentations outlining so many of the innovative ideas that the last year has necessitated in the online sphere.

Schedule (register first) https://jaltcall2021.edzil.la/schedule/index 
Join JALTCALL 2021 Online Event

This post is one participant’s perspective on JALTCALL 2021, the latest of its friendly, free-wheeling online conferences held on Fri 4 June  – Sun June 6, 2021.  I attended JALTCALL 2020 last year, blogged it here, and found the conference to be an excellent example of how many social media tools can be “loosely joined” (Weinberger, 2002) to present a smooth and easily intuited interface for participants. I was keen to repeat the experience this year. The organizers were kind enough to waive registration fees for me in a spirit of mutual appreciation through professional courtesy and I decided to pay forward by archiving my experiences in the sessions I attended.

This is my personal account of my enjoyment of JALTCALL 2021. Over the three days I encountered many friends whom I had met often online as well as at international conferences of educators throughout the globe over the years. It was great to renew acquaintances and keep abreast of how so many good professional friends were themselves refining their skills in addressing challenges of remote teaching in these times of pandemic.

In this post I’ve bookmarked the three days of the schedule and included program details of the presentations I attended from the https://jaltcall2021.edzil.la/schedule/. I did not include any presentations I did not myself attend.

Friday, June 4

Immersive learning with Engage, a cross-platform VR app

Fri, Jun 4, 18:00-19:15 in Tokyo

Mehrasa Alizadeh

Immersive learning has been a buzz word in the field of education for the past several years as an increasing number of affordable consumer devices and free/proprietary apps become available. Among various types of immersive learning solutions, virtual reality (VR) has gained much attention among educational technology researchers and developers worldwide. In this workshop, the presenter will show how to use Engage (https://engagevr.io/), a proprietary virtual reality app accessible on VR and non-VR devices, to create immersive learning materials for on-demand purposes and to conduct synchronous online classes. Given that VR headsets are not yet available to the majority of learners, this platform specifically designed for education can be a promising tool as it is compatible with PCs, iOS and Android mobile devices as well as major VR headsets. Although the freemium version has many features, a paid account is more beneficial for professional content creation and real-time use. The participants of this workshop are requested to download the app on their device in advance.

The first speaker I attended gave a basic overview of virtual worlds and then demonstrated her VR app, 

She made use of the Engage advanced communications app here: https://engagevr.io/

Here she is showing us what it looks like to configure her world.

Here she showed us a classroom in her simulation. It struck me as odd to apply such a powerful tool to a traditional setting where students were being introduced to basic elements of a lesson, until she suddenly …

Until she suddenly … made the walls dissolve and took the students out into the virtual open air, where they were able to apply the concepts in more imaginative and language rich setting than had been apparent in the virtual classroom.

Designing materials to boost language learners’ reading skills with Clilstore

Fri, Jun 4, 18:00-19:15 in Tokyo

Ana Gimeno / Caoimhín Ó Dónaill

This workshop will present the work of the EU-funded CLIL Open Online Learning Project (www.languages.dk). Since 2018, the project team have been updating and expanding the functionality of clilstore.eu – an Open Educational Resource which serves as a repository of open access materials and an authoring tool that enables educators to create multimedia learning units combining audio, video, text, images and Web 3.0 applications. Learner autonomy is underpinned by the way the authoring software treats embedded texts, that is, verbatim typescripts of audio or audiovisual recordings are automatically linked word for word to a nexus of online dictionaries that helps boost their reading skills.

This workshop will introduce participants to the ways in which Clilstore can support Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and language learning generally. A selection of sample learning units showing how Clilstore.eu is currently being used to good effect will be presented. Participants will then be given a hands-on demonstration of how to author a new teaching unit containing: video/ audio content, transcript with all words linked to online dictionaries in over 100 languages, and embedded learning tasks. Participants will also learn how to use Clilstore’s inbuilt portfolio and personal vocabulary tools. The Clilstore user interface is currently available in the following languages: Danish, English, Spanish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Italian.

