JALT CALL 2010: CALL—What’s your motivation?

David Ockert


Spring has arrived and with several exciting conferences upcoming, the time has arrived to plan on attending the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Special Interest Group (SIG) conference in beautiful Kyoto. The CALL SIG Conference Committee invites everyone to enjoy this year’s conference, being held 29-30 May at Kyoto Sangyo University. The highlight of the year for the JALT CALL SIG, our annual conference allows members and others interested in CALL to get together, share information, and attend the Networking Reception on Saturday evening to meet up with old friends, make new ones, and talk about the latest trends involving technology in education.

This year our Keynote Speaker will be Joy Egbert, Department of Teaching and Learning, Washington State University, USA. In addition, we have invited as ourPlenary Speaker Lawrence (Larry) Davies, an educational technologist from Miami with experience in teaching English in Japan. In order to discuss matters related to CALL, the conference organizers provide several different presentation types (workshops, show and tell, and paper presentations) on a wide variety of topics including tailoring CALL content to meet learner needs; maintaining learner motivation in using CALL; making the most of learners’ existing skills and applying them to CALL; discussion of the role of the learner in his or her own CALL environment; and learner-centered models of language and cultural acquisition through CALL.

In addition, a round-table discussion titled Whither the listening class? Issues in granting students access to digital audio files has been proposed. (Please check the CALL SIG website for more details). In summary, transformations in audio software and hardware over the last 10 years have had an impact on how publishing companies supply materials to the market and on how language teachers regard listening skill development courses. In recent years, publishing companies have started to allow teachers (through signed contracts or memoranda of understanding) to rip audio tracks from classroom CDs and convert them into sound data files (MP3s) for the purpose of passing on to those students who have bought the required text. Various practices ensue, e.g. teachers may choose to make all files available on an internal website or feed selected files to the students in a “just-in-time” fashion. With greater freedom, however, comes a range of pedagogical choices and assorted issues that may influence learning outcomes, and by no means all in a positive way. Teachers are employed as pedagogical experts and thus need to focus in detail on how best to grant their students access to commercial MP3s. The purpose of this forum is to identify best practices by enabling practitioners and publishers to raise awareness of and discuss issues—pedagogical, organizational, legal, and so on—that relate to this change.

Furthermore, there will be commercial sponsors and exhibitors attending with the latest technologies in print, digital, and other materials related to teaching English in Japan. This year we are expecting another record crowd—something that our sponsors would also definitely like to see again. To mention but a few, last year’s commercial sponsors included: Pearson Longman, Scholastic, The English Company, Macmillan, Lexxica, FLP SIG, Abax, Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Momentum Education, Linguamation Studio, CIEE Japan, RIC Publications, Really English, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Seibido, and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Once again, JALT CALL 2010 warmly invites you to attend its conference to be held at Kyoto Sangyo University, in Kyoto, from 29-30 May 2010. For further information about the conference including presentation times, transportation to the venue or more information about the SIG and its activities, please visit<jaltcall.org/>. We extend a warm welcome to you to come and join us!

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