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Guest Lecture: Computer-Assisted Language Learning

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  1. Guest Lecture: Computer-Assisted Language Learning Matthew Kam Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, and Berkeley Institute of Design University of California at Berkeley, USA

  2. Relevance of ESL to Third World • English is a global language: 1.2 to 1.5 billion people in >170 countries (Crystal 1997) • ESL is sought after by fair proportion of low-income populations in Third World regions (e.g. Clegg, Ogange & Rodseth 2003, Faust & Nagar 2001, Kapadia 2005) • Education: medium of instruction in further education • Economic opportunities: rural BPO, government, MNCs • Computer literacy: ~80% of Internet content • Social status: membership in upper classes

  3. Case for Out-of-School Learning • Schools in developing countries have limited impact • Shortage of qualified ESL teachers, communicated with us through interpreters • In India, non-attendees comprise 43% to 61% of school-going age children (Azim Premji Foundation 2004, NFHS II and Tilak 2000). • 15% to 43% cite lack of interest in studies • 13% to 31% cite need to work in fields or home

  4. Case for IT and Educational Games • Student motivation and learning (Jenkins 2005) • Videogames can incorporate good learning principles (Gee 2003) • Longitudinal randomized experiment: 2 years, >10,000 urban slums students in India (Banerjee et al. 2005) • Collaboration b/w MIT and the NGO Pratham • Played math computer games twice per week • Significant gains in math test scores

  5. Krashen’s Influential Theory of L2 Acquisition • Acquisition-learning hypothesis • Natural order hypothesis • Monitor hypothesis • Comprehensible input hypothesis • Affective filter hypothesis

  6. Panchatantra • Indian equivalent of Aesop’s Fables • Can be digitized into video clips • Demo (vocabulary teaching phase) • Demo (digital story phase) • Q: is this acquisition or learning?

  7. Ladybird’s Key Word Reading Scheme • Peter and Jane series of books • Words are introduced and then repeated • 12 words make up ¼ of all English words that we read and write • 100 words make up ½ of all English words that we use in a normal day • 300 words make up ¾ of our verbal output

  8. Krashen’s Influential Theory of L2 Acquisition • Acquisition-learning hypothesis • Natural order hypothesis • Monitor hypothesis • Comprehensible input hypothesis • Affective filter hypothesis

  9. Discussion • Q: What are some feasible sources of comprehensible input? • More experienced learners, i.e. Krashen’s idea of the handcrafted book

  10. Special English • Demo • Reactions? • URL: http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/

  11. Special English • Used in Voice of America radio broadcasts • Radio transmissions over low-frequency channels, or downloadable MP3 file accompanied by text transcript • 2/3 the speed of normal speech • Core vocabulary of 1,500 words

  12. Discussion • Q: Limitations with Voice of America broadcasts?

  13. Paraphrasing Through Repetitions • Recall the Panchatantra digital stories? • SMIL - Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language • Benefits of vector-based graphics over static video clip for mobile devices • Storage efficiency • Randomization promotes replay value

  14. Electronic Dictionary • Explanation using pictures, native language and/or target language • Audio pronunciation • Paper printout feature • Affordances of paper

  15. Cameraphone Dictionary • Sp’06 CS160 class project by Anand Raghavan et al. • Words are explained using photos from local contexts that student can relate to • Consistent with personalized dictionary approach by Project Pygmalion and others

  16. Cameraphone Dictionary • Seed with high-frequency words • Voice of America’s Special English • TV and movie scripts • Project Gutenberg • Populate with definitions, etc. from Wiktionary

  17. Vocabulary Teaching and Testing • Talk Now! Spanish from Topics Entertainment • Demo • Reactions?

  18. Teaching for Transfer

  19. Initiation-Reply Sequences • Tell Me More from Auralog • Demo • Any reactions?

  20. Discussion • Q: What are the limitations with this approach of language teaching?

  21. Pimsleur Audio CDs • Demo (00:00 to 07:20) • Any reactions?

  22. Paul Pimsleur • Four principles: • Organic learning • Core vocabulary • Anticipation • Graduated interval recall • Implemented in the old days (1960’s) using cassette tape technology

  23. Pimsleur Generator Text files MP3 file Pimsleur Generator Female: Hello. Male: Hello Ma’am Female: Are you from India. Male: Yes I’m from India. Male: Do you understand Hindi? Female: No, I don’t understand. Oh you understand English. Male: Yes I understand English. Female: You understand very well. Audio files Metadata

  24. Reading Acquisition Oral Language Written Language

  25. Phonics Instruction • Clifford: The Big Red Dog from Scholastic • Demo

  26. Phonics Instruction • Reader Rabbit

  27. More Phonics Instruction • Reader Rabbit

  28. BookBox • Commercial spin-off from Same Language Subtitling • Demo (~ 7 minutes) • Q: What are its strengths and limitations?

  29. Simulated World • Who is Oscar Lake? from Language Publications Interactive • Demo • Others in this category include DARPA’s Tactical Language Training System • Prohibitively expensive to develop

  30. Summary • People learn a language through acquiring comprehensible input • Contextual inferencing • Extralinguistic context • Paraphrasing and repetitions • Challenge: how can we create comprehensible input without incurring prohibitive content development costs?