Here, Ana is walking us through the Clilstore back end

And here we have a view of the user interface

Language Learning in this New Hybrid Era: Things that Change and Things that Don’t Change

Fri, Jun 4, 19:30-20:45 Asia/Tokyo | Main Room

Yoshiko Goda

Like any other learning subjects, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound, significant effect on language learning. Remote teaching is now common, and both teachers and students are getting used to learning via technology. This presentation has two parts. The first summarizes language learning before the pandemic and since it began and proposes things that do and do not change. Those that do not change include (1) the significance of design, (2) increased student input and output, (3) practice of the four skills, and (4) in-class and outside-of-class learning activities. The things that do change include (1) lesson series designed to include synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, (2) new input and output methods, (3) four skills training that uses control of information and media, (4) more learner-centered learning, and (5) a balance of data-driven and knowledge (theory)-driven approaches. One of the biggest differences between the traditional and the new hybrid era is that data collection has become easier and the types of data available are more varied. These learning data can enable our teaching to include more evidence-based interventions and just-in-time facilitations. The presentation’s second part focuses on the larger vision of technology-enhanced language learning. Technological advancements enable us to be more creative and innovative as instructional designers and teachers. The presentation discusses the further development of recent technologies and proposes their potential applications in the near future. Let’s imagine and discuss the possible directions of future language learning and some strategies for overcoming concerns.

The presenter started us off in Miro, whose link she had provided in the conference Discord.

Miro has a way of attracting participation

Participants start moving around Miro immediately, registering comments

She pointed out how input and output methods were changing dramatically

She said this was everyone’s favorite image, an infographic on social presences:

Research findings showing peak use time right before deadlines and at other junctures indicated

The Miro board was still active next day

Saturday, June 5

Increasing interactivity with Nearpod: Strategies for effective online teaching

Sat, Jun 5, 10:00-11:15 Asia/Tokyo

Teaching online makes it challenging to encourage student engagement and interaction. In this workshop, I will share how I utilized Nearpod, an online teaching platform, to enhance my online English teaching practices. Research has shown that using Nearpod in English classes aids in promoting active learning by facilitating collaborative participation between students, teachers, and lesson content (Amasha et al., 2018, Hakami, 2020). My workshop will showcase how Nearpod can be used for effective discussions, reading activities, vocabulary activities, student-paced assignments, informing future instruction through its post-class reports feature, and more. Teachers will receive opportunities to test the functions as well. Finally, I will share the results of a quantitative opinion survey of 197 students’ self-reported perceptions of Nearpod, which indicated they felt an overall positive effect on their motivation and interaction in classes. Regardless of teaching online, hybrid, or face-to-face, the Nearpod lesson platform contains plenty of tools to increase interactivity and engagement in language learning. It is my hope that educators will leave this workshop feeling more confident in their ability to use this technology to facilitate interactive classes.

Here is a sampling of features shown

The effects of gamified instruction on Japanese English language learner vocabulary recall

Sat, Jun 5, 10:45-11:15 Asia/Tokyo Room E

In this study, the effects of web-based, gamified vocabulary instruction (through Quizlet’s Match activity and online leaderboards) on assessment scores and student motivation are examined. The primary features of gamification present in this study include ‘conditions for victory’ and leaderboards. Japanese English language learners from two online Listening and Speaking courses at Kyushu Sangyo University took part in this experimental study. The control and experimental groups initially received identical vocabulary instruction, and in week 8, both classes took a vocabulary recall assessment (75 words). Afterwards, gamified vocabulary instruction (via the Quizlet application’s Match game) was introduced only to Class B (the experimental group). At the end of the semester, a second vocabulary recall assessment was administered to both classes (75 new words). Previous studies have claimed that gamified instruction increases a learner’s motivation to (a) study a second language and (b) study second language vocabulary. Results of the final assessment indicate that gamified vocabulary instruction through Quizlet’s competitive Match game and the use of a public leaderboard have a positive effect on vocabulary assessment scores. However, quantitative student feedback from this study suggests this manner of gamified instruction may not affect Japanese English Language Learner’s (ELL) motivation to study English or English vocabulary.

