Technology Helping Language Educators and Learners
Who We Are
What is CALL? The Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) SIG was formed in 1993 when computers were the newest educational technology in Japan. The range of interests among CALL SIG members is broad, encompassing software design, teaching methods, materials development, you name it. Anything that is connected to educational technology is fair game. We believe technology helps to expand language-learning opportunities for our students. We are an eclectic group of computer buffs and (relative) newbies, CALL classroom users and mobile learning fans, paper- and paperless-classroom advocates, but in the end all of us are teachers searching to give our students more opportunities for input and output that are so important for language learning.
In the early 90’s, CALL rooms were starting to replace language laboratories in universities. CALL researchers started designing websites and software for learners to work on at their own pace. As access to the Internet grew, they brought people together from all over the world, adding a new international dimension to language learning.
Computers are still very much a part of our lives, but CALL classrooms have given way to BYOD (bring your own device) as most of the features and functions of computers are now available on portable handheld devices. At the same time, Web 2.0 has led to pedagogy that emphasizes active learning involving interaction and sharing. CALL practitioners are no longer bound by the walls of the CALL classroom. Students can use portable devices in any learning context to search for information and communicate with people in other cities or countries. They can record their ideas as audio or video and share them with the world via blogs and social networks. In other words, using technology in this way can promote student autonomy while at the same time encouraging new learner-centered approaches in the classroom.
What We Do
The main event of the year is definitely our annual conference that embodies our rich diversity. This year the CALL SIG’s annual conference is from May 31 to June 2 in the heart of Tokyo at Aoyama Gakuin University. Our theme is “AI and Machine Learning in Language Education.” You’ve probably heard of apps that translate into multiple languages. How do they do it, and how will artificial intelligence affect our profession? The Keynote and Plenary speakers will try to answer these and other questions. But this conference is not restricted to this one area. There will also be over 100 presentations and workshops on many different aspects of educational technology, so please come and join teachers from all over Japan and around Asia to see the myriad ways in which technology is being put to good use and find the most appropriate apps/software for your needs. We will also be at PanSIG this year in Kobe, so come to the CALL Forum and meet us.
The CALL SIG actively supports events related to technology. We were sponsors of the Independent Learning Association 2018 conference, providing support for overseas speakers, and we supported the first BizCOM conference that took place in September 2018.
In terms of publications, we put out the JALTCALL Journal, a peer-reviewed journal with articles on research not only from Japan but all over the world. It is accessible at https://jcj.jaltcall.org/index.php?journal=JALTCALL. Stop by and take a look at the latest research in the field.
We welcome anyone interested in educational technology. You can find us at PanSIG in May, JALTCALL2019 May 31-Jun 2 (https://conference2019.jaltcall.org) and at JALT2019 which will be in Nagoya this year. You can also find us on Facebook (public group: JALTCALL) or on Twitter (@jaltcall).