Teaching and entertaining with online educational comics

Sat, Jun 5, 11:30-12:15 Asia/Tokyo

This session was one of several poster sessions scheduled in the same Zoom room, each with it’s own breakout room. This in theory would have emulated the ability of participants to move from room to room to listen in on what each presenter was saying, as if they were wandering from poster to poster. In the one I attended, the presenter essentially made a presentation, complete with slide show, and I didn’t notice that other participants wandered in or out to any significant degree. The presenter held my interest so I stayed the whole time whole time with the one presenter.

In 2020, in order to give university students encouragement during a difficult time while also providing free educational content, a teacher at a university created a series of daily comics that introduced study tips, vocabulary, educational ideas, or just entertainment value. The goal of the series of strips evolved over time, as did the format, as various kinds of comics were explored, such as “yonkoma” comics, single-panel comics, and later a series with a recurring main character. The strips were not used for a specific class, but were available for students to access free on the school’s social media, often in both English and often in Japanese. This presentation will explore the design decisions used for the art, the jokes, the educational content, and how those concepts evolved over the course of the year, as well as how text, questions, and tags were used to support the goals of the project. The comics remain free to use online, and the presentation will also explore further directions for the creation of online comics for education.

In his presentation, the presenter traced how he developed his of his skill with cartoons particularly in the teaching of English idioms, and how he had modified his techniques through experience. He ended with reflections on his technique; e.g. strengths and weaknesses of his approach, but also wondering how he could generate stronger evidence of student enthusiasm for his work.

Optimizing the future of language teaching with technology in Japan

Sat, Jun 5, 13:15-14:30 Asia/Tokyo Main Room

Pandemic-era teaching takes many forms: online, face-to-face, hybrid, and hyflex, among others. Teachers must be prepared to transition rapidly among these modes, depending on local conditions and the whims of administrators. Where will language teaching with technology go from here? In this talk, I make four predictions for Japan and provide my recommendations for optimizing this future. First, I predict that online instruction will quickly fall back to prepandemic levels—that is, unless we make efforts to prevent this. CALL experts are well suited to argue for the effectiveness of online learning, where appropriate. One area where we may be able to make progress is in virtual international experiences, such as online study abroad. Second, most institutions will adopt bring-your-own-device policies. This will bring significant advantages for the use of technology in language classes but also present challenges when students’ devices are not uniform. Teachers will need more tech literacy to meet these challenges. Third, our institutions will recognize a growing variety of learning differences among our students and rely on us to accommodate them. To support all learners, universal design will become standard. Fourth, although most instruction will return to the physical classroom, we will need to be constantly prepared to shift instruction online again. This will apply not only during the current pandemic, but is also necessary preparation for future public health or natural disasters that prevent face-to-face instruction. Emergency remote teaching will no longer be adequate; instead, we will need to provide high quality online learning experiences. To prepare to meet these challenges and optimize the outcomes, we need quality professional development (PD). Although current offerings from our institutions are inadequate, CALL experts can help to fill some of the unmet needs. In conclusion, I encourage CALL experts to push for the future of technology in education that they would like to see. We have the power to make change in the use of technology through our research, our exemplary teaching, and the PD we provide to our fellow teachers.

One of Betsy’s slides made that point that we have been reinventing the wheels of online learning repeatedly since 1994 (but if I may be allowed an aside, TICCIT and PLATO were operational in the 1970s)
Stevens, V. 1983. Software review of English lessons on PLATO. TESOL Quarterly 17,(2), 293-300.
Based on these responses, the PD sessions studied don’t appear to be very effective.
Taking questions and appreciative feedback from the audience

Zoom activities that close the distance on distance learning

Sat, Jun 5, 14:45-16:00 Asia/Tokyo

Rob Olson

The Covid-19 pandemic has popped the online teaching genie out of the bottle into the spotlight.  One of the great challenges language teachers now face is finding ways to help learners engage each other through the computer screens in different areas as opposed to the traditional face-to-face method in a unified classroom. One method that has proven successful is the adapting of popular games and activities from exclusively face-to-face versions to computer-based models. This presentation will introduce a variety of games and activities that can be used with Zoom or other online learning platforms in either paper or digital form. Furthermore, this presentation will demonstrate how you do not need exotic software nor a high level of computer expertise to use these games and activities. This presentation will be highly interactive and participants are asked to bring writing materials that will allow them to make written notes that can be seen by the other members when held up to the camera. Activities will include online versions of the American TV game shows “Match Game” and “The 20,000 Pyramid” as well the murder-mystery game “Clue.”  Materials for these activities will be available in the form of PDF files for anyone interested using them in their classrooms.

The point of this presentation, by example, was that learning language is less a focus on form than on providing stimuli for communicative opportunities, and that utilizing this observation might promote engagement through what is possible with Zoom. At the end of this session I noted that the presenter had modeled not only how to use these stimuli to engage students in remote learning spaces, but also to reshape how this might work in webinars in teacher professional development, which Betsy had mentioned in her keynote in the previous session.

Minecraft as an immersive language teaching world: English teachers’ TPACK

Sat, Jun 5, 16:15-16:45 Asia/Tokyo

Since schooling has been affected by the pandemic, educators are beginning to be more open to distance learning and might become more open to immersive virtual worlds, such as Minecraft (Cleave & Geijsman, 2020; Egbert, 2020). However, in order to integrate new technology into their practice, teachers need to be provided with training that promotes the development of their Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). This study identifies the level of TPACK teachers need to integrate Minecraft English teaching by investigating twenty-nine elementary school English teachers who created Minecraft English lessons after receiving Minecraft professional development for 16 hours in two months. A Minecraft TPACK instrument for English teachers was developed based on Schmidt et al. (2009) and Bagheri (2020) and administered before and after the training. Five Minecraft English lessons were created as a result of the training. The results showed an overall improvement in Minecraft TPACK scores. The English teacher’s Minecraft content knowledge gained from M=1.98 to M=3.79, Minecraft Technological Pedagogical Knowledge gained from M= 1.86 to M=3.6, and the TPACK mean score gained from M=2.5 to M=3.93, indicating that they are more knowledgeable of how to teach English through Minecraft. In the presentation, the results of the study will be discussed with a focus on an analysis of the content, technology, and pedagogy incorporated in the Minecraft in-world lessons and supplementary materials using Kahoot, Bamboozle, and Nearpod that the English teachers have created. Also, the merits, affordances, and challenges for teachers to integrate Minecraft as a language teaching environment will be discussed.

“Your students are more motivated than yourself” – Jane

Seguing into the following session:

When Harry met Ginny or how to fall in love with fanfiction

Sat, Jun 5, 17:00-17:30 Asia/Tokyo

Heike Philp / Helena Galani

‘I only know one thing about the technologies that await us in the future: we will find ways to tell stories with them.’ (Jason Ohler). The technology in question for this presentation is a virtual world called OpenSim, which is similar to Second Life but more suitable for education. We present the main challenges addressed and the outcomes produced towards inspiring the participants to transcend previous achievements throughout our workshop “Immersive Storytelling In Virtual Worlds”. For five weeks earlier this year, with moderators and 110 participant English teachers, our EVO session focused on the skills, methods and techniques required for promoting the use of VWs for Immersive Storytelling in the new classroom. The affordances of a 3D user-created virtual environment such as OpenSim can prove indispensable to the language teacher, educator, tutor, course designer or trainer moving their classes online or resorting to hybrid and blended practices, at any stage of the Educational system. The process of recreating popular narratives in Virtual Worlds can effectively accelerate immersive language acquisition by motivating learners to take charge of their own education with an avatar, in a creative, imaginative and memorable way. In addition to the workshop outcomes, Heike Philp presents the rich resources created by 10 universities during three EU funded projects over a period of 6 years exploring the potential of language learning in virtual worlds like Second Life, OpenSim and Minecraft.

Here, Heike zooms out to an overview of her virtual island. She pointed out that many of the builds here were freely available to be copied from OpenSim resources to be transplanted here.
Here we approach, and then enter, the gate to the castle.
This is just inside the gate.


Sat, Jun 5, 17:45-18:15 Asia/Tokyo

Roundtable discussion with invited speakers

When the discussion turned to appropriate innovative venues for future virtual conferences and classrooms, Yoshiko Goda shared a walk into such a space using Virbela, https://www.virbela.com/. I didn’t want to interject anything that might have been construed as self-promotional at this juncture, but knowing I could always blog it later, I can here point readers to my most recent published thoughts on virtual venues for virtual conferences.

Stevens, V. (2021). Virtual worlds at virtual conferences. Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ), 25(1), 1-32. https://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej97/int.pdf.
Unpaginated HTML version: http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume24/ej97/ej97int/

I also mentioned to James York in chat before his presentation the following day that I was contemplating trying to organize a one-day conference in Minecraft at some point during EVO Minecraft MOOC 2022. The above article ends on that suggestion.

Sunday, June 6

Informal foreign language learning through subscription video streaming

Sun, Jun 6, 10:00-10:30 Asia/Tokyo

Gilbert Dizon

The use of video streaming has exploded over the past several years, in part, due to the ubiquity of smartphones and advancements to mobile network technology. However, while the topic of video for second (L2) learning has been studied extensively in CALL research, the use of video streaming for out-of-class, informal foreign language (FL) learning has received little attention. This presentation details a study that addressed this gap in the literature. Specifically, the study examined Japanese English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ practices and views concerning the use of subscription video streaming services for informal language learning. To this end, a survey was administered to Japanese students at four universities, with a total of 256 participants fully completing the survey. Moreover, 12 of these participants were interviewed to gain deeper insight into their views of subscription video streaming for informal foreign language learning. Results showed that informal language learning through subscription video streaming is a common social practice among the participants and that they had positive perceptions towards using these services for L2 learning. Additional findings and implications from the study will also be discussed in the presentation.

A tale of ‘too’ many LMS’s

Sun, Jun 6, 10:45-11:15 Asia/Tokyo

The past year has shown us both challenges and opportunities in education in particular socialization, collaboration and interaction for research, discussion, support, and exchange of ideas. Social distance and the inability to connect physically has created barriers to the type of communication required for learning, teaching, and researching. To help bridge this divide, institutions hastily struggled to implement a range of Learning Managements Systems LMS’s to address both teachers and students needs. The result was a collage of contradictory, conflicting and complementary platforms that greatly assisted and facilitated some endeavors but hopelessly added to the burden and confusion of others. Far from there being any logical consensus, teachers had to experiment and trial systems in this ‘wild west’ of online classrooms, finding out what worked and what didn’t, and in many cases relearning how to teach. Students were equally plagued by this inconsistency and in some cases had a different platform for each class. What did we learn from this? Will the experience of LMS based teaching have a lasting impact on education? The following will describe an “Integrated English” Program for freshmen and sophomore English majors and how it was coordinated, managed and adapted to online learning.

Presenters will discuss the results of two surveys conducted to evaluate the online learning and teaching experience. The research surveyed 280 college students and 39 instructors regarding their worries, fears, challenges and triumphs using various LMS’s ranging from Webex and Zoom to Course Power and Google Classroom.

Renewing acquaintances, awaiting the crowds to appear

In primary education, English grammar learning focuses on single-sentence formation. However, reports show that nearly half of upper-grade students in primary schools demonstrate grammatical errors in their single-sentence production. This points to the need to improve instruction on single-sentence formation at elementary schools. Since conventional English instruction relies on textbook teaching, which leads to insufficient contextual language use of target language items, this Show-and-Tell session will provide an overview of how a theme-based situated learning environment consisting of a robot and toys (R&T) supported by Internet of Things (IoT) technology was created to help elementary students use English sentence patterns. The authors will show how content-language integrated learning (CLIL) is incorporated into a R&T farm English learning game, along with embodied cognition based on sensory-based guided play and scaffolding of robotic prompts to make English syntax learning closer to real life. Specifically, the audience will be shown two design-based research (DBR) cycles of the Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate (ADDIE) model. The first DBR cycle focuses on (a) the needs analysis stage concerning the English learning needs of middle- and upper-graders in Taiwan, (b) the implementation of the R&T game on farm English with 15 fifth graders; and (c) the evaluation stage with learning outcomes based on pre- and post-test measures and interviews. The second DBR cycle, which involves the R&T game enhancement and pilot testing with six upper-grade students, will also be presented. Suggestions and principles for the R&T English learning mode will serve as content to take away from this presentation.

Going paperless with Showbie

Sun, Jun 6, 13:00-13:30 Asia/Tokyo

In this presentation, the presenter will demonstrate how teachers can transform their classroom into an engaging and collaborative hybrid-learning environment with the help of Showbie, a classroom management tool. Showbie is a cross-platform application used by teachers to assign, collect, and review student work. However, it houses a myriad of features that go far beyond simply assigning and turning in work digitally. Showbie gives users the ability to store and share documents that can be annotated utilizing a digital pen, text boxes, and embedded voice notes. Using the Pro version of Showbie, teachers can host online discussions, create private group chats, and have students collaborate on projects both synchronously and asynchronously. Furthermore, Showbie is incredibly user-friendly making it easy for even the least tech-savvy teacher to create an account, invite students, and share a digital assignment with their entire class in just a few minutes. The presenter will give concrete examples of how Showbie can help educators to achieve a truly paperless curriculum that will both enhance and transform language learning.

Has a video to show how to set up the Showbie app in Japanese in just a few minutes, shows features in video, hard to screenshot 🙂  Very informative and excellent well choreographed video tutorial.
Here is a folder setup with assignments not yet added to folders
He can watch students work in real time
Students can share presentations and add voice notes to each slide
Another way to share slides with video voice over and access to annotation and highlight tools
And finally

Students, as well as the population as a whole, often suffer from debilitating levels of presentation anxiety. Public speaking phobia can have a negative impact on students’ ability to function in the classroom, as well as their ability to effectively acquire a second language. This talk will discuss an ongoing investigation into the best methods for reducing this anxiety in students, including virtual-reality and imagination-based home practice, as well as course work and exposure to in-person speech acts. This program used a combination of exposure training, mindfulness training, and interventions based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to target presentation anxiety in the Japanese university student population. Preliminary results show significant levels of anxiety reduction within the participants, consistent with earlier findings within this ongoing program. How this experiment shifted to an online format in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed, as will differences between participants who used more technological methods (VR) versus those who used more traditional methods for presentation practice. Participants’ comments from program interviews and surveys will also be presented to explore the nature of presentation anxiety and to help find best practices for classroom presentation activities and assessments by instructors.

Part of his PhD research: Recruited first 30 out of 50 applicants who self selected to participate. Taught 4 skills: presentation skills, emotional regulation skills, mindfulness skills, exposure training (illustrated in the icons below)
The presenter focused on VR for in-virtuo exposure training
Simulated speaking before audiences
Seem to find no differences in anxiety reduction with vr but wow factor strong

There are few studies that explore interactive fiction’s (IF) cognitive and effective benefits for language learning. Inspired by Neville (2009), we compared the effectiveness of IF in comparison to non-interactive, linear fiction in terms of vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension and motivation in a university EFL context. Participants (n = 93) were divided into two groups. The control group read a linear story, the experimental group played through an interactive version of the same story. A pre and post-experiment vocabulary test was employed to measure the acquisition of 16 target vocabulary words. A quiz based on the actions of characters within the story was also employed to measure reading comprehension. Finally, a post-test questionnaire measured student perceptions of learning with linear and IF. This presentation introduces the results of the study which are as follows. Findings revealed no significant difference in scores between the control (linear) and experimental (IF) groups for vocabulary acquisition or reading comprehension. However, an additional analysis of the data was conducted based on learners disposition towards gaming (gamer vs non-gamer) which revealed that, in comparison to gamers, non-gamers found the interactive version of the story more enjoyable and easier to read. This suggests that students’ level of game literacy had an effect on their perceptions. We will introduce the IF tool (Twine) and offer a number of options for future research such as exploring the creation of more robust IF including more micro-level choices, choice impact on story progression, and the explicit use of target vocabulary.

Use Twine to create interactive stories, James shows coding, and then the result

This study addresses implications for professional development in the current pandemic by exploring novel practices in pre-service teacher education contexts and by emphasising future teachers’ skills and digital readiness. The study takes as an example the involvement by 22 university students (pre-service teachers of languages) at a European university in a hackathon, as part of their university curriculum. Hackathons are time-constrained events that bring together volunteers to address a problem or challenge, often with a social purpose (Gutiérrez, 2018). Adopting an action research approach (Colpaert, 2020; Luo & Gui, 2019), this study focuses on examining the student perceptions as well as the challenges in the design of a hackathon as a pre-service teacher training facility that took place in November 2020. Two mentors (university lecturers) provided conceptual and technical support throughout the process. The hackathon targeted the creation of plurilingual and pluricultural resources for L2 with an emphasis on digital activism and social participation. Groups in teams of 4 and 5 persons were engaged in this process using a variety of technologies (Slack, Google Drive, Zoom) to achieve their goals and all results were made openly available on the DigiEduHack website (cf. Solutions). The opportunities and drawbacks of pre-service teacher education (Hauck, 2015; Borg et al, 2014) through novel remote collaboration and co-creation possibilities will be discussed, as well as implications resulting from the integration of open innovation initiatives (as hackathons are) in standard university curricula and degrees.

In recent years the increase in the availability of computerized speech recognition and speech synthesis has lead to exciting possibilities in the field of foreign language learning. Computerized speech essentially represents a final stage in the development of a human-computer interface, and in this context, it offers substantial advantages over traditional touch-based interfaces which can eschew language altogether. One activity where this is particularly pertinent is in spaced-learning activities where traditionally students do not need to vocalize their responses, and indeed the responses are often not available to instructors at all. Speech Recognition has further benefits in that every utterance is immediately displayed for students, giving them a more accurate indication of their success with the tested language constructs. The advantage to instructors is in the ability for utterances to be stored as text in a database allowing computer analysis of speech patterns to discern common errors. As the 3rd year of a four-year cross-institutional research grant from the Japanese Government (Kakenhi), this paper will present a speech recognition and speech synthesis system developed by the author within the context of a spaced learning program. We will further show (a) a pattern analysis of the accuracy of the system and patterns of learner usage, (b) an analysis of the effectiveness of spaced-learning using online speaking on student outcomes over 3 institutions, (c) student feedback and reactions on speaking to a machine, (d) how the system deals with pronunciation.

Promotion and Feedback

Here’s an attractive document you can print out and display on your office bookshelf:


I found it easier to navigate into the conference the second time around. They had added Discord channels though that can be a welter because Discord spaces tend to be organized on how someone envisages how everyone else’s minds might work, but with familiarity the patterns promoted by the organizers become clearer. I posted to #introductions.

There were live and static schedules where you can filter events by day, There was even an view of what was taking place at a given moment. With the feature, presentations and correct Zoom rooms were just a click away, and everything worked smoothly after that. 

The organizers announced that they were using the same platform in 2021 “which has a beautiful new look as before so you don’t need to create a new user. Just join the event space and get a ticket. We also have free hardship tickets for those from developing countries. Please contact us at the above website if you, or you know of anyone who would benefit from attending.”

The registration page https://jaltcall2021.edzil.la/ gives the price of tickets (approximately $25 and $35 respectively)

There was a catch. Until you are able to register, the Student ticket option takes you in an endless loop to the same page. The only other option is to ‘contact us’.

That option informs you that you must be a logged on the JALTCALL site in order to use the contact form.

When you try to Join the space, if you have an academic address your good to go (I guess).

I am retired, acting as founder and coordinator of Learning2gether.net, so I have no academic address.

I next saw this screen

So I finally submitted a note and asked if there were any MOOC price tickets in exchange for my track record in promoting freely sharing of knowledge with colleagues on a quid pro quo basis.

I received this response …

This is the point at which I decided to extend my benefit in being accepted on these terms into the conference milieu by blogging it as Learning2gether episode 520.


All the sessions are being recorded to the cloud. The recordings are being made available for download to the presenters. Presenters have a choice on whether or not to share a recorded version after the conference, but they will have to download the files and upload them to YouTube themselves (too overwhelming a job for the conference organizers). Once the videos are online they will be added to the JALTCALL YouTube channel here: https://youtube.com/c/JALTCALL or they can be uploaded on their private channels.

Earlier Events

Thu May 27 1000 UTC Vance Stevens speaks on Blended learning and communities of practice for the ELC PD Committee at U of Tech and Applied Sciences Ibri Oman

Learning2gether episode #519; renamed

Tag games: Vance Stevens revisits practicing blended learning in communities of practice for the ELC PD Committee at UTAS, Ibri, Oman


Sun 30 May 1700 UTC TESOL Gulf hosts Amany Alkhayat – AltspaceVR tutorial

Recording: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2944769308907551/permalink/4319031751481293/

Tue 01 June 2300 UTC IDEA informal networking session

Sharon Tjaden-Glass deserves kudos for setting up these sessions. Not only does she share the live event announcement but she provides a link to a YouTube playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLqYX_uge5bz_lE2Csu1G2yoABHo1M4Jy where the recordings of these sessions will end up, and you can see videos from the sessions that have gone before. That’s a great IDEA. It’s what I do with all my presentations, and it’s a model I wish that others would follow as a matter of course.

Are you an educator who is experiencing teacher burnout? Are you seriously considering another career path that builds on your current skills as a TESOL professional? Ever heard of “instructional design?”

Please join us for one or all of our informal networking sessions between instructional designers and educators, known as IDEA Networking (Instructional Designers and Educators Alliance.) Since August 2020, we have welcomed 30+ current instructional designers–who were once educators–to share their stories of how the moved from the field of education into the field of instructional design. Each session begins with 20 minutes of guest speakers, 25 minutes of breakout room with guest speakers, and 15 minutes of whole group Q & A.

Instructional Designers and Educators Alliance

We will have three sessions over the summer on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 1st, 7-8 p.m. EST: Registration Link

Tuesday, July 6th, 7-8 p.m. EST: Registration Link

Tuesday, August 3rd, 7-8 p.m. EST: Registration Link

Agendas with the names of guest speakers for each session will be emailed to registrants several days prior to the event. All sessions are free and recordings will be shared with registrants who are unable to attend live.

You can also watch recording of previous sessions at this link.

If you’d like to join the IDEA Networking mailing list to receive updates on upcoming networking sessions, please sign up at this link.

Thu 03 June 0600 UTC UTAS hosts panel on Special Needs of Students in COVID-19

Faisal Al Shamali is with Mike Kenteris and 2 others.


ELT Colloquium: Special Needs of Students during COVID 19

organized by English Language Center, University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Ibri-Oman

Date: Thursday, June 3, 2021.

Time: 10.00 AM GST, (GMT+4)

Check your time zone here: https://tinyurl.com/6jc58ntw

It is a free event.

Kindly click here to register: https://forms.office.com/r/7Dik2rXxMG

Email sent to participants

The English Language Centre at University of Technology and Applied Sciences-Ibri, Oman cordially invites you to join an “ELT Colloquium: Special Needs of Students during COVID 19” on Thursday 3 June 2021 at 10:00 am Oman Local Time (GMT+4)

Guest speakers:
1-      Sharyn Collins- UK
“The Etiquette of Online Learning”
2-      James Papple– Canada
“Providing Differentiated Support for EAP Students.”
3-       Dr Mike Kenteris- Greece

“Transform your Classes Using the Flipped Learning Approach.”
Cick here to join the event: https://tinyurl.com/2mxtc6z8
To check the time difference, kindly click here: https://tinyurl.com/6jc58ntw

Participants will receive a Certificate of Appreciation within 6 business days.

The “attendance and feedback” link will be shared in the chat box.


Sharyn Collins starts us off, followed by James Papple

Mike Kenteris delivers a wide-ranging presentation on Differentiated Support for EAP Students based on his experience as owner of and teacher in his own language school on Lesbos, Greece.

Q & A

And on Facebook


Faisal Al-Shamali has followed up with this additional information:
To watch the recording, kindly click here: https://youtu.be/anGC1rLTZlU

Faisal added in his email that James Papple is willing to share the PPTs of his presentation, though you would need to contact the presenters if you wish to have it.

This blog is written and maintained by Vance Stevens
You are free to share-alike and with attribution under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

The date of this update is June 13, 2021 22:00 UTC

One thought on “Learning2gether with JALTCALL 2021 3-day annual online conference

  1. Pingback: Learning2gether about the nether on a VSTE Minecraft Mondays nether world community gaming adventure | Learning2gether

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